Can't get enough of John Hodgman, the Daily Show correspondent and Apple anti-pitchman? As "PC," he's ubiquitous today on NYTimes.com, where Apple has taken over the whole site with this supersweet ad. Sadly, Hodgman will not be coming to San Francisco for a show anytime soon, he told Valleywag. "I hope you enjoy the sound of geek-tech-folk-rock that is COULTON." Whatever you say, PC.
Yeah, yeah. The MacBook Air looks beautiful. And so does this ad. But it's missing something more than an optical drive, if you ask me. Until I get me some John Hodgman, I'm not sold.
Have you missed John Hodgman, The Daily Show's "expert," since the writers' strike started? Well, he's back in action, reprising his role as "PC," joining Robert Scoble's bid to urge Vista users to not give up on Microsoft. The campaign appears to make use of an especially vicious form of keyword targeting: Here, it appears on CNET's Windows Vista page.
At the doorway of Housing Works bookstore last night around 7 p.m., an older gentleman was being gently shooed back onto the street by one of the store's volunteer staffers. "I'm sorry, sir, we're usually open at this time, but this is sort of our biggest event of the year?" she said, gesturing with her head to the growing crowd behind her in the store. The place had been festively strung with white Christmas lights for the occasion. The man huffed off into the cold night. Little did he know, he could have stayed and had some gin and book conversation for only a $10 "suggested donation." People without cash to donate were being directed to the nearest ATM by the volunteer door-bitches. Nobody takes their jobs more seriously than volunteers! Nikola Tamindzic captured the preening literati.
Nerdy humorist John Hodgman, who plays a bumbling PC in Apple commercials, will get a chance to rub shoulders with nerdy billionaire Bill Gates on Monday, January 29. That's when Gates will be appearing on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, where Hodgman is the "Resident Expert." Geeks will be looking forward to seeing whether Gates and Hodgman combine to create some kind of nerdy critical mass. Valley flacks will be marveling at Microsoft's ability to get prime exposure just one hour before Vista goes on sale at midnight.
Every decade brings forth an odd figure upon whom celebrity is conveyed in contravention of prevailing dictates and standards, someone who, when you look back years later, seems to somehow capture the essence of the era in a way that was not apparent at the time. It may be too early yet to determine who will represent the zeitgeist of the oughts (or whatever the hell we're calling this decade; can we please settle that already?), but our money's on Mac pitchman John Hodgman, who has turned a career as dude who had a column on the McSweeney's website into a multimedia extravaganza, and whose baffled nerd persona peers out at you from countless covers on neighborhood newsstands (see above). We've never heard a mean thing said about Mr. Hodgman, so we don't begrudge the success, but, dude, you might want to nip this overexposure in the bud before you become the '00s equivalent of Donovan Freberg. Just trying to help out.
We can't say we ever found those Mac vs. PC ads particularly amusing, but truly, why make the Mac person such a total annoying dweeb? Apparently everyone else felt the same way, since Radar reports (in an exclusive!) that Mac has quietly canned Justin Long, the skinny hoodie-wearing "hipster" who was supposed to represent the Mac, with the much more endearing John Hodgman repping the PC. Long's rep seemed a bit defensive about the firing:
To promote the paperback release of his book The Areas of My Expertise, professional gadabout and omniversal adept John Hodgman mined some very obscure adverto-literary history. Hodgman's new print shill at right is an "homage" to an ancient ad for the long-extinct Intellivision video game console that inexplicably featured an endorsement from Paris Review editor George Plimpton. Larger versions after the jump.
We weren't aware that Justin Long was "famous" enough to inspire a backlash, but apparently the star of the Mac ads (and the forthcoming feature film Young School) has been on the receiving end of a bit of vitriol roundabout these here Internets. We find the young actor delightful and charming, and think it shows incredible commitment to craft that someone who literally looks like a penis has enough self-belief to persevere in an industry where so much is based on appearances, but even we've got to say he's not helping himself with quotes like this: