With 935,912 Twitter followers, will comedian’s apology for Greenfield slight be publicity boon for town?
JOHN HODGMAN presents his new solo show, “I Stole Your Dad.” Friday, 7:30 p.m. Academy of Music, 274 Main St., Northampton. Hodgman presents new observations on subjects including how to dress like a young and relevant person, fax machines and other obsolete technology, marijuana and “Downton Abbey.” Post-show Q&A hosted by WRSI radio personality Monte Belmonte. $20 plus service fees. Tickets available through the Academy’s Box Office, or by calling 584-9032, ext. 105 and online at www.academyofmusictheatre.com.
Comedian and author John Hodgman issued an apology to Greenfield for some unkind words about the town that appear in an extended cut of his 2012 comedy special, "Ragnarok," released this week.
GREENFIELD — When Daily Show comedian and author John Hodgman made some disparaging remarks about Greenfield, he may not have expected his words to make it back to Franklin County.
He was, after all, imagining the world was coming to an end that night a year ago today when during a comedy show he called Greenfield “a shit-hole.” This week, he apologized to the town.
Hodgman’s original remarks were part of a standup special taped on Dec. 21, 2012, the eve of the so-called “Mayan apocalypse.” In his routine, Hodgman farcically pondered what sort of mayhem the impending end of times might bring, and thanked his audience for spending the last night of human civilization in his company.
The world, as far as we know, did not end that day, and for almost a year, Hodgman’s comments on Greenfield were nigh forgotten.
The segment mentioning Greenfield found its way to the cutting room floor, and was not included in the special shown exclusively on Netflix. However, Hodgman released an extended cut of the special, available as part of his “Ragnarok survival kit” box set.
Ragnarok refers to the end-times of Norse mythology, and is also the name of Hodgman’s comedy special.
An online listing of the kit’s contents reveal that it also includes Hodgman’s “immortal consciousness” downloaded to a thumb drive, a jar of “survival mayonnaise,” and a tube full of clippings from the author’s moustache, the DNA therein to be used for cloning purposes, as well as a “urine flask” and a bottle of unisex cologne, according to the site.
The first copies of the limited release of 500 were set to ship out Wednesday.
Realizing that his unkind words about Greenfield were about to be shipped who-knows-where, Hodgman hopped on his computer and hammered out his apology.
He published it online Thursday, lauding many of Greenfield’s good points. He linked to his apology on Twitter (@hodgman), where, as of press time Friday, he had 935,912 followers.
He’s familiar with the town. The 42-year-old spent many childhood summers in Franklin County, and has gone on to inherit a Conway house. The Brookline native now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., but when he’s in our area, he’s known to stop by places like the Brass Buckle and the Montague Bookmill.
In his apology, Hodgman pointed out some of his Greenfield favorites, mostly food-related. They include the Brass Buckle, Magpie Wood-Fired Pizza, the People’s Pint, Green Fields Market and Foster’s Super Market.
He called Wilson’s “one of the great small-city department stores of the kind you barely see anymore ... with a hair salon, an incredible cookware department, and the mid-century strollers of the kind Sally Draper may have ridden in as a toddler.” He went on to marvel at the selection of obscure spirits at Ryan and Casey Liquors.
He also credited a local used book store for contributing to his own literary inspirations.
“Federal Street Books (was) where I found a complete run of Alan Moore’s ‘Miracleman’ for less than ten dollars, as well as an original copy of ‘The People’s Almanac,’ whence I drew first inspiration for my books and almost all of my complete world knowledge,” Hodgman wrote.
Hodgman gave a nod to the new zero-net-energy John W. Olver Transit Center, the first of its kind in the country, and looked forward to the day when Amtrak’s promised “Vermonter” commuter rail line connects Greenfield with New York, Washington, D.C., and Montreal.
“But even if the train never makes it to Greenfield (and it is possible; like most cities these days that are not global hubs of exotic finance, Greenfield is not getting any special favors, and is not done fighting yet), you should still go there,” he wrote. “And if you see me there, say hello.”
“And if you see me there being attacked by angry Greenfielders, come to my aid. Tell them I am sorry. Because that is true.”
Hodgman could not be reached for comment Friday despite attempts by email, phone, social media and yelling his name outside loudly.
Hodgman is known for his appearances on The Daily Show, his stint as the straight-laced personification of a PC in Macintosh computer ads, and his several books. For his full apology, visit goo.gl/ruf7hS.
You can reach David Rainville at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-772-0261, ext. 279