That's the time when all the various fun and bizarre adventures of the past couple of years all collided. No one could figure out why I was there, and what role I was supposed to fill at the party. I had come as a supplicant, a fan, a journalist. Or was I a minor, E-list personality, there to lend the party a little E-list buzz? And it didn't help that I was also mentioning to everyone around that the paperback of my book was going to come out.
Finally I felt very guilty about the whole thing and left so that my space friends could enjoy their well-earned celebration and glowing drinks without the minor distraction of me. I'm sure, once I was gone, no one noticed.
Hodgman with costar Justin Long in the popular "Mac vs. PC" ads
You used to be a professional literary agent, and I understand your first client was Bruce Campbell. How did that come about?
Like many whose lives have been touched by the genius of Campbell, my road with him began when I e-mailed him blindly, and to my astonishment, Bruce swiftly and politely wrote back. He showed an enormous amount of trust in me. I recommended I help him find a, you know, experienced agent, but for whatever reason, he let me do it.
It's sometimes hard to even find the humor section in the big chain bookstores. Were you surprised when The Areas of My Expertise became a bestseller?
Obviously, and obviously it was pretty much due to one single stroke of providence: four minutes on The Daily Show. While Daily Candy and the New York Times Book Review were critical and extremely influential early supporters. Dutton and its sales force were my heroes in their dogged belief in the book. But I remained skeptical. Inside I knew that most humans would still approach an excessively eccentric book of fake trivia with some hesitation, or I should say, plain confusion. I knew that many readers might not trust their initial impulse to like the book, wondering if perhaps it was simply too weird or trivial to invest their time and money in. And by November my feeling was they were saying more or less no thank you on presidents with hooks for hands.