When a show as great as Bored to Death gets cancelled, its fans react in one of two ways: they sit hunched over computers sending out petitions to PLEASE PLEASE keep the show on air, or they gather with their friends, get shitfaced and mourn the downfall of television. Last night, show creator Jonathan Ames and Park Slope's own John Hodgman invited fans of BTD to partake in the latter (I don't actually know if they got shitfaced. I ducked out shortly after arriving so that I could write this before waking up way the hell too early to get on a bus to Boston).
Word spread quickly yesterday that Ames and Hodgman had plans to meet up at The Brooklyn Inn in Boerum Hill around 10PM to celebrate three wonderful seasons of the show. Ames even promised to buy everyone drinks. I arrived around 9:15 and the bar was already packed and stuffy. Once I felt inevitable boob sweat pooling, I hightailed it outside for cooler air (side note: today is the first day of winter. It should not be 55 degrees outside). I made it out onto the sidewalk just as Jonathan Ames arrived. There was a group of around 30-40 people eagerly waiting to get into The Brooklyn Inn, and he addressed them, first by recommending that they start a second party at a nearby bar.
"It's fun to change locations," he says. "People can run back and forth. That's amusing."
Ames recognizes a few of his cast and crew members in the crowd -- the actor who plays Angry Bob (real name: Angry Bob), Dean Haspiel, the illustrator behind all of Ray's comics and whom that character was based on, and Rick Butler, who designed all of the show's sets. As Ames introduces each one, the gathered group breaks into applause. It almost feels like the last episode of a television show, where each cast member is announced and takes their final bow for the audience. It was a very sweet moment.
"I just want to say that you're a wonderful guy to work with," Angry Bob tells Ames. "And it was an honor working with you. You're very generous." Again, everyone claps.
Ames announces that he would like to get inside to start buying drinks, but before he leaves the crowded street for the even more crowded bar, he reveals the Super Ray t-shirt that he's wearing underneath a collared shirt and, per a shouted out request, performs his signature "Hairy Call" (it's like a really intense Chewbacca cry, if you've never heard it).
Once Ames disappears inside, I'm thinking of heading home -- it's just too crowded in that bar, and it's beginning to rain again. Then I spot John Hodgman across the street. Earlier in the day, Mr. Hodgman commented on our post about the party, hinting that he may finally grant us the interview we have hungered for.
I bolt across the street and, in what I believe to be a non-confrontational way, confront him.
"Fucked in Park Slope has finally found John Hodgman."
My questions consist of Park Slope's well-known staples that we often ask in our Profiles in Courage series: babies. The Pavilion. Marty Markowitz. What does John Hodgman think of these things? Here's what John Hodgman thinks of these things:
KD: Cats in bodegas. What are your thoughts?
JH: Adorable and nerve-wracking.
KD: Because they may pee on the produce?
JH: Well, no, they do pee on the produce. That goes without question. But they're darting out into the middle of the street all the time, and their clear lack of collars and... breeding.
KD: Babies in bars?
JH: Unacceptable. Well, no -- babies in a sling. Young, little babies --
KD: Like babies in a bjorn are OK?
JH: Yes, babies in a bjorn or in a sling, or in a papoose, yes.
KD: If a baby starts to scream in a bar ---
KD: How long should a woman --
KD: Marty Markowitz (I did not even pose this as a question. It was more of an odd declaration).
JH: Our president.
At this point, I spend an unnecessarily long time trying to describe Marty's recent illustrated holiday card. I'm doing us all a favor by omitting that portion of the interview. It's just... I was nervous.
KD: The Prospect Park West Bike Lane.
JH: Come on.
KD: Is that an old one? Are we past talking about it?
JH: No, I'm saying that every time I see it I go, "Come on!"
Jonathan Ames is now loudly beckoning from the doorway of the bar across the street. "I'll be right there," Hodgman calls out. "I'm starting a rival Tweet-up over here! Bring me a thermos of martinis!"
KD: Who would you like to see play at the Barclays Center, besides the Nets?
JH: Jonathan Coulton.
KD: What do you think about The Pavilion?
JH: Get it together, Pavilion.
KD: I heard they put in new seats, though. They got rid of the purple ones.
JD: When, in 1930? When did you hear this?
KD: Over the summer.
JH: I've been there. I went there to see Arthur Christmas -- great movie, by the way -- there is no business in Park Slope that I want to support more. There's nothing more essential than having a good movie theater. And there is also no reason why it should not be an incredible space. I've been there a few times, and I'm like, "this isn't so bad," but theater 8 -- it's like Led Zeppelin was in there.
KD: It's disgusting.
JH: I can't believe what happened. And I don't know when it happened. It looks terrible, like a snuff film was shot in there. And I really urge them to get it together, because I want to go there everyday.
KD: OK, last one. What would your elevator pitch be for a show about Park Slope?
JH: Bored to Death: The Next Generation.
KD: That's perfect.
And with that, John Hodgman makes his way over to the bar where fans await.
Last night I got to hear Jonathan Ames speak in person about the show so dear to his heart. I witnessed a "Hairy Call" up close and almost too personal. And I had a great chat about Park Slope with John Hodgman, who is an incredibly nice man. You should all own his books and do anything that he says.
All in all, it was a fantastic night. Even with the boob sweat.
(Thanks to my lovely lady friend Cirocco Dunlap for recording the interview!)