As of this posting, I have listened to all 270 episodes of the Judge John Hodgman podcast. It was an endeavor I did not take lightly since I began at episode 1 — and some days it felt like running uphill as a new episode would be released nearly every week. But nearly two years later and, by gum, I’ve done it! Now, I can join the rest of the ranks listening to a new episode as it comes out weekly — what a novel concept!
So, why am I writing a post about this podcast? Well, because there’s some specialness attached to it — and when you spend that many hours dedicated to something, you get a little attached. Anyway, my BFF Nick, who I let have writing space on this very website, has been a Hodgmanite for really long time. I knew Hodgman originally as the Deranged Millionaire on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and from his short stint on Battlestar Galactica. Nick and I were driving to St. Louis for Wizard World Comic Con, which took place inside the Rams stadium. He made a joke about the convention being a nerd-jock convergence, and naturally, I was annoyed that I didn’t fully get the reference. And then he tweeted it AND John Hodgman retweeted it. Well, I couldn’t have that.
So, perhaps out of spite or (more likely) because my best friend and I have the same sense of humor, I embarked on this endeavor because he assured me I would enjoy it. Or at the very least, finally understand half of his daily references. Much to my delight, I loved the podcast instantly. It was indeed my sense of humor, and I had to conceal my laughter on several occasions as I listened at work. And to top it off, Hodgman, Nick, and myself are all only children, so there are things that only we understand. Much of that is expressed in many of Hodgman’s rulings. We’re all part of the “super-smart-afraid-of-conflict-narcissist club” — another Hodgman reference. Get with it, guys.
I don’t remember exactly when I started listening to it, only that this silly, funny podcast eventually became a lifeline when everything else in my life made me feel as though I was drowning. I won’t go into it, but having this constant presence and seemingly endless (at the time) amount of episodes to listen to got me through many rough days. I could focus on other people’s silly disputes to escape my own very real, very awful problems. And more than a year ago, I did escape my own. And then the Judge John Hodgman podcast became a thing I listened to for fun, for leisure, for my own enjoyment. I no longer cling to life for a distraction. Now, I sit back and laugh fully at it, no longer worrying what my anxiety brain will do when it ends and the real world returns. It’s a nice feeling. Maybe it’s a little silly to feel these things from a comedy podcast, but you know what? Who cares! Whatever gets you through the rough times are important, especially if it’s a medium that lets you be engaged and gives you some form of enjoyment, no matter how little it may seem at the time.
But I just want to say thank you to Judge John Hodgman, Jesse Thorn, and several of the guest bailiffs for getting me through a rough time and now becoming part of my weekly routine.
If you’re looking for an entertaining podcast that might make you laugh out loud (or lol) in awkward places like your quiet office or on the Chicago bus, you should give Judge John Hodgman a whirl. He probably doesn’t need my advertisement or endorsement, but considering how much a part his voice has played in the background of some significant life moments, this was all worth jotting down to me.
For some of my personal favorite episodes and key Judge John Hodgman rulings, I’d recommend:
- To Tree or Not to Tree
- Are Machine Guns Robots?
- Parents Just Don’t Understand
- The Colbert Rapport
- The Pepperoni Pauper
Basically any of the ones with weird dads or cooky brothers are the best. I started going down the list and wanted to list too many. So, if you like some of those, I’d recommend doing the crazy person thing and listening to it all, like me! Now that I’m caught up, ‘My Brother, My Brother And Me’ is next, but I’m doing that backwards.