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Emmys 2017
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Article

John Hodgman: How to become a pop culture icon

John Hodgman from the Mac commercials shares his secrets for success

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If you want to become a popular culture icon, it really does help to go on television. Actually, ”icon” is a hard word to wear. I mean, I’m actually wearing a very large golden medallion right now that says ”icon,” and it’s heavy as I walk around. It’s a hard burden to take on. I prefer the term ”famous minor television personality” because I think that is most accurate. But that’s much more expensive to have made into a golden chain.

Obviously, though, start with a job in books. Obviously. Then move on to self-publishing your work on the Internet, because that’s where the money is. And then wait until one of the best and most appreciated shows on television plucks you from obscurity — even though, by virtue of your age, weak chin, lazy eye, bad teeth, and 5 o’clock shadow appearing every 6 a.m., you do not deserve to be on television. And then accidentally find your way into an extremely successful ad campaign that not only is for a product that you love but is itself beloved as though it were a great sitcom. Then get extremely lucky being asked to be on not only some of the best but some of your personal favorite TV shows (not to mention major motion pictures) and to work with some of your personal favorite actors of all time. So that’s the easy way to become an icon. The hard way to do it is by achieving all the same things without copying me.

Omnipresence is truly the only way to become a celebrity these days. And, as you know, I am an older person who does not like to move around a lot. It’s very tiring.