Comedian John Hodgman is at the Wilbur this Saturday, and regardless of how the Brookline native gets to the Theatre District, chances are he’ll loop around to Route 128. Hodgman is so in love with Massachusetts, he’s throwing his support behind a campaign from Mayoral candidate Marty Walsh and Senator Bob Hedlund that would make the Modern Lovers’ classic track “Roadrunner” our official State Rock Song.
Read his letter in full below. Tickets to the Wilbur gig are available here, and don’t sleep on his podcast, which you can check out / download / subscribe to / whatever forever to here.
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To Representative Walsh and Senator Hedlund —
My name is John Hodgman, and I am a native of Brookline, and though I now live in Brooklyn, my wife and I continue to own a home in Franklin County and spend large portions of happy time in the Pioneer Valley driving around and eating tomatoes and getting lost in corn mazes, etc.
I also host a podcast called “Judge John Hodgman,” in which I settle disputes between normal people in every state and commonwealth, plus some foreign nations.
On a recent episode of the podcast, I sang the song “Roadrunner” by Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers, prompting a listener named Tony to alert me to your efforts to make that song the official rock song of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
I am writing to express my STRONG SUPPORT for your effort.
My understanding is that, as of this July, the bill has been referred to the committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight. I also understand that there is a counter effort afoot to name a different song the official Commonwealth rock song— “Dream On” by Aerosmith.
I have nothing against Aerosmith. I appreciate that “Dream On” is a song frequently played at Fenway Park in support of the future world baseball champions the Boston Beardmen. (I am just pandering at this point. I know nothing about sports). And in 1991 my wife sold some salmon to Steven Tyler at the Brookline branch of Whole Foods (then Bread & Circus), and she reports that he was a nice person.
But I don’t need to tell you that “Roadrunner” is a better choice. It is woven as deeply into the cultural landscape of Massachusetts as the Turnpike itself. It is the pulsing sound of the night and the future. It connects the midnight ride of Paul Revere with the dream of every Massachusetts teenager who has just gotten their license and is discovering the Freedom Trail that is Route 128 after the last movie lets out.
And while “Roadrunner” is a road song, it isn’t driving away FROM Massachusetts. It’s a song that is IN LOVE WITH Massachusetts.
(You can tell from the part where Jonthan Richman sings, “I’m in love with Massachusetts.”)
I know you don’t need convincing. But clearly some people do. So please let me know if there is anything I or my listeners can do to help you.
I will be performing comedy at the Wilbur Theater on Saturday night, 11/2, and if either of you would like to come and give an update on your efforts, you are always welcome to my stage. Representative Walsh, I appreciate you may be somewhat busy with your campaign to become Boston’s new Mayor on November 5. Let me just say that there shall be several hundred legal Massachusetts voters in the audience, plus a bunch of teenagers, whom I am sure you know tend to vote two or three times. (They do it for kicks.)
In any case, thank you for your kind attention. I sincerely hope that you prevail.
That is all.
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I will let you know if they respond.