Delocated creator and star Jon Glaser gathered up some famous friends and friends of friends to read the documents he “unearthed” for his new book My Dead Dad Was in ZZ Top: 100% Real,* Never-Before-Seen Documents from the World of Rock and Roll (*100% Fake) in front of a packed crowd at Brooklyn’s Bell House on Tuesday night. Glaser shared the fictional letters of his father (a keyboardist who quit ZZ Top when it veered from its original soul-fusion vibe), and Jon Hamm read top-secret documents about how the Butthole Surfers got their name from a Navy SEAL who was shrunk down and injected (with his surfboard) into Idi Amin’s anus.
John Hodgman read Pablo Picasso’s lost missive to the Modern Lovers, refuting the factual accuracy of their lyric “Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole.” (Hodgman says the Picasso voice he used for the reading was developed after “30 minutes of watching Javier Bardem on YouTube.”) But in a battle of the Rich Littles, Paul Rudd emerged as winner when he channeled Jay Leno; to the delight of the audience, he mimicked the Tonight Show host in an uncovered series of clueless responses to Interpol and Franz Ferdinand’s written pleas to replace Kevin Eubanks as Leno’s bandleader. The imitation was spot-on at first, but over the course of three letters it self-admittedly devolved into a generalized squeak. When it was over, Glaser noted the sage lesson: impersonating Leno “is a sprint, not a marathon.”
Glaser is a former writer and performer for Late Night With Conan O’Brien, and the mockery of Leno went over well with the reading’s Team Coco crowd. However, the book’s web page on Glaser’s publisher’s site lists ZZ Top as “similar to” another book called The Leno Wit. When we informed Glaser about this before the show, he burst out into hysterical laughter, and then admitted he’d actually read The Leno Wit. “Just like it’s good to watch Fox News even if you don’t agree with it,” he said. “It’s important to know what the opposition is saying.” Glaser later shared our findings with the packed crowd: “A reporter from New York Magazine informed me before the show that on the HarperCollins website, it says if you like my book you’ll like Leno’s Wit. Actually, you really won’t.”
And though his book was all about revealed secrets, we could get no big scoops out of Hamm regarding Mad Men: He says he’s still not sure if and when they’re returning for a fifth season. “If you know, you tell me,” he said backstage. “There are so many different negotiations between so many different people, but nothing’s been signed.” Hamm is currently staying at his New York apartment filming an indie movie with
wife longtime girlfriend Jennifer Westfeldt. “I’m not stressed [about Mad Men]. I’m not the one doing the negotiations.”