The Internet is full of interesting things to read outside of The A.V. Club—no, really! In our periodic Read This posts, we point you toward interesting or noteworthy pieces that caught our eye.
Many comedy fans—at least those who don't live in California—only know Huell Howser as one of the crazy characters (as portrayed by James Adomian) on Comedy Bang! Bang! But Howser, who died Sunday at 67, was a real-life newsman and host of a TV show called California's Gold, on which he showcased the state's treasures and oddities with unbridled enthusiasm. An especially hard, dry lake bed! The factory where Squeegees are made! Nixon's boyhood home!
His apparently sudden death—no cause has been released—has prompted a lot of sentimental remembrances, Adomian and actor/comedian/writer Thomas Lennon among them. Adomian, who grew up in California, describes what made Howser, and his show, so great.
We are lucky there was someone as fearless as Huell to ask those questions and take us along for the trip. He was fascinated by life, investigating all details, learning about the world around us, the people before us, and above all sharing our stories.
Lennon, who admits bursting into tears inexplicably when he heard about Howser's death, describes meeting the man at a dry cleaners.
Huell was as excited to meet me as he once was to meet the lady who makes Aebleskivers in Solvang. He was as excited to meet me as he once was to see a real butter churn in action… or that time he saw that cool player-piano, which is to say: He was overjoyed 100 percent.
Lennon puts it really well at the end of his remembrance, likening the Howser's guileless enthusiasm to being “the opposite of the Internet.” “Huell was like a Terminator sent from the past instead of the future, to make us appreciate all of the things we take for granted.”
His and Adomian’s stories are sweet and tender and wonderfully succinct, nifty remembrances of who appears to be a pretty swell guy.