TJ Jagodowski

The city’s finest improviser

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  • Photograph: Jeremy Handrup

  • Photograph: Jeremy Handrup

  • Photograph: Jeremy Handrup

Photograph: Jeremy Handrup

Having read hundreds of pages of Foucault in 1990, college student TJ Jagodowski inscribed a note to himself from the French philosopher upon the text’s title page. Two decades and 150 books later, Jagodowski still autographs every volume he finishes reading in the style of the author. The bibliomaniac, best known for the two-man show TJ & Dave, splits his time between iO and the Annoyance, while snagging film and commercial roles in between. Jagodowski gave us a peek at his collection and a facetious take on having his tomes “signed by the authors.”


“Ernest [Hemingway] was not particularly impressed with me. I might not live up to what a ‘man man’ is supposed to be. I do make-believe on a stage; that doesn’t cut it. ‘Stay macho’ was more like him saying, ‘Get macho. You and I kind of know you are wuss-ish.’ ”


“[Jane] Austen and I had a relationship based on wit. I felt like it was always just the two of us sitting at a table in someone’s manor house. I’d just come back from a walk, and she was just staring or nibbling at something, and she’d say, ‘What did you see today?’ And I’d say, ‘Everything I looked at.’ ”


“It’s a well wish of some sort. In case it fell into someone else’s hands, [J.R.R. Tolkien] only wanted me to be able to read it. I think this does translate to something official in dwarven runes—I’d have to go look at some old D&D stuff.”


“I was reading [J.K. Rowling’s] books and she was somehow coming to shows, but we didn’t meet, becoming fans of each other from afar, like T.S. Eliot and Groucho Marx. We were slightly enamored with each other. The relationship has quieted down a little…but I imagine she still comes to a show here and there.”


Jagodowski performs Wednesdays with TJ & Dave at iO.


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