In both his comedy and his writing, Hill masters this kind of arrested-development schtick. A recurring theme is an excessive preoccupation with sex. One of the best blurbs on Tasteful Nudes comes from fellow-comedian Chris Elliot: "Not only did Tasteful Nudes take me on an emotional journey through the seedy underbelly of Dave Hill’s life, but it also introduced me to a whole new slew of colorful and imaginative euphemisms for my pud." Like the best comedy, it can be unsettling, and it works because it contrasts so perfectly with the aura of unironic sweetness that Hill can't help projecting.
Recently, New Yorker editor David Remnick was talking to one of his writers about "this three-dimensional notion" of the magazine story enabled by the iPad—a promise very much on the minds of his fellow editors in the Condé Nast tower in Times Square these days.
The writer was Roger Angell, the 90-year old fixture at the magazine who for years had served as its fiction editor and who is now widely known for his essays on baseball (and whose institutional connection to the magazine stretches back to his mother, an editor for the magazine, and his stepfather, the writer E.B. White.)
Remnick was reconstructing his memory of Angell's reaction. “‘I work very hard to describe metaphorically or directly how a screw-ball, which is a highly complex piece of mechanical business, works,’” Remnick said, channeling his writer. “I don’t want the reader to press a hyperlink on the word screwball and all of a sudden showing you how, as in an instructional video.'"