David Sedaris

Monday night, Ryan and I went with a friend to see David Sedaris at The Long Center in Austin.  I was still sick with bronchitis, but I over-medicated myself and took an entire bag of cough drops to sooth my hacking cough during his performance. I’m a big Sedaris fan and have read quite a few of his books, so I was not going to miss his appearance in Austin.  It turns out that Sedaris was in bad shape, too, having had an emergency root canal two days before and, if you can believe him, a large fatty tumor cut out of his side by a doctor that he met at his El Paso performance.  Still, he was in rare form, and I laughed so hard all night long.

This was my first experience with David Sedaris in person, and though I’ve read his essays and heard him on NPR many times, I still wasn’t aware of his fondness for dirty jokes. I’m certain he can’t get away with a lot on the radio or even in print, so we were fair game as his captive audience Monday night.  Lena Dunham counts Sedaris among her many influences, and it’s easy to see that they share a fondness for vagina jokes. I learned later that Sedaris keeps a notebook with him and fills it with jokes he hears from people he meets at book signings, on airplanes, and in taxis.

Sedaris has the amazing ability to find something funny in really mundane, everyday occurrences, and some of his stories meander on for a while, before coming to ridiculously hilarious ends. He shared a lot of material from The New Yorker and every piece was new to me.  At the end of his reading, Sedaris took a few questions and then recommended a current favorite book, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, by Ann Patchett. That was a really nice touch, and now I’m eager to read her book.

If you ever get the chance to hear David Sedaris in person, go!  He is incredibly charming and funny, and you never know what kind of joke he’ll pull from his pocket. We didn’t stay for the book signing, but I’m sure that is just as much fun as his reading.

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