Classic comments from Denver-bound David Sedaris

David Sedaris

EDITOR’S NOTE: Considered America’s foremost humorist, best-selling author and cultural icon David Sedaris returns to Denver for three sold-out evenings in the Seawell Grand Ballroom from Nov. 2-4. Sedaris’ latest book is titled “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls.” To mark his return, we take a look back at highlights from a fun interview between Sedaris and DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore before a previous Denver visit.

He talked funny one day

John Moore: David, the last time we saw each other, you were kind enough to sign two books for friends of mine who were not at that particular show. You signed one, “Everyone knows you’re gay,” and the other one, “For that slut in Denver.” Does everyone who doesn’t show up at your shows get “The Sedaris Treatment’?
David Sedaris: There’s always so much pressure to come up with something different to write in each book. Some nights, I come up with new things, and other times, I wind up falling back on old ones. I don’t want anyone to say, “That’s exactly what he wrote in my book.”
John Moore: Time Magazine called you “America’s Best Humorist,” but you haven’t lived in the United States full-time in nearly two decades. How do you stay on top of things here when you are living abroad?
David Sedaris QuoteDavid Sedaris:  Well, that Time Magazine thing was pretty funny. I had real reservations about that. It feels like when you are embraced by Time Magazine, you’ve got to wonder what you are doing wrong. It wasn’t like I nominated myself or anything. But I think being distant helps you to see the U.S. in a different way. When you are living there, things are normal to you, and you stop noticing that things are strange in any way. When you go away and come back, you notice how odd things are here.
John Moore: When you’re here, do you go undercover?
David Sedaris: Often people will say, “Oh, let me take you to a cave,” or “Let me take you to this barbecue restaurant.” But then sometimes, you’re sort of tired of being around people by that point. I love to listen to local talk-radio shows and cable access TV. I mean, that’s half my diary right there, just what I saw on TV the night before.  I’m just unable to believe it. There was a Canadian show when I was there last time called Vets in Training. Have you seen the show?
John Moore: Never heard of that one.
David Sedaris: I can’t figure out if it’s a soap opera or it’s a documentary. But it can’t be a documentary, because they’re too good-looking. They’re all veterinary students, and they all have their little lives and stuff. And then an eagle will sprain its neck or something, and they have to rush to take care of that.
John Moore: We we seem to have this shared belief now that our lives are all interesting, they should be chronicled and they are fully worth the rest of the world’s consumption and consideration.
David Sedaris: What’s that thing where people go to an island?
John Moore: Survivor?
David Sedaris: Yeah. That came on after I moved, so I only read about it. But they started a French version of that show in France. I always wonder if I’m supposed to like these people – because I never do. But in the long run, I think it’s no worse than anything else. I guess that’s the best thing that can be said about that. Like: I laughed as hard as I would laugh at a comedy. I feel as much pity and sympathy as I would as if I were watching Touched by an Angel, you know?
John Moore: Do you ever feel a certain pressure to always be “on” at social occasions – as if you are a stand-up comedian?
David Sedaris QuoteDavid Sedaris: When I go on a tour like this, you just sort of prepare yourself for that.  You just sort of flick yourself “on,” because people expect it. At the same time, I’m usually up for it. What’s funny is that you could say, “Oh, I have a big blister on the bottom of my foot,” and people will laugh. You realize, “Oh – they will laugh at anything I say.”
John Moore:  “So you find puss funny?”
David Sedaris: Right. That’s trouble. When I’m signing books, people are afraid. They’re frightened. And I always think, “Of me?” Like why would anybody …? I don’t know. It just makes me sad.
John Moore:  You don’t take that as a compliment that people get themselves worked up to see you?
David Sedaris: No. I wouldn’t want that. It’s not pleasant to feel that way. Why stand in a line and then have that thing that you’ve been waiting for be unpleasant? That’s like giving blood or something.
John Moore:  I always tend to get nervous.  I don’t know why.
David Sedaris: Well, I’m the same way. I’m terrified whenever I go for a book signing. Anytime I’ve ever gone to hear an author in person, and I think, “Oh, what am I going to say? What I’m going to say is going to sound so stupid” Or, “He’s heard it a million times before.” So I just try to take control. I start asking them questions so they don’t have to stand there and think, “Ugh, that sounded stupid.” Instead I say stuff like, “Are those your real teeth?”
John Moore: That is exactly how I feel when I am standing in the line at a funeral. You are waiting your turn to speak to the family, and you have no idea what you are going to say.
David Sedaris:  But what if you got up there and said, “Where did you get your shoes?” For my book tour, I wanted to try some little gimmicks and things. So I brought out a tip jar, and I made, like, $1,500 in tips! I  made about $140 a night. But I can’t do that on this trip, because I’m being paid to be there, and you know, it just doesn’t seem right. I started a list of questions to ask people. Like: “I don’t know what globalization means.  Do you?” I figure I can just get people’s definitions of that word. And on the book tour, I wear a bow tie, because my father suggested it. So I collected comments about bow ties. Like one night, a guy said that a bow tie was the pierced eyebrow of the Republican Party. That was a good statement.  When I was in San Francisco, a guy said, “A bow tie announces to the world that you can no longer get a (bleep). “ And I thought, “That is exactly what a bow tie does. That is it exactly.”


David Sedaris: SOLD OUT
• Nov 2-4
• Seawell Grand Ballrom
• Produced by Rebek Productions
• Information: 303-893-4100 for any potential ticket availability

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