David Sedaris charms audiences, announces his favorite font at the State Theatre
Image by Hugh Hamrick
As was to be expected, it was a packed crowd at last night's appearance by David Sedaris at the State Theatre. The stage was dark and sparsely decorated with only a podium and two ferns, but that was all that was needed. When the humorist took to the stage, he had the audience giggling with joy from the get-go.
As frequent attendees of readings and lectures know, even the best writers and most interesting minds can start to get monotonous towards the end of their talk. Not so with Sedaris, who mixes up his readings with familiar favorites, new tales, and other random thoughts from the day.
He started his reading with a chapter from his latest book, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary, a collection of short stories told from the perspectives of animals. Each tale walks a hilarious and often insightful line between animal instinct and relatable human emotion. Sedaris read "The Faithful Setter," a story about two married dogs who struggle with fidelity and good breeding. Whether or not the audience were dog people was moot, judging from the crowd's laughter it was a hit.
Next, Sedaris took a moment to discuss the audio adaptation of Squirrel, and to expound on the awesomeness of Broadway actress Elaine Stritch. He warned audiences that if they didn't know who she was, then they weren't a gay man (in case you aren't, Stritch plays Jack Donaghy's mom on 30 Rock). Stritch is contributing her voice on the audio book, and Sedaris played a recorded segment from her reading of "The Motherless Bear." Read with her frank, deep voice, the chapter was hilariously bitchy and matter-of-fact.
Sedaris continued to change it up throughout his talk, taking the time to read "Standing By," a vintage piece of his involving politics, the airline industry, bad fashion decisions, and crop dusting. He then went on to read bits and pieces from his travel diary, an amusingly surreal and violent tale he described as a "bit of whimsy in response to Proposition 8," and a piece from a book he is recommending, Wells Towers' Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned.
He ended the event with a quick Q&A. And like many question-and-answer sessions, the people who ventured forth were a little weird.
"Which gender do you think is more emotional?" One man shouted from the back.
Sedaris appeared flabbergasted for a brief moment, then half-heartedly committed to giving women the title.
"What is your favorite font?" Another man shouted.
There was a brief pause and a moment of confusion before Sedaris answered, "I think it starts with a C?" (An audience member helped him out and correctly guessed Courier.)
The two questions that followed were a little less out of left field. For the record, he has never worn his sister Amy's fat suit, and they currently aren't working on a play at the moment, mostly because he resides in London and doesn't make it to the U.S. that often.
After the show ended, Sedaris invited guests to tell him jokes as he signed books. It seemed like a fair trade for all of the laughs he had already given us.
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