You cry at a David Sedaris event. Not because you’re sad, but because you’re laughing so hard.
This was the case last night at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, Colorado when I had to remove my glasses and wipe away tears every few minutes.
David Sedaris read aloud to a sold-out crowd of 1,180 people to promote his new book Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002. He read selections from 2017 diary entries that will appear in Volume 2, A Carnival of Snackery: Diaries 2003-2017*, and from a collection of essays to be published in May, Calypso.
This was my fourth time attending his “An Evening with David Sedaris” event in Colorado over the past several years, and it was by far his finest performance.
What to highlight?
I could talk about him reading an essay on his 94-year-old widower father who lives alone in the family home of five bedrooms full of papers stacked on tables, after which Sedaris commented, “That’s 15 pages of sorrow,” but later revealing during questions and answers that his dad (who hates old people) goes to spin class five days a week and hangs out with 25-year-olds who call him “Lou” and think he’s great.
I could talk about his obsession with his Fitbit and Apple Watch, which bully him into walking seven miles a day, even when suffering from a gastrointestinal virus for six days that made him expel a “paint can” full of “rusty water” each bathroom visit while on book tour. (Not during the actual events, thank God, but it was close).
Or about his partner, Hugh, who is so proper he won’t let him into the bathroom when he’s peeing. (Sedaris said, “It was in my mouth 10 minutes ago, and now it’s a private part?” to which Hugh replied from behind the closed door, “Go away!”)
But I’ll keep this brief and focus on the insults various people around the world (or more specifically, Sedaris’ fans) yell out the driver’s side window when someone cuts them off in traffic. People in Austria, The Netherlands, and Romania are the most creative.
“Reach your hand up my ass and jerk off my shit.”
And the crowning achievement, the worst insult in all the world, compliments of the Romanians:
“I drag my balls across your mother’s memorial cake, from cherry to cherry, and to each candle.”
(A memorial cake is what Romanians bake when a loved one passes away.)
When David asked the Amsterdam resident if someone would say, “Diabetes whore,” she replied, “No! It has to be terminal.”
“No! Oh, those poor people.”
But “Cancer slut” is perfectly acceptable.
Katherine Valdez told her partner at the beginning of the evening that she would probably never buy tickets to David Sedaris’ events again, because, you know, they’re expensive. But afterward, she conceded, “That was worth it,” to which he replied with a smile, “You’ll go again.”
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*The book title is taken from an Indian restaurant menu that a friend of his saw in London.
Read previous posts about David Sedaris: November 2015 and July 2013.