Nit-picky Starbucks patrons, Japanese cab rides and childhood corporal punishment.
Welcome to the never cohesive, often irreverent and perennially hysterical world of author and humorist David Sedaris.
Addressing a full house at Lisner Auditorium Monday night, Sedaris sardonically chronicled a series of life narratives, from his experiences with overseas dentistry to his various qualms with foreign language audio lesson books.
Teeming with wit and comical self-deprecation, Sedaris converted pedestrian occurrences into hysterical stories that caused an echoing eruption of laughter in the auditorium.
Appealing to D.C.’s political atmosphere, Sedaris opened his set with a declaration of non-candidacy for the 2012 presidential bid, plunging into a slew of derisive political jokes.
Sedaris presented his hypothetical platform, mockingly addressing issues spanning abortion, the federal budget and homosexuality.
” ‘But what about Sharia Law?’ you’re probably asking. It’s spreading like wildfire throughout the nation! One of the things it calls for, and adamantly, is the execution of homosexuals, no matter which congresswoman they’re married to,” the Grammy-winning author joked.
Sedaris continued his set by describing his abundant international experiences, as a frequent traveler to Japan, Germany and China. Employing his penchant for finding humor in the conventional nuances of everyday life, Sedaris commented on the universal awkwardness of phrases taught in beginner language textbooks.
“I’m able to buy train tickets, count to 999,000, and say, whenever someone is giving me change, ‘Now, you are giving me change,’ ” Sedaris remarked.
He commented on his experiences abroad, intertwining the topics of his homosexuality and foreign culture with an open and humorous air.
“When the cab driver [in Japan] asks me about my family, I tell him that I have three children. If Pimsler included, ‘I am a middle-aged homosexual, and thus make do with the niece I never see and a very small godson,’ I’d say that. In the meantime, I work with what I have,” Sedaris jested.
Sedaris then delved into stories of his family – which includes his sister Amy, a renowned author and comedienne – and upbringing, frequent topics and sources of humor in many of his books.
“[Parents] spend hours each night tucking their kids in, reading them books about misguided kittens or seals who wear uniforms, and then maybe re-read it, if the child so orders. In my house, my parents put us to bed with two simple words: ‘Shut up,’ ” Sedaris humorously recalls.
“This was my first time seeing him live, and I laughed my head off throughout the whole thing,” audience member Erin McNamara said.
While audience members primarily applauded the author for his sense of humor, his intellect and literary skill did not go unnoticed.
“He’s, hands down, the best essayist of today,” Aaron Fletcher, an audience member and long-time Sedaris fan, remarked.
A New York Times best-selling author and frequent topic on Public Radio International’s “This American Life,” Sedaris has written dozens of essays on commonplace human oddities, his family upbringing and his life experiences.
This article appeared in the October 20, 2011 issue of the Hatchet.