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Sunday, September 30, 2012

David Sedaris doesn't apologise or explain - which is why I like him

I'm beginning to like going to see people I know nothing about. A friend of ours booked some tickets to see David Sedaris at the Cadogan Hall on Friday night. I went along knowing nothing about him except he was popular and I'd once heard him read a story on a NPR podcast. He came on at 7:35, read three stories about things that had happened to him, took a few questions and at 9:05 went out in the lobby to sign books. He was funny. I enjoyed it a lot.

What I really liked about him was that at no point did he do what so many people who are in the business of making us laugh do, which is position themselves. He didn't follow every description of an unworthy thought or action with an assurance that he wasn't that kind of person. In the three stories he read he talked about his fancy to own the skeleton of a pygmy, the fact that he simply can't relax if he knows there's an unmade bed in the house and his discovery that some people in a public lavatory defecate into their hands to avoid the sound of turds splashing into the water. To hear thoughts like this coming from a neat middle-aged American was relaxing in a way that most comedy isn't.