An alternative Garrison Keillor, with waspishly queer observations and cheery tales of Dinah the Christmas Whore replacing good old down-home wisdom
David Sedaris first shot to fame for his National Public Radio readings of The SantaLand Diaries, which detailed his career as a department store elf. These autobiographical vignettes established him as an alternative Garrison Keillor, with waspishly queer observations and cheery tales of Dinah the Christmas Whore replacing good old down-home wisdom.
Frequently compared to fellow confessional humourist author Augusten Burroughs, Sedaris is a more accomplished prose stylist and his family, who he endlessly mines for anecdotal gold, are more benignly eccentric than Burroughs's cast of grotesques.
Sedaris certainly doesn't shy away from the comedy of his own excruciating experiences. Spending most of his youth and twenties in a variety of pop-culture influenced delusions, Sedaris tries everything from combing the streets for a living to becoming a performance artist. Anyone who has sat through the National Review of Live Art will appreciate his skewering of that genre's scatological non-sequiturs masquerading as depth. Latterly, his attempts to learn French and move to Europe with his seemingly saint-like partner Hugh lead to some glorious bad-taste moments, culminating in seething property envy of none other than Anne Frank.
As befits an author who can easily sell out Carnegie Hall, Sedaris is a treat live - tiny, lispy and with magical comic timing. Given that he rarely performs in the UK, tickets will be like gold dust.
David Sedaris appears at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Peppers Theatre, August 22, 15:30