Live: Literary Giant David Sedaris Stands Tall In Chicago

How does a 5-foot-something, homosexual man with more ticks than an unbathed farm cat become the greatest author and humorist of my generation? The answers can be found inside the covers of Me Talk Pretty One Day, Naked, Holidays On Ice, and Barrel Fever. David Sedaris got his start on NPR when he recollected his stint as a department store elf during the holidays. After only his third reading on the air, The New York Times ran a piece on this North Carolina unknown, who was living in Chicago while attending the Art Institute. Sedaris boldly admitted not being born with an artistic bone in his body; he sucked at art. He began taking writing classes, and before he knew it, another master of the written word was offering Sedaris a writing job on an unknown long shot Seinfeld. Not knowing what exactly "sTeinfeld" was at the time, the author declined the offer from Larry David himself, and continued cleaning houses.

This one-of-a-kind author read various articles and stories, answered questions for the sold out Chicago Theater Sunday night. When someone asked the former Chicagoan what he missed most about the Windy City, Sedaris pondered, "When you're my age you can't sleep with as many people. When you think back of how young you once were, most people think 7-years old. Twenty nine is young," he quipped. "I guess I miss sleeping with all those people."

Aside from using his pen as a mighty lance that slices off and amplifies daily life of the human being, Sedaris is also a great observer. Suffering from obsessive/compulsive disorder most of his life, the 44-year-old can spot repetitive flaws in anyone's habitual routine like an X-ray, slap on a finite character description, throw in an adorably insane point of view, and create a timeless piece of literary gold.

Highlights from the show included a bizarre conversation with a Dutch cab driver, who insisted that Santa Claus not only lives in Spain, but if children are bad old St. Nick pretends to kick them; rather than reindeer, the fat man is accompanied by six to eight black men. Not five or seven or even nine, but six to eight black men.

As he often does, Sedaris also brought us up to date with his eccentric family. When shopping with his talented sister Amy (Sex In The City, Strangers With Candy), if the clothes in the men's section won't fit, Amy nudges him toward the women's department. No matter what it is, Amy's ideology is always the same. "Just get it. It will make you feel better." Wearing women's clothes was never more painful for Sedaris, than the time he was standing in front of a bathroom urinal and began to unzip his jeans...from the back.

Esquire magazine has had the pleasure of providing Sedaris with a forum for his unique voice (and capitalize on his popularity and enormous fan base). A recent article has Sedaris complaining that he (and other males) can never find any good clothing accessories. That theory changed when he ordered the "Stadium Pal," a bag that you can pee into on a plane or at a ball game, without having to be inconvenienced by those terrible lines.

The evening was truly entertaining, as I felt like I was watching Woody Allen or Steve Martin or even Lenny Bruce while they were in their heyday (and Sedaris wasn't doing anything but reading words). No jokes, or props, improv, impersonations or funny catch phrases. Only clever and intelligent use of the English language.

Sedaris reminds me of the nerdy kid in high school who never got any attention, was the butt of every joke ever told (by classmates, family members, and local town folk), who shunned anything remotely athletic, and who would one day take over the world with his brilliant gift for creating vivid mental images and razor sharp wit. Oh wait, that's EXACTLY who David Sedaris is.

Source: Jason Anfinsen

Live: Literary Giant David Sedaris Stands Tall In Chicago