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David Sedaris on mastering the details

Jan 22, 2014 Books

“Parents try to create memories for their children,” says David Sedaris. “They take their kids on a fishing trip and say, ‘We’ll remember this forever.’ But what you remember is the small details. You don’t remember the fishing trip; you remember the toilet paper stuck to your mother’s shoe.”

A master of small details. Sedaris’ life appears so filled with anecdotes, his family and friends such perfect comic foils, it’s as if everything around him happens just for him to write about it. He speaks in a continuous self-assured stream, seamlessly breaking into set pieces when the context allows. It seems he is happy performing even for an audience of one, on the phone.

While his essays and books can be laugh-out-loud funny, when Sedaris performs them to an audience, his deadpan charm and impeccable timing take his stories to a new level of hilarity. He returns to Auckland following the release of his latest book Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls for one night at The Civic, January 26. On his last visit in 2012, Sedaris had the Town Hall audience in constant hysterics.

A short, well-dressed man in his 50s with a high-pitched, almost timid voice, Sedaris gets away with what in less subtle hands could come across as crude (sharing women’s tips on how to conceal certain sounds in public bathrooms) or misanthropic (the perils of waiting in line behind indecisive seniors at a coffee shop).

“I used to smoke a lot of pot and used to fantasise about all kinds of crazy shit,” says Sedaris. “I never fantasised about being able to do this. I didn’t even know people could do this for a living”.

David Sedaris
The Civic, January 26
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