David Sedaris and the Fact-Checkers

Here’s an interview with David Sedaris in The Austin Chronicle where he talks about his interactions with the nit-picky fact-checkers at the New Yorker:

“When I wrote a story about spiders, the fact-checker called the arachnologists at the Natural History Museum and then called me back and said, “Well, your story said you fed your spiders so much that they became obese and their feet tore holes in their webs, and [the arachnologists] said that wouldn’t happen.” I said, “No, of course, that wouldn’t happen; it’s a joke.” She said: “Well, you need to say that it was a joke.”

I’ve heard him talk about this before, but I’ve never heard the spider story.

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David Sedaris on Fresh Air

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Last Summer, when our vacation plans fell through, my wife and I decided to just hop in the car and drive as far north as we could up Highway 1 along the Pacific Coast. Before we left, my wife bought the audiobook version of David Sedaris’ “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim” on iTunes. We listened to the entire book as we meandered our way through San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Francisco, Marin County, Mendocino, all the way up to Eureka, and on through to Portland. We listened to it a second time as we blitzkrieged down Interstate 5 back to Los Angeles in a day-and-a-half. I think we only had a dozen or so near-crashes due to uncontrollable laughter.

David Sedaris’ stories are for listening. They are meant to be read aloud, preferably by Sedaris, himself, in his trademark sardonic lisp. And I can’t help it; whenever I hear him recite a sarcastic line by one of his family members, no matter who it is, I always picture his sister Amy as “Jerri” from Strangers With Candy.

Here’s an interview with David Sedaris from last night’s Fresh Air. There is also a bonus excerpt from his new book, “When You Are Engulfed In Flames,” a story entitled, “It’s Catching.”

“A few weeks later, the same thing happened to Maw Hamrick, which is what I call Hugh’s mother, Joan. Her worm was a bit shorter than her son’s, not that the size really matters. If I was a child and saw something creeping out of a hole in my mother’s leg, I would march to the nearest orphanage and put myself up for adoption. I would burn all pictures of her, destroy anything she had ever given me, and start all over because that is simply disgusting. A dad can be crawling with parasites and somehow it’s OK, but on a mom, or any woman, really, it’s unforgivable.”

I’d rate the laugh-out-loud factor for this at about a three. Good stuff.

Donate Now to Keep David Sedaris Funny

David Sedaris’ new collection of essays, “You Are Engulfed in Flames,” comes out this week. Here’s an interview in Newsweek, in which he describes how he keeps book signings interesting:

“For the last book tour, I put a tip jar on my table, because you just have to make it fun. I didn’t even do it every night and I made $4,000.

You put a tip jar at your book-signing table?

Oh, yes. I would get there two to three hours early, and would sign books until 15 minutes before the reading. And I talk to everyone so I don’t sign that many books in two and a half hours. And then just before you start the reading part you go to the back of the room and you say I will sign your book right now for $5. And that’s how you really make your money because any one in their right mind, if they have a choice between paying $5 and waiting for four hours, would choose to pay $5.”