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David Sedaris

World-class smart-ass David Sedaris makes his first appearance in Honolulu on Nov. 13.


Writer, playwright, public radio star and world-class smart-ass David Sedaris enjoys the kind of adoration usually reserved for leather-clad rock stars. You won't see Sedaris in leather pants-at least not in public-but his appearances regularly sell out. One zealous fan created a Web site to "discuss, obsess and worship David Sedaris." While that last one seems more frightening than flattering, Sedaris this month brings his sweetly twisted storytelling to Hawai'i.

Photo Courtesy: Steven Barclay Agency

Sedaris is the author of Barrel Fever, Holidays on Ice, Naked and Me Talk Pretty One Day; his most recent book is this year's Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. Each year, he spends the fall and spring on a lecture tour, testing out new material as he goes. His appearances here mark the author's first trip to the Islands, and luckily coincide with the end of this tour, so he plans to spend a few extra days here exploring.

While his printed stories will have you rolling around, his work is really meant to be read aloud, ideally by the author. His distinctive, edgy voice is much beloved by his fans, but he cringes to hear it.

"I would never listen to myself on the radio or on any of the books on tape.

I call room service and they call me ma'am. At a hotel in Atlanta, I had some laundry done and they lost my pants. I called downstairs and they brought the pants up and said, 'I believe your wife just called about these.'"

In Honolulu, he says, he'll start off with five new stories that he has been working on. While he's written about subjects as diverse as apple picking, quadriplegics and erotic housekeeping, he is best known for his stories celebrating his rather unusual family. His sister, Amy (also an accomplished comic and playwright), comes home for the holidays wearing a fat suit. His father takes the antibiotics prescribed for his Great Dane, saying, "Pills are pills." Another sister, Tiffany, gets around via rickshaw. Some of the most vivid passages recall the exploits of his brother, Paul, who calls himself "The Rooster." The stories about his family are a riot, and poignant, but you can't help feeling a little guilty for spying on the Sedaris clan.

"I don't see my family as extraordinary," muses Sedaris. "I try to write about them so that they are as funny in the story as they are in person. That said, what I might think is funny, other people might read as cruel. My family and I, though, we all have the same sense of humor. My writing about them is a feeble attempt to immortalize them in some way."

“An Evening with David Sedaris” presented by Hawai‘i Public Radio and UpWest Arts.

• 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13 at the Hawai‘i Theatre Center in Honolulu (528-0506).

• Sunday, Nov. 14, at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (808-242-7469).

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Honolulu Magazine April 2017
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