M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Tuesday, April 08, 2003  

Me Talk Funny One Day

I don’t claim to be David Sedaris. I don’t claim to be as funny as David Sedaris, or as good a writer as David Sedaris, or blessed with the ability to be poignant and hilarious at the same time like David Sedaris frequently is. However, there is one thing I can claim to have in common with David Sedaris, and that is that we were both inside the Historic State Theater on Saturday night.

Of course, he was on stage and I was up in the balcony, but I don’t think we need to split hairs.

He read a few of his stories and some excerpts from his diary, then opened the floor to questions. Somehow the issue of the war and its media coverage came up. David commented on the press conference where reporters asked Jessica Lynch’s parents probing, incisive questions like “how did you feel when you found out your daughter was alive?” He just knew it was killing those reporters not to have gotten that moment on tape, as if without the video archive, it never happened. But no doubt every reporter in the world was going to be present for Jessica’s release from the hospital. Can you imagine? Seeing her parents for the first time, after what she’s been through, after the emotional roller coaster they’ve endured on her behalf? Don’t the American people have a right to see that?

“I really want her to go up to her parents and shake their hands,” David said. “And then not go home with them: ‘Yeah, I’m just gonna get a ride with my friends, here. I’ll see you later.’”

The thing about David Sedaris is that some people love him and some people don’t get him at all. And whenever opinion is polarized about something like that, a few of the people on the positive end of the continuum are bound to come off a little kooky. Like a woman in the left half of the main floor. We could all tell she was going to be trouble before she got her third word out. It did take her about two minutes to get those three words out, so I suppose our prognosticating wasn’t as impressive as it sounds.

“I…just…wanted…to thank you…for coming…for being here…ever since…‘Little…elf……little …elf’…thank you…………..for saying…………………………


“It means…so much….”

“Thank y—ahem” David Sedaris said, because she was off again. Going on much in the previous vein. I couldn’t hear what exactly she was saying any more, because the other 2,149 people in the audience were beginning to shift uncomfortably. As the minutes ticked past, the hapless subject of this star-struck filibuster stood frozen behind his podium, transfixed by the crystalline spear of pure awkwardness that had nailed his squirming guts to the back wall of the stage.

A more hostile, less understanding group of people might have succumbed to the lowest urges of mob psychology, hissing or booing or possibly hollering, “Put a cork in it, Actor’s Studio.” But this is Minnesota.

Instead, we the audience took pity on our host, and on our rogue element, and most especially ourselves, by breaking into spontaneous applause. That was the ideal way to get out of the situation, because the crazy lady got to feel good about having said her piece, and the rest of us got to get out of there before Daylight Savings Time took effect. The only loser was David Sedaris, who maybe got a potential story stolen out from under him. And perhaps also you, who would have read that story and laughed and laughed. Sorry. But then, you got to read my version of it. Just read it again, and laugh this time, and we’ll call it even.

David Sedaris was surprisingly gracious for a guy who’s sold millions of copies of books in which he largely claims to be a self-absorbed little prick. “For those of you who couldn’t hear her,” he explained to the 2,149 people who had just rescued him from his public nightmare, “she was just saying some very nice things, and thanking me for coming. But really, my agent sets these things up. They tell me where to go, and I go there.”

No, I can’t claim to be David Sedaris. I wouldn’t mind having his job for a while, though. He has audiences who rescue him from interminable encounters with randoms. The rest of us just have to put up with them.

posted by M. Giant 3:14 PM 0 comments


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