Out of Your Comfort Level: Naked
Pam Barton
7/14/2002 2:40:21 PM

Okay, so everyone has mixed feelings about David Sedaris' work. True. I don't consider every essay in Naked [Little Brown and Co]"humorous". They can be alarming, even distressing. His stories contain characters that don't act in a manner you would think. And that's the humor. Portraits of his mother as a sarcastic one-liner comedienne (see "A Plague of Tics", "Dinah, the Christmas Whore") are very funny.

Painting a strange canvass of bizarre "Americana" throughout, I do find that I tend to like essays I have heard him read through NPR's "This American Life". Reading "I Like Guys" and "Drama Bug" just doesn't do the work justice. Listening to Sedaris' nervous, femmy-intellectual voice puts that humor in it that makes me just laugh out loud.

I've read all the David Sedaris' books --- from Barrel Fever to Me Talk Pretty One Day, and I must say that Me Talk Pretty One Day could possibly be the most palatable book yet for those of you who disdain Naked, or are weirded-out by Barrel Fever.

And, as a current employee of Macy's (albeit the western division), I find that "The SantaLand Diaries" (from either Barrel Fever or Holidays on Ice) is by far the most humorous, either reading it or hearing him recite it.

For Sedaris' spoken essay, "Drama Bug" and other essays by similarly hilarious writers, a good compilation to try is "This American Life" CD.


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