April brings showers, tax return deadlines, and also something decidedly more incredible. As the month winds to a close, The Paramount welcomes back an annual guest who is far more enjoyable than that yearly bout with cedar allergies. He is the incomparable humorist, the ever observant and ironic David Sedaris.
Last year I profiled him in depth, and for those curious (or merely the lazy), that write up could be found here. And this year, he's back for more. Armed with prose sharp as a scalpel, he carves through the absurdities and contradictions of our lives with the precision of a surgeon. His humor is simultaneously apparent yet subtle, often while making a statement about the human condition.
David has written numerous essays and short stories, and his collections have indulged readers with his funny observations. Nearly all based on his true life experiences, and these stories often have the distinction of being inconsequential yet profound. Even more astounding than reading Sedaris' works is to hear it, because listening to the author read his own pieces is a whole new level of entertainment.
Picking a favorite for me to share was no easy task. I combed through clips by the boatloads, and while many were hilarious ,there are very few that are free of objectionable language. Nevertheless, I returned to one that has stuck with me: part cartoon, part fable, it is also imbibed with a pinch of melancholy to give it a bittersweet flavor. In short, I find it to be a recipe for true brillance. While nearly all of David's writing leaves me in tears, this one does the same after I have laughed. No matter how many times I hear this story, it always brings a tear to my eye.
Such is the beauty of the sardonic.
There's something in that mild-mannered delivery to focus on the heft of the words. David's dry voice guides us as he shows us the funny aspects, but never pushes us towards any preconceived conclusions. Nevertheless, whenever the fable's lesson presents itself, it is apt and readily apparent.
As his popularity continues to grow by leaps and bounds, Sedaris continues to cement his place as America's favorite humorist. After seeing him in person last year, he's certainly mine. This year, it's your turn. Whether it's by way of laughter or forlorn sincerity, David is sure to leave you in tears.
But try and look at the bright side. At least it's not due to those damn cedar allergies.
David Sedaris brings his distinctive voice to the stage of The Long Center as part of The Paramount Season Series on April 23rd at 8:00 pm.