Born into a middle class family and raised in a suburb Raleigh, North Carolina, David Sedaris was one of six children. Comedy, or even writing for that matter, was not his first choice. Instead, he was initially interested in becoming an artist, and tried his hand at performance-oriented and visual art. After graduating from college, Sedaris worked a number of small jobs in many cities, namely Chicago, New York and his native Raleigh.
During this time, he had taken to performing in small clubs by reading short passages from his personal diaries. One of these performances was seen by well-known radio host Ira Glass, who offered Sedaris a chance to make an appearance in his show, The Wild Room
. The appearance was a success and was well-received by critics, who praised his "nicely nerdy, quavering voice" as well as his sharp, dry humor. This led to one more appearance on radio, namely on National Public Radio (NPR), where he made his debut in December 1992.
The performance, broadcasted live two days before Christmas, consisted of Sedaris reading his essay "SantaLand Diaries," which detailed his experiences while working as an elf in a Macy's department store at New York. The reading was a huge success and made Sedaris a veritable phenomenon among a large number of people. Furthermore, critics lauded his writing and humor, along with his delivery style which was described as deadpan and self-deprecating.
Thereon, Sedaris' fortune started to change and his surprise success at NPR helped gain a monthly segment at the radio station during which Sedaris would read material based on entries from his diaries. Reviews of his work were increasingly positive, with critics like Margot Mifflin of Entertainment Weekly
referring to Sedaris as "a crackpot in the best sense of the word." Jeff Giles of Newsweek
magazine praised Sedaris' unique approach to humor, calling it refreshingly honest and blunt. John Marchese of the New York Times
said "Mr. Sedaris has shown remarkable skill as a mimic and the ability to mix the sweet and the bitter: to be naive and vulnerable and at the same time, jaded and wickedly funny."
Following the overwhelmingly positive response to his work in radio, Sedaris pursued a career in writing and in 1994 published his first book. The book was called Barrel Fever
and was divided into two separate sections: one containing essays and the other consisting of short stories. Sedaris also contributed several pieces to The New Yorker
magazines and was quickly gaining recognition as a formidable humorist. His true claim to fame as a writer, however, came after the release of his third book in 2000, which was called Me Talk Pretty One Day
. Another two-part collection of essays, the book became a best-seller and propelled Sedaris into the mainstream almost overnight. It was also considered for a film adaptation, but part-way through production, Sedaris had a change of mind and the project fell through.
Sedaris' next book, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
, was released in 2004 and was his biggest success yet. The book contained twenty-two autobiographical essays about Sedaris' family, his upbringing and his life in New York and France. It reached the coveted number one spot on the New York Times
' Non-fiction Best Seller list. Sedaris also recorded an audiobook version of Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
, for which he was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album.
David Sedaris is now a bona-fide wordsmith and humorist and has been affectionately dubbed "the rock star of writers" by his many admirers. He continues to write, both fiction and non-fiction and in recent years has also dabbled in writing plays. He also tours the country extensively, performing shows that feature his unique brand of comedy in spades. And now, David Sedaris tickets
are widely available for his upcoming tour.
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