There are certain benefits to my job. Introducing David Sedaris to his steadfast fans would be one of them. Tonight we presented David to a sold out crowd – not at the Paramount where there are too few seats to contain his popularity – but at the larger Long Center for the Performing Arts. I told the crowd of 2,300 that David is not only Box Office Gold, he seems to be recession proof.
After the show David told me that he wished he was recession proof in other cities. It seems Austin has weathered the current economic storm pretty well. Think about it. We could just buy his books to read. We could even buy his books on tape and hear David reading them himself. But in Austin, 2,300 people are able to still afford the ultimate luxury – to have David personally read his books to us. It’s good to live in Austin.
But back to that great job of mine. I stayed with David after the show for his book signing. Now if you have never experienced a David Sedaris book signing event, you are really missing out. David is extremely generous with his time. He doesn’t just sign the books and move on. He spends significant time with each eager fan… never rushing… patient to the bitter end. And tonight that bitter end was 1:00 AM.
To some people, sitting around while David signs books for 4 hours might not sound exciting. But David doesn’t just sign books. He interviews his readers. He tells jokes and shares stories. It was like watching one of his books come to life.
He remembered one couple from last year and then discovered that they had come to his show each year for three years. He gave them his email address and told them, “Your days of paying for tickets to see my shows are over.”
Tonight he asked each patron what kind of animal they would like him to draw in their book(s). An owl. A horse. A dog. And to one, “This is a cat that ate a bird and then licked its butt.”
One young lady was asked by David, “Did you come alone tonight?” She replied that her boyfriend had gotten tired of waiting and went to Hooters across the street leaving her behind to wait in line to get his book signed. “What?” exclaimed David. “He went to Hooters? You have the wrong boyfriend. Did he hit you today too? What kind of animal should I draw in his book? Is there an animal that ditches their girlfriend?”
To the next woman in line he said, “The girl before you had a boyfriend who went to Hooters and left her to wait in line. Don’t you think she has the worst boyfriend?”
The young lady was taken back by the question, “I don’t know. I’ve never met her boyfriend. But Hooters has decent fried pickles.”
“Wow”, said David. “I was expecting something along the lines of that’s a terrible boyfriend. I never expected your answer would be that Hooters has decent friend pickles. I mean the very concept is an oxymoron. Decent fried pickles is like a good genocide. There is no such thing. What animal would you like me to draw?”
As he mentioned in his talk, he gave condoms to any teenagers in line. To the girls he would say, “Use this only for anal sex because I don’t want to be responsible for you losing your virginity. “ To the young men he would say, “Now if the girl gives you any trouble about anal sex. You tell her that David Sedaris said it was OK.” Most of the teens then asked him to autograph the condom… which he did. AS a side note, he mentioned that his agent had gotten an irate letter from a mother. “Surely they know I am joking.”
And so on into the night it went. “Hi. What’s your name? Where do you live? Is that a tatoo? Here’s a condom. What kind of animal would you like me to draw in your book?”
But what is amazing about David Sedaris is that at 1:00 AM – after a 90 minute show and 4 hours of book signing – David was still as funny and gracious with the last person in line as he had been with the first.
His new book comes out this October. Buy it at BookPeople. Read it. And then come back next year so David can read it to you before drawing a picture in it.