Tired, dull-edged, superannuated Laurie Brown, her Znaimerist days long behind her, guest-interviewing Christian Lander on Q (“cue the podcast”), 2008.07.08 (MP3; at iTunes):
— Now, one last thing about white people. Why do people like listening to writer David Sedaris talk on public radio?
— Not only on public radio, but also in person.
— Like, people pay $100 to hear him read from his own book. Well, I mean, there’s the basic and honest level of he’s hilarious – he’s so funny and he’s so good at what he does. But I – I can’t fully explain why he’s so beloved that people will pay so much money to hear him read from a book that they’ve already read.
— Well, you know what, he’s going to be on the show later this week.
— Oh, really?
— So we will try and talk – “here he is, you know, David Sedaris on public radio.” All the things that white people like.
A chummy and really very understanding Laurie Brown interviewed David Sedaris two days later (MP3; at iTunes). (“Readers flock to his public appearances”!) Here is the complete list of her post-intro questions and interlocutions:
- Hello, David Sedaris.
- What? Yeah, “partner” has dif— way different connotations. Like, what are the connotations you don’t like about “partner”?
- How about – this is one I like – I use “pelvic affiliate.”
- [Laughs] You don’t know whether this is business or pleasure that I’m talking about.
- Now, this new book is called When You Are Engulfed in Flames. Where does that title come from?
- Mm. There are many thoughts about death; it permeates some of the writing in this collaboration. Are you, just like all the rest of us, afraid to die, or are you curious about it?
- Well, that’s getting closer.
- Mm. Well, when I first started reading you, a lot of the writing was focussed on pop culture and what was going on, and skewering that. But now, when I read this book, it’s about – you feel more tender to me, more, um, more vulnerable? more open, and maybe just more writing about big things in life.
- Mm. So there is a limit. How would you define that limit, that line that you don’t cross?
- Yeah. It’s completely unpredictable, eh – people’s reactions to what you write? You just can’t – you just can’t figure that out.
- [Laughs heartily]
- You find yourself – I mean, even outside of the family situation, you find yourself in very peculiar situations, and I wonder if those situations are attracted to you or whether you put yourself in those places where those situations happen.
- Does this kind of observational humour and the writing that you’re doing – does it start to feel like a box or a straitjacket, because now that’s what you’re known for? And when you go through a day and you don’t open that notebook or you say “I didn’t feel – or see anything funny today,” does it get you a little uptight?
- [Both laugh]
- You have a house in Normandy, and as we heard, you decided to go to Japan to quit smoking. Do you find that – is travel something that you do to help the writing, to put you in a very different spot, to see things and see different things?
- Can you get a laugh in Portuguese?
- Yeah, the hand motions were pretty lame there, David. [Both laugh]
- “I am so cool because I’m not staring at the white person.”
- You’re on a book tour now, and, uh, is the person that you are standing up at the front of a room reading the book – is that a different person than who you are when you’re watching centipedes kill bu— worms and things like that? Is that a differ— do you put on something when you’re out in these public performances?
- Ha ha ha!
- Well –
- And I know that you are. And I know that people across the country are lining up to go and see you. So, thank you so much for coming in today.
- That was – that was a load of fun. And it was – we were talking beforehand – you wanted to know if there was such a thing as Dickipedia? There is. It’s
- You can write that into your notebook. Thank you so much, David Sedaris. He’s the author of When You Are Engulfed in Flames, published in Canada by H.B. Fenn. He’s making a tour of our great nation. He’s at the Bay St. Indigo in Toronto tonight, in Ottawa Saturday, and finishing out Sunday in Montreal at Place Montreal Trust.