David Sedaris Is Probably Still Signing Books Somewhere on the SMU Campus
Jenny the Elephant, as drawn by a certain humorist of note
Hoards of lit fans -- which is to say, people who still read actual books -- filled in the tapestried seats of McFarlin Auditorium last night and listened to humorist, essayist and This American Life favorite David Sedaris regale us with tales of pompous, affected accents; kookaburras and what it's like to live in France while the United States has a black president. Oh, and he also mentioned a certain elephant in the room -- or Dallas Zoo, to be more precise.
Sedaris mentioned that usually, personal requests -- like an appearance with a dying kid or his speaking out on behalf of a particular cause -- are usually turned down by his agent well before they ever make it to him. But then he got a letter from Lily Tomlin, so, yes, you can see where this is going. And though he said he'd "be more inclined to talk about a supermarket attendant everyone made fun of" before getting around to elephants living in captivity, Sedaris said, "I like Lily Tomlin. I really like Lily Tomlin." He explained a bit about Jenny the Elephant's situation -- though not too much, because, look, this clearly isn't his thing.
He said, "There's something called Citizens for Jenny ... so ... you ... call them. You can't beat Lily. I don't know if she's got a zebra in Cincinnati she's [taken an interest in]. Bea Arthur seems to care too, and they're both great."
Then he moved on to other topics, one being that during this recession we all should really try to get a deal on a room at the Adolphus because "the Adolphus is fantastic. I think. You won't find shit on your shower curtains there." (Don't worry -- that isn't Sedaris's sole guideline for good hotel rooms, just an observation hanging around from an earlier anecdote.)
He also answered questions from the audience, and during that Q&A he mentioned that "Repeat After Me" is probably his favorite of his own stories. (I must add that I totally feel the same way.) "It's the kind of story I wanted to write when I started writing," he said. "If I had to take all my books and reduce them to one story I think it would be that story."
Sedaris signed books until well past 1 a.m. (possibly 2, but I left once he signed my copy of When You Are Engulfed in Flames, complete with a drawing of Jenny). But not before he closed his chat with this sign-off: "And an elephant who has sore feet and can't move around and is crazy ... What're we gonna do?! Thank you"
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.
- Details Emerge in Johnny Manziel Domestic Violence Incident
Thu., Feb. 11, 7:00pm
Fri., Feb. 12, 8:00pm
Sat., Feb. 13, 2:00pm
Sat., Feb. 13, 7:00pm
- Mayor Rawlings Takes a Probably Unconstitutional Stand Against Porn Convention
- Dallas Police Chief David Brown Loses a Right-Hand Man