I'm David Sedaris, "America's Most Beloved Author." My latest book is "Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls" and I'm embarking on a 45 city tour tomorrow.

Fun fact: I only type with one finger, so Victoria, super-typist, is helping me today. "America's Most Beloved Typist."




Update: Well, are there like tons of horribly mean questions? I didn't expect it to be so gentle. I didn't expect people to be so kind. I was delighted, really. I've never done anything like this before. To my knowledge.

I think it helped, too, to have Victoria doing the typing. I'm so slow with my one finger, I would still be on the second question.

I'd better get back to my hotel now. And take a bath. Before meeting my friend. For dinner. I don't want to smell like an adult busboy.

Comments: 1716 • Responses: 76  • Date: 

Frajer593 karma

are you any closer to understanding the 6-8 black men story?

RealDavidSedaris626 karma

stares off in distance

Gosh...what can I say about that?

I've probably been to Amsterdam...12 times since I wrote that story, and I am no closer to understanding it!

yasistahsass548 karma

What's the meanest thing you've ever said to anyone including yourself?

RealDavidSedaris1634 karma

"I hope you die alone."

I said that to my father when I was 13. And I've thought about it ever since.

I don't think he remembers it, because as a parent of 6 kids, you're gonna hear a lot of things like that. But my fear is that my father will die alone.

And...I'll be forced, for the rest of my life, to think about that terrible thing that I said.

Does anyone know a woman who might want to marry my father and stay by his side night and day? He's 92.

i_steal_space_plans463 karma

I just have to know - did you ever find out who was wiping their ass on the bath towels?

RealDavidSedaris894 karma

I was signing books one night...

About 10 years ago. And someone came up to the table, and said "You know it was your grandmother."

And I thought "Oh my god, you're RIGHT. It WAS my grandmother. How did none of us ever put this together? It took a stranger to crack this case."

And that's what I said. "Oh my god, you're right. I can't believe that never occurred to any of us before."

i_steal_space_plans323 karma

Thanks for clearing that up! I can rest easy knowing that there's one less unsolved mystery in the world.

On an unrelated note, I saw you in Orono, Maine in 2011. You signed a postcard that said "Abortions $3" for my girlfriend with the inscription "A special price just for Kait." I seriously considered taking it back when we broke up, but I chose to be mature instead. I regret that choice.

RealDavidSedaris949 karma

I thought about having more of those made, but then it felt too much like... taking a step back. I'd like to have a NEW series of postcards made, maybe for my next tour.

Those were pretty good though. "Abortions, $3." That is an amazing price for an abortion.

At that price, you can't afford NOT to have an abortion!

Mededitor383 karma

David - does Amy really put marbles in the medicine cabinets before guests come over? Dying to know.

RealDavidSedaris474 karma

Let's see...

Because I live in Europe, I haven't been there for one of her dinner parties in a number of years. I can tell you, though, that she didn't do it last night.

lapsedatheist288 karma

Did your town in England really not know you were a famous author when they named the garbage truck after you?

RealDavidSedaris610 karma

No they didn't. I'm just the nut who picks up rubbish on the side of the road. Most people think that I'm mentally ill, or that I'm fulfilling my community service.

mRNA-286 karma

Hello, and thank you for doing this AMA!

As a successful writer, how do you overcome Writer's Block? Do you have a ritual that helps you through it?

What music (if any) do you enjoy listening when you write?

RealDavidSedaris887 karma

Sometimes when I'm stuck, I'll open an English textbook, and do the homework.

There are a lot of college writing textbooks that will include essays and short stories, and after reading the story or essay, there will be questions such as "Have YOU Had any experience with a pedophile in YOUR family?" or "When was the last time you saw YOUR mother drunk?" and they're just really good at prompting stories. You answer the question, and sometimes that can spring into a story.

You know, this is really good advice: I mean, I don't have advice to offer on many things, but THAT is good advice, and you're NOT gonna hear it from a lot of other places.

Sometimes, I listen to... jazz. It can't be... music with words in it. But lately, I'm on a... let's see, I'm on a Bobby Enriquez kick. It doesn't have anything to do with writer's block. Well, where we live in Sussex, sometimes there are gliders over our house, and gliders don't make any noise, but the planes that tow them into the sky do, but I like to cover up the sound of the planes.

It's like a flying lawnmower.

jontomato268 karma

I hired your brother to fix my wood floors this winter. I haven't mentioned I'm a big fan of your books. I have this fear I'm going to bring up something about your family in front of him that I shouldn't know. Should I be worried?

RealDavidSedaris335 karma

My brother is an incredibly good sport.

I wouldn't worry about anything.

mylefthandkilledme262 karma

Mr. Sedaris, What are you going to dress up as for Halloween?

RealDavidSedaris767 karma

I have a show on Halloween.

So I will probably wear these pants I recently bought in Tokyo that come up to my nipples. I got them at the Dover Street Market, and they're ridiculous.

I always wear a tie, when I'm onstage. So I'll just be dressed up, except I have pants that come up to my nipples, that's the only slight difference.

rariya261 karma

I saw you a few years ago in Detroit. You signed my book and asked to hear a joke so I told you a joke about the video game character Mario. You said you didn't know who Mario was. To this day I still can't figure out if you were totally fucking with me. So....were you?

RealDavidSedaris398 karma

I know who Super Mario is. But is that the same as Mario?

RealDavidSedaris405 karma

I've never played a video game.

CYCLE_NYC252 karma

What was the first lavish gift you bought your self with your first large check?

RealDavidSedaris523 karma

I bought myself, with the very first piece I ever sold to a magazine, which was Mademoiselle , an Il bisonte leather briefcase.

in tiny needling voice

It was in 1993...

jurydutyismyhobby227 karma

Thanks so much for doing this Mr. Sedaris. And congratulations on having a garbage truck named after you. I wanted to first apologize because I met you about a year ago in Clearwater, Florida. You signed my book before the show. My husband, in an attempt to channel your brother Rooster, approached you and immediately called you a motherfucker. I was appalled but afraid to say anything because I just didn’t know what to say. Later you commented that you that you were enamored with my breasts. I was so flustered at this point that I didn’t even tell you how much I enjoyed your recommendation of “Nothing to Envy” and that Mrs. Song was so wonderful to read about. Just two questions- when can we expect a new book, and why do gay men seem to comment pretty quickly in conversations with me about my tits because you were not the first to do so and I have always wondered why this happens.

RealDavidSedaris515 karma

A friend of mine told me - a female friend - that it is never appropriate to comment on a woman's breasts.

I would never do it on the street or at a supermarket, but when I'm sitting a table signing books, sometimes I notice that a woman will have remarkable breasts.

And I will maybe quietly say something about it.

It's not in a sexual way, because I'm a gay man - I would never say to a man "great ass" because that would be sort of creepy.. I hope it's not creepy to quietly tell a woman she has nice breasts...

Let's see. My next book, STACKEDD, let's see, will be out as soon as I'm finished staring at your breasts.

Philthy42221 karma

Have your parents always gone all out to decorate the house for Halloween like this?


RealDavidSedaris437 karma

That's my brother's house.

removes glasses

This is his art form.

Decorating his house and yard.

He does it for Christmas, and he does it for Halloween. And just like there are performance artists, and there are - well I guess he's an installation artist.

He's a holiday installation artist.

Joeskyyy203 karma

Mr. Sedaris,

First off thank you so much for doing this AMA! I've missed your shows each time you've come to my area, and this time I'll be missing your one in San Antonio YET AGAIN cause I'll be on vacation ): I've been a huge fan of yours since forever ago, I did Forensics in High School, and pretty much everyone does prose and poetry from you haha

So my question to you, Mr. Sedaris, what's the craziest thing you've ever considered writing about, but decided it wouldn't fit well in one of your books?

RealDavidSedaris590 karma

I have a tumor on my side, it's completely harmless, it's called a lipoma, I want to have it surgically removed, and I want to feed it to a snapping turtle.

This is something I want to write about.

But in America, it's against federal law to give you a tumor removed from your body. And snapping turtles only live in North America.

What am I to do?

spartancavie192 karma

I'm going to be bringing a girl with me to your show at Symphony Hall in Boston and it's sort of our first date. We've hung out a few times, but it's the first real date we're having. Do you have any advice?

RealDavidSedaris935 karma

Wait until AFTER the first story to put her hand on your dick.

orangejulius189 karma

Naked is one of my all time favorite books. It's really entertaining with really deep meaning overarching through the stories. What was your writing process for Naked?

What's the oddest interaction you've had with a fan?

RealDavidSedaris486 karma

Little, Brown worried I wouldn't have the book to them on time.

So they sent me to Yaddo, a writer's colony in Saratoga Springs, New York. I was drunk out of my mind when I wrote that book (beer and scotch).

Stoned too!


A woman in June, during my paperback tour, gave me an owl made of a pinecone and her daughter's teeth.

She said "I understand you're on a tour, and you can just throw this away if you have to" but it was made of her daughter's teeth, so I couldn't throw it away! So I brought it home and put it in my curio cabinet, which is exactly where it belonged.

RealDavidSedaris460 karma

She said "I wanted to use some of the molars, I thought they would make good talons, but she hasn't lost those yet."

hellohobbit186 karma

What's the best thing you ever ate?

RealDavidSedaris630 karma

Dinner at Santo Padre in Rome. I think it used to be a stable?

I was in Rome, and somebody sent me an email and said "You should go to that restaurant." So we did, and it was phenomenal.

Not super-fancy, but bite-for-bite, the best food I've ever had in my life.

That's...Santo Padre!

It's worth going to Rome to eat at Santo Padre. The waitress speaks 17 words of English. You do the rest. You just say "prego" and point at other people's plates. What I liked about it was the waitress would say "You want pasta course? You want fish course?" and you just keep saying Yes and she chose what it was. That was what was great about it. I don't like having to make decisions in restaurants. I would just be happy if they said "This is what we have today, you either eat it, or you don't." Like on a plane, you get 3 options. 3 is the most, that's as many options as I want for food.

And really any more than 3 is a waste of everyone's time.

mcbogart174 karma

Is your sister Amy always hyper-comedic as seen on TV?

RealDavidSedaris367 karma

The Amy on television is much more manic and wiry than she is in real life. In real life, Amy is funny (of course), but she's also a really good listener, and she's really obviously concerned with whomever it is that she's talking to. Television doesn't allow for that, talk shows don't allow for that.

weatheredruins167 karma

What's your favorite excuse for not returning someone's call?

RealDavidSedaris327 karma

That is a good question.

"You called?"

RealDavidSedaris244 karma

I just say "there's something wrong with our machine," and I never got the call.

HisAndHearse165 karma

Your show in Napa is sold out. Can I trade you a mortuary school restoration dummy head for two tickets?

RealDavidSedaris233 karma

It is a tempting offer.

But it was SO sold out that I was only given 5 comps.

And I already used them all. DUMMY HEADS! I could use a second, and a third!

average_smaverage153 karma

I sometimes say things in my head in your voice. Can you give me a catchphrase to keep with me at all times?

RealDavidSedaris474 karma

"Must walk...into...speeding... traffic..."

SpokenWorder141 karma

What's one thing you wished you knew about writing when you first started out?

RealDavidSedaris456 karma

I wish I'd understood that people were actually going to read what I wrote.

For some reason, that came as the biggest surprise to me!

I got that they would buy the books, I would see them at the cash register, handing over their money. That I understood. But i never occurred to me that they would actually read them.

That's terrifying.

Well, I think especially when you get older as a writer and you look back at things that you wrote 30 years ago, it's so embarrassing for you, and the thought that somebody in Lincoln, Nebraska, is reading that right now... makes me want to cry BLOOD.

beansiej137 karma

What is the oddest/most interesting home decoration that you have acquired recently?

RealDavidSedaris478 karma

looks puzzled and focuses

I have an artist friend named Janet Carkeek who I've known for 30 years. She used to take plywood, sheets of plywood, and subtly manipulate them. Now, she just takes a piece of plywood, and studies it. Until she realizes what it is that she's looking at in the grain. So she'll stare at a piece of plywood for days and then announce "It's a raccoon."


"It's an owl."

She recently gave me a magnificent sheet of plywood.

It's an owl.

Kismekate125 karma

Hi, David! I grew up listening to NPR. You were always a pleasure to listen to! What is your favorite experience you have had with them to date?

RealDavidSedaris214 karma

Usually when you record for NPR, you're just...in a room by yourself, and the only person who's listening is the engineer and often, the engineer is answering emails, or texting his girlfriend about what to have for dinner.

The exception are the engineers at NPR's bureau in New York, they're the best. And I always look forward to seeing them.

INamedMyDogSedaris124 karma

What's Rooster's favorite grub of choice?

RealDavidSedaris270 karma

Well, actually, we used to call him The Rooster. Now we call him "The Juicester." EVERYTHING.


EVERYTHING goes into his blender. And comes out the texture of applesauce. And brown. He eats like a baby.

He...he lives on murky bottom of the internet. And he believes everything that he reads.

jonemillard122 karma

What's the best book you've recently read?

RealDavidSedaris196 karma

Let's see, it was something I read this summer... best book I've recently read... Ah! I have it on my iPad. I have the book on my iPod. Oh, you know what I liked? I liked "We Are Not Ourselves" by Matthew Thomas. That's the best book I've read recently.

RealDavidSedaris157 karma

Actually, it was an audiobook, and one of the things that I liked about it was how long it is. I think it took me... 38 hours to listen to.

randa11g120 karma

Hi David, huge fan and so glad to see you here! When I travel, your story about your flight with the well-groomed but foul mouthed older couple always comes to mind and makes me laugh. Question: What's the oddest thing you've seen in an airport recently?

RealDavidSedaris439 karma


The thing that's interesting about airports - gosh. The strangest thing I've seen in an airport. OH. I was at Heathrow, and I saw a blind fellow who had no holes for his eyes, it was all just skin there.

Well, that's the nice thing, you could stare and you didn't have to worry you could get caught! It was such a good look. It's just a good look. I think if I were blind, I would say "Just cover 'em over. Just pave 'em with flesh." Because it's a really good look.

MikoMido107 karma

Hi David! I'm a big fan and I'm really grateful for the audio versions of your books. Your stories are always so much better when I get to listen to you tell them!

What is a story you would really like to write but just never get around to working on?

RealDavidSedaris158 karma

I have a file of stories that I'll write in the future.

But generally, I hesitate to talk about them because if I can tell them with my tongue, I often think "well, why bother writing them?"

Or with my hands, to a deaf person.

shadamedafas92 karma

I set up my girlfriend's reddit account and forgot to write down her password. She's perpetually logged in on her laptop, but can't post at work, so I'm asking this question on her behalf:

"What's your spirit animal?"

RealDavidSedaris229 karma

A sand flea.

pineapple_blurt88 karma

What is the most inappropriate thing you've ever laughed at? Bonus points if it was in a situation where no one else thought it was funny. I find myself laughing at inappropriate things often...in public. Then the staring by innocent bystanders begins.

RealDavidSedaris277 karma


I was in Paris on New Year's Eve.

And a young woman was walking down the street with her friends, and she had a bottle of champagne in one hand, and a glass in the other. And she was turning to say something to her friend, and she ran right into a light pole. And fell down several steps.

Into the street.

I'm still laughing about that.


jumpup8187 karma

Hello! It’s great to see you here.

A question: one of my life’s dreams and plans is to move to Normandy. In my head, it’s perfect. In reality, I’m sure it’s not. What’s something (or what are a few things) I should know about living in Normandy before I go?   Thanks!

PS – My husband and I often spend sunny afternoons sitting on our back deck with lots of  alcohol at reach, reading your pieces aloud. Thanks for being such a great part of our marriage and our lives!

PPS – Your work goes very well with Belgian beer.

RealDavidSedaris112 karma

The sun disappears in September. It basically doesn't come out again until May. If that's a problem for you, you might think twice about Normandy.

iswrongaboutyou84 karma

I've read everything by you and your fellow David, Mr. Rakoff. I know you've mentioned being friends with him and I couldn't imagine a more entertaining pair. Do you have any interesting stories with him?

RealDavidSedaris164 karma

The best moments of my New York life were all shared with David Rakoff. He was in all of our plays, I can't imagine doing a play without him! It wasn't just his acting, but his input in the script, he has everything to do with those plays being a success.

He was the funniest man I ever knew.

That position is open, now. I really can't imagine anyone else being able to out-do him, but there's an opening. That position is open, to find the next funniest man.

shlusk83 karma

Thank you so much for doing this! Both my mom and I are huge fans of yours (she is the one who got me hooked on you). I need a question don't I... When reading anything by you, I tend to laugh aloud quite often, including when I'm in public places. Sometimes at inappropriate times. What was the last thing you read that caused you to honestly laugh out loud?

RealDavidSedaris189 karma

I did it not long ago.

Hmm. What was it i was reading?


looks at iPad

Uh, let's see, where would it be...

John Waters, an essay of his from ROLE MODELS, the book that he wrote. That guy is so funny. I remember his very first book that came out, maybe 30 years ago? He wrote that he would like to be a woman, just so he could have an abortion.

digital76 karma

Hello David!

If any of your writings could be made into a movie, what would it be and who would star in it?

RealDavidSedaris260 karma

A young man named Kyle Alvarez recently made a movie from an essay I wrote called "C.O.G."

And I was played by Jonathan Groff. We don't look alike. I wish I looked like him.

There aren't actors who look like me.

Everyone who looks like me is an adult busboy. Not an actor.


I think "adult busboy" is the end of that.

Elsie98076 karma

Hi David! You are my favorite!

I saw you read an excerpt from 50 Shades of Grey recently and, frankly, it made that book an awful lot better. Any chance an audio book with you narrating is in the works? If so, I will give the series another go.

RealDavidSedaris211 karma

I did this TV show in the Netherlands a few years ago, and the host surprised me, he just handed me the book and said "Here, read this."

And i have to say: I think the book was written to be read out loud. With no preparation.

By anyone.

It'd be a nice thing to do at a dinner party!

Just hand someone the book and say "Page 217! Go!"

gagcan74 karma

Will you be visiting Toronto in the next year? Canada LOVES you! What's the weirdest experience you've had in Canada?

RealDavidSedaris382 karma

I had my hair cut at a barbershop in Toronto.

And it was one of those experiences that all men have had...where you get into the chair, and the barber says "Where do you live?"

And you say "England."

And he says "What's the pussy like in England?"

And...you're sitting there, and he's got scissors in his hand, and your arms are covered, and you want to say "I'm a gay man, I have NO idea what the pussy is like in England."

But your arms are under a cloth!

So you say: "It's a lot like Canadian pussy."

I'm going to several Canadian cities in February 2015.

nevanking70 karma

How many steps have you taken today? What is your max now?

RealDavidSedaris199 karma

My maximum is still 67,400.

One of my oldest friends, Dawn, just outdid me.

She walked 77,000 steps in one day. And one of her toenails turned BLACK and fell off.

RealDavidSedaris115 karma

Because one of my toenails fell off this summer, and I think it was from that!

cia112064 karma

Hi Mr. Sedaris! Thanks for choosing to do an AMA.

I've read a lot of your books. I started out getting them from the library, and after two, realized that I needed to own every single one of them. So far, "Holidays on Ice" is my favorite. Out of your catalogue of published work, which do you feel is the most personal, maybe one that you consider a favorite?

RealDavidSedaris137 karma

I'm partial to "Dress your Family in Corduroy and Denim." Because I worked on many of those stories with a fellow named Jeffrey Frank, who used to be at The New Yorker, but left to write his own books. I loved working with him.

vivian_ivy64 karma

My mother and I met you in Ann Arbor last year. Why did you draw a knife in her copy of "Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk"? We were interrupted and never got the explanation.

RealDavidSedaris126 karma

I've just been on a weapons kick lately?

Knives are easy to draw.

Was it dripping blood?

chockfulloffeels58 karma

What was or is your favorite drug you have done?

RealDavidSedaris176 karma

I love a mushroom.

white_trashcan57 karma

Pancakes or waffles?

RealDavidSedaris289 karma

Waffles! No, pancakes! Waffles!

Like when you waffle on a decision...

I wonder if they'll get that.

EpilepticDogs55 karma

I have been looking forward to this AMA, but now I'm at a loss for decent questions!

I just want you to know that I tried to persuade my husband to read your books because I am enamored with you. He finished When You Are Engulfed in Flames and told me that you reminded him of me and that he wasn't interested in reading anymore. I have never been so simultaneously insulted and complimented in my life.

1) Any advice for someone attempting a small business selling handcrafted goods (other than quit!)?

2) What is your favorite dish to cook?

RealDavidSedaris122 karma

1) Somebody selling handcrafted goods? Business advice?

Put marijuana INSIDE the handcrafted goods, and more people will probably want them.

2) Hugh is the cook in our house. If he's out of town, I'll make my own dinner, but it's nothing special. I would be embarrassed to have a guest eat my cooking.

BigFarney55 karma

First of all, my high school writing teacher has introduced all his students to your work, which is always a joy to read. But I'm pretty curious, did you write a college application essay? As someone in that process, any recommendations for writing a story that portrays oneself as an upstanding member of society but not entirely uninteresting?

RealDavidSedaris238 karma

I went to 3 different colleges.

I applied to the first when I was 18. I applied to the second when I was 19. And I remember the last line of my essay was: "If you do not let me in, I will kill myself."

Obviously, this is before i had started writing. I don't know that it had anything to do with me getting into Kent State, I think they just accepted me because i was an out of state tuition.

It's not a good line to use in a college application.

I think what's hard in letters like that...I think it's really hard to sound like yourself, when you're under pressure, you try to sound like somebody who's smarter than you are, or more experienced you are. It's like the language you go into when you have to write blurbs for books, or letters of recommendation for Guggenheim Grants.

You just launch into this - you start writing and you think "Who is this person?" You're afraid to be too casual, because you don't want it to seem like you don't care.

So you wind up just boring them to death.

I would start by writing to an adult, maybe a high school teacher, or maybe an aunt or uncle, and writing and telling them why you want to go to a particular university. That's probably what you would actually sound like.

Then write your letter to the university, and put those 2 versions in front of you, and look at the difference between those 2 things.

double-dog-doctor53 karma

What are you distributing to people who go to your book signings? Did you ever find an item that can compete with individually packaged pain relief tablets?

I would personally like to suggest clear plastic rain ponchos.

RealDavidSedaris138 karma

Coincidentally, I do have a clear plastic rain poncho in my bag to give away.

One thing I like to give away are these little cards that say "stop talking." They are the size of business cards, and they are beautifully engraved.

And I usually get them at the Museum of Contemporary Art gift shop.

I think they're the perfect thing to hand out to them. Sometimes people get nervous, and they think I mean for them to stop talking, but I don't mean that at all. I just think it's a really good little gift, and it's something THEY could hand to someone who's talking too much.

circusgeek53 karma

Hi David, When I was 7 years old I also was taught by my speech therapist to put my tongue behind my teeth to pronounce my S sounds and I thought I sounded like an idiot.
Are you still wearing your fitbit? I am the only one left in my group of friends that still wears one.

RealDavidSedaris123 karma


RealDavidSedaris138 karma

I can't imagine not wearing my Fitbit.

My life would have no meaning without my Fitbit.

hellohobbit52 karma

Huh? Why do you only type with one finger?

RealDavidSedaris141 karma

I taught myself to type. And I always thought I would start with one finger, and then advance to the other 9, but I never did.

AND I've been typing for... let's see...uh, 77,87,97,107, okay, 38 years, and I still have to look at the keyboard.

DingleburryDave51 karma

Hey David, thanks again for doing this, ever since I saw your name pop up on the Upcoming AMA list, I set an alarm ten days out to remind em to get on Reddit during your AMA. Is there anything in specific you do to break out of a writing slump? Do you jog a mile? Do you make a PB&J sandwich? Are you smashing the weight room?

RealDavidSedaris102 karma

I clean.

If I'm stuck, I get up from my chair and I wash windows. Or... clean the bathroom. Or vacuum the attic. There's always something to be done.

ms_gooneybird48 karma

If you had a pet owl (regardless of if he was diabetic or not), what would you name it?

RealDavidSedaris107 karma


ummmmokkkkk46 karma

I love you. What would you be doing if you were not a writer?

RealDavidSedaris150 karma

I would...pick up rubbish on the side of the road. For 12 hours a day. Instead of just 7 hours a day.

Intravenous_de_Milo46 karma

What are some of your favorite places to go in Chicago?

RealDavidSedaris167 karma

In Chicago?

I love the Museum of Contemporary Art Gift Shop.

It's the best museum gift shop in the United States. The best museum gift shop in Europe is at the Bauhaus Museum in Berlin.

Skip the museum! The gift shop's amazing. You can get all your shopping done in one place. The Bauhaus Gift Shop - one of the things I got there last year, because I was there around Christmas, was a nativity scene made out of blocks of wood with "Jesus" and "Shepherd" and "King" and "Wise Men" written on these blocks of wood in German, and you just arrange them around the little crib, that the little block of wood that says "Jesus" is in.

Isn't that great?

I used to stay with a friend in Chicago who lived on the North Side. But then she had to move into a smaller apartment, so now I'm always staying on Michigan Avenue. And the best of Chicago takes place in the neighborhoods, and I never get out there anymore.

explodingbarrels44 karma

Hi David! I am a big fan.

I have always wondered: When you write in the notebook that you carry with you, do you know in advance how'll you'll make it funny? Or is it just a jotted note to remember the basics?

Basically what in asking is: if someday, heaven forbid, you're knocked unconscious and I'm the first one to find you, how much work will it be to turn your notebook into a successful career?

RealDavidSedaris132 karma

It would be tough.

Like I'm trying to look here at some of the notes that I've got, and it's hard for me to even read them...

flips pages of small notebook

Let's see what have i got here: "Illegal metal sharks... white skin classy...driver's name is free Time... rats eat coconuts...beautiful place city, not beautiful..."

These were notes I wrote in the Mekong delta a few weeks ago. A Vietnamese woman was giving me a little tour, and this is what I jotted down in my notebook.

"White skin classy" for example - I was asking about all the women whom I saw on motor scooters wearing opera gloves, and masks that covered everything but their eyes. And the driver told me they were trying to keep their skin white, because it's just classier. Tan skin means you're a farmer. So that's something I remembered from our conversation, so when I transcribe my notebook into my diary, I added all of that.

But if someone just found my notebook, they probably wouldn't be able to make any sense out of it. Or they might think I was a racist, who writes "White skin classy."

Xkcdvd43 karma

Will you please, for your audience, describe Victoria in exactly eight words?

RealDavidSedaris111 karma


Trilingual. Classy In Vietnam. Types like the wind.

beansiej37 karma

What's the weirdest gift you've ever received from a fan?

RealDavidSedaris146 karma

That would be the owl made from a pinecone and children's teeth.

paulisnofun36 karma

How many push ups can you do?

RealDavidSedaris67 karma

I can do... 150... but they're sloppy.

boltfromtheblue9836 karma

What's your favorite story you have about meeting someone famous? Thank you for doing this AMA by the way

RealDavidSedaris98 karma

Normally, those aren't the kind of things you can talk about.

I think famous people like to choose friends who won't go around repeating their conversations and details about them. That said, I enjoyed a nice friendship with Phyllis Diller. She called, I was going to Los Angeles to do a show, and she called and asked if we could get together, and we had lunch and just really hit it off, so for the next several years every time I went to los Angeles I would go to her house and we would hang out.

richardwrinkle32 karma

If you could sit and have a few pints with any living person, who would it be?

RealDavidSedaris107 karma

quizzical look

The Bill who founded Alcoholics Anonymous. I haven't had a drink in 17 years.

blue_murder31 karma

Is The Rooster married?

RealDavidSedaris72 karma

My brother is married to a wonderful woman, named Kathy. Who is one of the coolest people I've ever met. I introduced her to some french friends this summer and they all said "Elle est fraichement cool."

charliem7630 karma

Has anyone ever told you that your renditions of Billie Holliday could pass for renditions of Adele?

Well consider yourself told.

RealDavidSedaris46 karma

I don't hear those two women sounding alike? But... thank you?

fistandtheflask30 karma

Motivational words seems to come from people who have already "made it", so to speak. Would you still be putting yourself out there if you had never gotten any validation?

RealDavidSedaris107 karma

I know I would still be writing.

And I would still be reading out loud. I think that if you are any kind of an artist, then validation is just sort of... it can be a result, but you're going to do the work anyway. Because you're just wired that way. It's so engrained, it's such a part of your personality that you don't just stop doing it. Eventually I'll retire on some level, eventually no one will want to buy my books or a ticket to see me read, it's inevitable that's going to happen.


fake cries

But it won't stop me from writing.

I'll just write about how sad I am all the time.

elphabaisfae27 karma

What's your favorite kind of pen and notebook to use if you aren't using a typewriter?

(I have 3 typewriters myself and my first play was written on one of them. Not a fan of writing on a computer.)

RealDavidSedaris48 karma

I used a Carand'Ache pen, and a Europa Minor notepad. Because I like that it has this little strap on the outside.

emmababemma325 karma

What was the last movie you saw in theaters? Was it any good?

RealDavidSedaris55 karma

There's a theater that I used to go to in Paris that was in Les Hailles, the UGC... shoot... Orient Express. That only played bad movies.

And I spent many an afternoon there watching bad movies and thinking "Oh my god, this is even worse than I thought it would be."

That doesn't answer a good movie theater in a question, does it?

Good movies... Elaine Stritch: Just Shoot Me.

strangest_stranger22 karma

I have/had a signed copy of your new book, and lent it to a friend. That was a year ago. What is the proper etiquette for getting it back?

RealDavidSedaris58 karma


Stabbing your friend.

In the throat. With a steak knife. When she's not looking.

nicollem20 karma

Is there a city that you have vowed not to return to on another book tour?

RealDavidSedaris54 karma



Where is it? cough

It's driving distance from Vancouver, there's this city in Washington that has a state university... I was in Washington and I was driven to the United States, over a bridge... it was Bellingham. I went to a university in Bellingham, in Washington. And the audience was great. But i had a real problem with the woman who ran the visiting lecture series. The day she retires, I'd love to go back.

kpnbarca20 karma

Have you ever considered doing any boudoir modeling?

RealDavidSedaris59 karma

puzzled face

Uh... Colt is doing an issue on adult busboys.

So who knows?

jdunnihoo20 karma

I met you at your show in Shreveport, LA. You said you thought your father would like me. Was that a compliment? Yes, I'm single.

RealDavidSedaris32 karma

It was a compliment.

And my father is single too!

And he's only 92!

youremyjuliet20 karma

What is so "off" about your preferred choice of butter? This has been driving me crazy.

RealDavidSedaris63 karma

I believe you're referring to a THIS AMERICAN LIFE episode where Ira and I went to the supermarket to buy butter, and then he criticized my choice. This is the way it goes.

I'll say to Hugh that i'm going to the supermarket, do you need anything?

He'll say "a can of tomatoes."

I'll buy a can of tomatoes.

I return home.

And he says "I didn't mean THESE tomatoes."

That's just the way he is, there's nothing to understand. Any choice I make is wrong. Except, of course, the choice to make him my boyfriend.

shaneration19 karma

Do you feel like you are bold and dry, as you were described by Parks & Rec? If not, how would you describe yourself as a wine?

RealDavidSedaris63 karma

quizzical face


I'd say acidic and overpriced.

SwissJAmes18 karma

What would be an appropriate punishment for people who drop litter?

RealDavidSedaris64 karma

I've given a lot of thought to this.

And I think they should lose an arm.

hrnbrgr13 karma

David, Did you or your family members ever have any more interaction with the woman who was the model for Dinah?

RealDavidSedaris22 karma

She died probably...5 or 6 years after she came to our house. In real life her name was "Donna" and she had a remarkably hard life.