David Sedaris/Augusten Burroughs-esque writers?

I’m a David Sedaris fan, and have just discovered Augusten Burroughs as well.

Can anyone recommend any other dark, bitter, dry, funny memoirists/essaysists? They don’t have to be gay men!

Uhh, all I can say is: Good luck finding another David Sedaris. His story about the parrot from Live at Carnegie Hall was simply flawless.

Well, I can say something else. I really, really like Scott Carrier, but he has a feel that’s completely different from Sedaris’.

David Rakoff is pretty good, though I don’t remember if he talks about his personal life or not. I probably put him with David Sedaris and Augusten in my because he’s gay and sarcastic though.

I just finished Magical Thinking and it was the best. Augusten understands me. He makes me laugh because he’s really not handsome, but he convinced me that he is with his powers and now I think he is. It’s pathetic.

I don’t know if there really is anybody like my Augusten. If I think of any I will come back.

Florence King - She ain’t hip, but she’s a rip.
(Probably starting with her most famous tome; Southern Ladies & Gentlemen)

Though she’s not political - she did used to write ‘The Misanthrope’s Corner’ essays for National Review.

These 2 paragraphs excerpted from an essay on Catalog Shopping will give you an idea…

I laughed harder at Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady than I had in years, although surely it helps to know exactly of what she speaks. The Ovariad, anyone? Hee hee!

Second Florence King. BTW, if you’re interested (or if you’re not, for that matter) this thread has some links you might find interesting to the “real” Dr. Finch’s homepage (set up by his children) as well as Burroughs’s estranged mother and his brother.

BTW Eve, if you don’t mind my saying so, it’s your memoirs that you should write. I really would feel safe in quite pledging my bank accounts, my electronics, my dog, my kidneys, my retirement and one of my gonads in a bet at 1:3 odds that nobody has had anything remotely resembling your life; you’re far more interesting than Sedaris (whose writing I love) and you’re incomparably funnier than Burroughs, plus you’re probably the only person born since WW2 whose life story would feature Theda Bara, Kay Kendall, Quentin Crisp and Florence Lawrence in major supporting roles. (Hell, the possibilities of a musical based on your life have me positively lactating- I’m imagining your childhood (what I know of it from SMDB) done in a strobe-lit silent movie montage.)
If it’s any incentive, in addition to his royalties Sedaris is paid anywhere from $10K to $50K for a single appearance (I wanted to book him for the college where I work and this is what I was told by his management agency). I saw him recently in Athens, GA where he played to a packed house of 1,500 seats, all of whom had paid $25 and up to see him (you do the math for an estimate of his take on that). Go for the gold, gal.

You ask for “dark, bitter, dry, funny memoirists/essaysists” - I think Joe Queenan fits the bill. (Books include Balsamic Dreams, True Believers and Red Lobster, White Trash and the Blue Lagoon).
Also, Bill Bryson can be funny in a very dry way. I laughed out loud many times in his book about the Appalachian Trail and the book about Australia.
I could probably think of more if I weren’t so tired. This kind of humor appeals to me so I’ll be watching the thread looking for ideas.
Sedaris is unbeatable, though Burroughs first book really was hilarious (or would have been if it weren’t true).

And another rec: JT Leroy’s The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things (soon to be a minor motion picture). If reading about sexualized children bothers you then avoid this like the plague, but with that caveat it’s a mesmerizing read. (There is some speculation that Leroy is a fictional character [he’s never been photographed and doesn’t make appearances] but most accept his existence.)

I’ve really enjoyed the radio pieces by Kevin Kling. Also Bill Harley has some nice pieces, but he’s much more gentle and upbeat than Sedaris.

What is the deal with David Sedaris? I’ve heard several intelligent people with great taste speak highly of him (Eve included), but I don’t read a lot of current authors so I have no idea what he’s written, what his style is like, or if I would like his stuff. Can anyone give me a quick Sedaris pitch, or point me to a good resource?


Enter the following search

into Google and it will take you to several of his online essays.

I looooove Sedaris. Thanks, Eve, for starting this thread. I’m bookmarking this one to try some of the other authors mentioned.

I was going to recommend Joe Queenan and Bill Bryson also, but someone has already mentioned them. I’ve been to several of Queenan’s book signings, and he’s funny in person too. His talk about the book he’s just written is almost a comedy act in itself. Bryson has mellowed out a bit lately.

Don’t know if Dave Eggers has done anything recently, but I did see him on TV a few weeks ago and he was fabulous.

LOVE Augusten Burroughs. And Mr. Sedaris, well he is just fantastic as well.

Looking back at this post, I really haven’t added any insight or information. Sorry.

Well, going multimedia:

I’d recommend Spalding Gray. Rent Swimming to Cambodia.

And the NPR show where David Sedaris rose up, This American Life - the website has archives of their shows going back to 1997, with lots of dark, funny, essays/memoirs. I spent a month totally obsessed with it, listened to almost every show on the site.

I’d recommend Fannie Flagg’s first book. The original title was “Coming Attractions”, but on it’s re-issue, was retitled “Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man.” It’s at times screamingly funny, to the point where my tear-filled eyes could not read any further. Many sections are quite poignant, with a gentler humor. Her books since then have changed. Some just are amusing, others are a bit more somber. Hey Fannie, bring back Jimmy and Mrs. Dot and Angel and Peachy Wigham, please.

It translates well to print, so you can read him too. I saw the movie and read all the book versions of his monologues.