Who Is This David Sedaris Guy?

A quick search revealed that David Sedaris is somewhat popular around here (Café Society, that is). I just finished Me Talk Pretty One Day and I’m a few pages into Naked (yes, I know: out of chronological order).

Me Talk Pretty One Day seems to imply that Mr. Sedaris was scrubbing floors in a commercial cleaning outfit as recently as 2000. However, it seems as though he’s been publishing books since the mid '90’s or earlier.

So either he wasn’t making any money with his books and kept cleaning floors to make ends meeet, or my math is wrong, or his bits about commercial cleaning are fiction.

Can someone give me something of a timeline of David Sedaris’ career? Also, who is he, really? Is he just some guy who worked shmoe jobs, then somebody noticed his genius for writing, and he started writing books?

Please help a Sedaris newbie.


Make that 2 Sedaris newbies, please. I finished Me Talk Pretty One Day recently and I’ve listened to his This American Life pieces over the years; but I know nothing about him or his career.

Except for the Elf phase, of course. :wink:

I can tell you that his sister, Amy, was the star of the (underrated, IMO) Strangers with Candy on comedy central. She also wrote a book with Steven Colbert (Daily Show)

David is also (or used to be) a contributer for NPR.

Hilarious, isn’t he?

Originally from New York, most of the stories about his family take place in Raleigh, NC (IIRC).

A site I checked made it sound like he got his start as a writer who did cleaning as a way to make ends meet, was first heard reading from his works while living in Chicago, and has expanded from there.

I, too, first heard him on NPR and then picked up his books. I like the stories about his old lady neighbor who couldn’t cook the best.

Odd. I just two days ago read an article by him in the current issue of The New Yorker. It was a story about being harassed by a little neighbor girl. I didn’t know who he was, and I remember the name only because there was a reference in the article to his father’s family being Greek, so I looked back at the name.

Flack site
Fan site
Interviews and other resources

A Google search on his name will turn up many additional interviews etc. for your edification and amusement.

This Esquire Site contains dozens of his full text columns, many of which were later incorporated into his books.

If he ever comes to town for an evening of comedy, I highly recommend it.

About a year ago, he and Sara Vowell were in town for a night. It was wildly funny. Mostly stories about his family, all in the same vein of his books. [I confess that I think I’d heard one story before, but it doesn’t matter - it’s still funny!]

He’s coming back in October, and I plan on being there.

I’d say it was This American Life on NPR that gave him his start as a writer. He drew upon his odd jobs in life for his stories (another TAL contributor, David Rakoff, has a similar bunch of stories. I actually slightly prefer Rakoff to Sedaris).

Nowadays, Sedaris is a bit predictable in that any story you see in Esquire will be taped from a live reading and then aired on This American Life. His presence is fairly difficult to miss. But really, there’s no better place to find his life story than in his own books.