David Raymond Sedaris (born December 26, 1956) is an American humor writer. He is known mostly for his autobiographical essays, which cover a variety of subjects from his childhood and family to his drug-abusing, odd-job-working, performance-art-dabbling-in years to living abroad in France, Japan and the U.K. with his long-time boyfriend, Hugh.
His first mainstream recognition came in 1992 when NPR aired The Santaland Diaries, his story about working as an elf in a Macy's one Christmastime. Since then he's become one of the most popular humorists writing today, including outside the U.S., and has published several books.
His essay collections are:
- Barrel Fever (1994)
- Naked (1997)
- Holidays on Ice (1997)
- Me Talk Pretty One Day (2000)
- Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (2004)
- When You Are Engulfed in Flames (2008)
- Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls (2013)
Various other essays, diary entries and fictional pieces have been published separately or performed live or for radio.
More recently he's begun writing "fables," stories about Funny Animals in mundane human situations, which are collected in Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary (2010). He also edited a 2005 short-story anthology called Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules.
He is a frequent contributor to the Public Radio International show This American Life and to The New Yorker magazine. Amy Sedaris is his sister, and, like the rest of his family, is a character in some of his essays. They've worked together a number of times.
- Dark Reprise: "Now We Are Five" is this to "The Ship Shape."
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: He's well known in his native U.S.A., but in the past few years he's gained quite the following in his adopted home in the U.K. too, to the point where he now has a regular series on BBC Radio 4. note
- Harsher in Hindsight: Try reading anything he's ever written about Tiffany, especially "Put a Lid On It," after reading "Now We Are Five."
- Leaving Food for Santa: In "Santaland Diaries", he describes how he, as a Macy's elf, had to go through a routine with a Mall Santa where he would find out what kind of cookie each kid was going to leave out and then claim it was Santa's favorite.This afternoon Santa got an Asian child who wasn't familiar with the idea of leaving cookies. Santa asked what she was going to leave him to eat, and she got a puzzled look on her face. He said, "Something round to eat?" and she said, "A potato?"
- Wham Episode: Several:
- "Ashes": His mother dies of lung cancer.
- "Repeat After Me": The first time he ever talks about the ramifications of writing about his family.
- "The Smoking Section": After spending decades as a pro smoking advocate, he gives up smoking for good.
- "Now We Are Five": Tiffany Sedaris's suicide.