COMMENTARY: International humorist packs them in at The Fargo TheatreGail M. Williams November 3, 2023 0 COMMENTS
The crowd at The Fargo Theatre was large enough to earn the envy of many rock and country bands that have performed there.
But the star was a small, unassuming 66-year-old who came on stage in a getup he referred to as a frockcoat and culottes, but later admitted it looked a lot like a dress.
After taking a turn to show off his garb, he stood behind a podium, took frequent sips from a glass of water and read essays to the audience in the packed auditorium.
David Sedaris is an author and comedian who became well-known by reading his essays on National Public Radio. Among his book titles are “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim” and “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls.”
His material is sometimes twisted and occasionally blue. He says things that comedians like Lenny Bruce and George Carlin would never dream of trying to get away with.
But Sedaris not only gets away with it, he elicits howls of laughter from a North Dakota crowd.
The people who categorize books have some trouble with Sedaris. He frequently mentions his past and his family, so it might be autobiographical. He also tells stories so outrageous that one can only assume they have to be works of his imagination.
Sedaris addresses this quandary in one of his essays. On a trip to Italy, he answers questions from an audience. “Where do you get ideas for your novels?”
He tries to tell them that he doesn’t write novels, but even his Italian producer can’t seem to wrap her head around the concept of humorous essays based on life.
So, he doesn’t write novels. But does he write truth?
In 2017, Sedaris published “Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002).” One might generally suppose that diaries are truthful. But one would be wrong. Diaries tell one person’s point of view, different from those who are written about in the diary. Writers also use diaries to hone their writing skills, and absolute truth is often sacrificed.
In his performance, Sedaris read several excerpts from “Theft.” True? Maybe. Hilarious? Definitely.
The aging couple who braved the cold to walk from the parking garage, waited in a crowded vestibule for the doors to open and climbed three flights of stairs in the art deco theatre to sit in the highest corner of the balcony, objectively the worst seats in the house, laughed uproariously.
Indeed, the woman laughed until she cried.
Muleshoe Journal Columnist