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David Sedaris to speak at Irvine's Barclay Theatre

The famed humorist crosses through the Orange Curtain for a surely funny engagement at 8 p.m. Saturday.

November 17, 2011|By Candice Baker
  • Humorist David Sedaris will speak at the Irvine Barclay Theatre on Saturday.
Humorist David Sedaris will speak at the Irvine Barclay… (Coastline Pilot )

"When forced to leave my house for an extended period of time, I take my typewriter with me, and together we endure the wretchedness of passing through the X-ray scanner. The laptops roll merrily down the belt, while I'm instructed to stand aside and open my bag. To me it seems like a normal enough thing to be carrying, but the typewriter's declining popularity arouses suspicion and I wind up eliciting the sort of reaction one might expect when traveling with a cannon.

"'It's a typewriter,' I say. 'You use it to write angry letters to airport security.'"

― David Sedaris

*

One can only imagine what goes through David Sedaris' head as he makes his way down to Orange County to speak at the Irvine Barclay Theatre.

(We would include a typical quotation here of Sedaris sharing his opinion of the suburbs, but this is a family newspaper.)

Sedaris, 54, is a Grammy-nominated humorist who thrills in lampooning cultural oddities, political correctness and social conservatism. He has appeared at the Barclay five times.

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Saturday will mark his sixth entrée through the Orange Curtain to speak here; he is known for spending much of his life on tour.

Sedaris' trademark is his no-holds-barred wit, which has touched on everything from "little people" and French grammar to undecided voters and excrement.

Beyond (or possibly due to) the poetic use of choice naughty words, Sedaris has achieved a sublime ability to hone in on a particular euphemism, cultural trait or tradition, and either break it down or bring it to its natural conclusions. His ability to satirize literally anything, as an equal opportunity offender, has given him a perch as a world-class observer of humanity.

Perhaps his most beloved attribute is his inclination to self-deprecation, evident in Sedaris' semi-autobiographical essays, which take true subject matter and build upon it for comic effect.

He has published several novels and pseudo-nonfiction bestsellers, as well as a series of fables featuring animals, most of which can be found in his latest release, "Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary."

Sedaris' work also can be found in The New Yorker and on NPR, as well as in several audio recordings.

His sister Amy Sedaris, also a successful author and humorist, collaborates with him as a playwright.

The two, along with four siblings, grew up in the suburbs of Raleigh, N.C., and Sedaris attended several colleges before graduating from the Art Institute of Chicago.

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