To hear Sedaris modestly reflect on his storied career, you’d never know he was an award-winning New York Times bestselling author whose books have sold millions of copies in 25 languages around the world. His recently-published Happy-Go-Lucky is his first new collection of personal essays since the bestselling Calypso.
When I caught up with Sedaris in Montreal in 2018, he was unsurprisingly immune to all the acclaim.
“I started writing when I was 20 and I was 35 when my first book was published,” Sedaris said. “I never expected this. I was not one of those people who wrote something and then went out to try to get it published. For the first seven years, nobody saw any of my writing at all because it was pretty awful.”
Sedaris, 65, does not shy away from discussing his gayness and how growing up gay profoundly shaped his life and career. “My dad threw me out because I was gay, but he doesn’t hold a grudge and I moved back a few days later,” Sedaris said. “Now when I go on tour, I meet kids who come to my shows with their parents — the kids are 14-years-old and they’re gay — and having that was unthinkable when I was growing up. That you could be yourself that early was unthinkable.”
Sedaris also participated in the critically-hailed 2014 documentary Do I Sound Gay?
“I think if you ask most gay men if they could change one thing about themselves, they would probably change their voice,” said Sedaris who admits that he too once wanted to change his voice. “But I think it’s like trying to change your looks. So if you have that choice, would you rather be another good-looking guy or do you be yourself and talk like a Muppet? Well, financially, it would benefit me to be myself and talk like a Muppet.
“You know, when I’m in a hotel and call room service, they always say, ‘Yes ma’am, we’ll have it right up,’ ” Sedaris said. “But I don’t think I sound like a woman at all. I think I sound like a Muppet!”
INFOS : David Sedaris headlines Théatre Maisonneuve on October 2. For tickets, visit evenko.ca.