- Audio CD
- Publisher: Time Warner Audio Books (October 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1586215647
- ISBN-13: 978-1586215644
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 5.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #486,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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David Sedaris Live at Carnegie Hall Audio CD – Audiobook, October, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Bestselling humorist Sedaris likes to test out new material on twice-a-year reading tours to get the rhythm and phrasing perfected before he puts them down on the page. This live recording of his October 22, 2002, reading at Manhattan's Carnegie Hall finds Sedaris performing seven hilarious new pieces and taking a few questions from his audience. As uproarious as Sedaris is on the page, he's even funnier reading his wickedly jaundiced reflections. With brilliant deadpan timing, Sedaris is a charm, whether being coaxed into purchasing his clothes in the women's department by his sister Amy ("I'm the guy in a crowded steak house removing a jacket with the label reading 'Sassy Sport'") or untangling the Dutch legend of St. Nicholas and his "six to eight black men" slaves/assistants or trying to explain to guests--in French--that his boss has a rubber hand. Sedaris reaches his pinnacle of hilarity describing his purchase of the "Stadium Pal," an exterior catheter marketed to "sports fans, truck drivers and anyone else who's tired of searching for a bathroom." He praises the "freedom leg bag" that conveniently attaches to the user's calf: "The bag can be emptied and reused up to 12 times, making it both disgusting and cost-effective."
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Top Customer Reviews
As he proved with Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris is at his best when he's exposing cultural differences, as illustrated through language and tradition (especially religious customs, with all of the associated secular trimmings). From the questions he chooses to ask upon arriving in a new country (his first is always "what do your roosters say?") to his confusion with the languages that humans speak (the French use the same word for chef and boss), his unique perspective shines a different light on some very funny, if not always particularly significant, truths.
If you were moved to tears by his attempt, in French, to describe the basic tenets of Easter, you'll certainly feel the same about his description of the practice of Christmas in the Netherlands. Evidently, though the Dutch think the idea of Santa employing elves is freakish and disgusting, they see nothing wrong with a Santa who is assisted on his yearly journey by "six to eight black men" (according to tradition, they were once slaves, but now they're just Santa's close friends).
My only criticism is that two of the tracks are rereadings of excerpts from The David Sedaris Box Set (they're bonus tracks, originally taken from the Esquire article "Buddy, Can You Spare a Tie?," but they're on the Barrel Fever disc of the box set). Still, at least they're quite funny, so you don't mind hearing them again. You just might wish that the CD were longer and included only new material.
David live is even more fun than David in print - he has a delivery style that is perfectly suited to his material, and has a way with a stutter, a pause and an emphasis that highlights his humorous material. This guy is a natural!
Primarily a look at family interactions (the bit with his sister Amy, which opens this reading, works on many levels - the interplay of siblings, the breaches of privacy, and that all too volatile mix of love and bickering), David knows how to play his subjects to the hilt, without forgetting that these are people worth caring about. Another tale involving sister Amy's pet parrot (who is a verbal copy of its owner) is both absurb and heart-warming, especially when the parrot goes on the attack.
The funniest tale (involving a device for bladder weary truckers) is gutter humor at its best. Raunchy to the extreme, this piece might be unlistenable if someone besides David delivered it. Instead, he fills the tale with a sense of awe and wonder, and his delight in the device is every infomercial watcher's sense of satisfaction when learning they haven't been ripped off this time.
Truly hysterical work from one of America's funniest writers.
Most of the stories feature his family and partner (Hugh) who provide perfect fodder for his dry humor. "Repeat After Me" is the longest and funniest section and features his sister, Lisa, and her parrot. In this selection, Sedaris discusses the developing plans for a movie about his life; this movie has been in discussions for quite a few years and one can only hope that it will come to fruition. Another funny story is "Who's the Chef," which involves Sedaris' attempts to find a volunteer job in France; he ultimately works with a rubber-handed chef.
Several of the stories have appeared elsewhere previously, such as "Six to Eight Black Men" -- a brilliant compendium of bizarre Christmas customs from around the world. However, hearing these old stories read in Sedaris' nasal whine makes them sound fresh again. The collection ends with Sedaris taking some questions from the audience -- the questions are rather uninteresting, but Sedaris proves his wit by handily providing impromptu laughs. This collection doesn't give hardcore fans much new material but is still likely to please those hungry for more Sedaris.