Back in November, Ariella invited us to see a David Sedaris radio show being recorded at the BBC Radio Theatre near Oxford Circus. I’d never heard of Sedaris, but the idea of seeing a radio show recorded sounded like fun. Plus, it was free and so were we.
It was brilliant! Having no idea what to expect, I was blown away by how laugh out loud funny this guy is. He retells stories from his life, capturing the absurdity of moments that a less observant person may not even stop to take in. His delivery is beautifully understated, so you feel as though you’re laughing voluntarily instead of being forced into it.
There are a few quirks about the filming of a radio show though. You feel self conscious about your laughter. Is it loud enough that the overhead microphones will pick up just how much we’re all enjoying this? Oops, was that particular laugh of mine too loud or out of step with everyone elses so that I’ll actually recognise it if I hear this played back on the radio one day?
On the rare occasions that David stumbled over a word, he’d pause for a split second then resume delivery at the last comma or full stop before his error – a bit like listening to a record that keeps jumping back and repeating itself. Then at the end of the night, a dude emerged from the sound booth and handed David a list of sections to reread because they hand’t come through clearly the first time. It’s weird listening to those portions read back, devoid of context, and hearing him deliver it as though perfectly he’s the moment and emotion of that point in the story. And being told to laugh as you did the first time around was a challenge: how did I laugh at that particular line? I think I got it wrong, so hopefully the others covered for me.
Gerrod then cleverly bought me one of Sedaris’ books for Christmas, titled Me talk pretty one day. It’s named after one of the short stories within, about how students of a second language completely fail to grasp grammar and throw their newfound vocabulary all togeher in a jumble.
I’ve now finished it, after lots of bursts of laughter on the tube, and intend to share it around. It’s too funny to leave on the shelf for long. Check our his work at http://www.thisamericanlife.org/ which features podcasts from Sedaris along with other segments of good old fashioned story telling.
He’s playing at the Tivoli this Friday night if anybody in Brisbane is interested, then Sydney on Saturday and Melbourne on Monday.