University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., 634-3400, noon Sat., June 16; Bailey/Coy Books, 414 Broadway E., 323-8842, 3 p.m. Sat., June 16; Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main, 624-6600, 5:30 p.m. Sun., June 17
DAVID SEDARIS MAY be comfortably ensconced in France these days with his boyfriend, Hugh, but that doesn't keep him from a busy lecture and book-signing schedule as America's funniest writer. In Seattle this weekend to promote the paperback release of his criminally hilarious Me Talk Pretty One Day, he found time to quickly touch base with us on soap operas, laughing, and the whole "gay" thing.
Seattle Weekly: Do you feel like now you have to meet certain expectations in your writing? Do you think, "Omigod, I'm not being funny enough?"
David Sedaris: Yeah, all the time. Especially during those lecture tours, because then I think, "Oh, people bought tickets." And there's nothing to see: I'm just up there with my nose in a book. So there better be something for them to laugh at, and laugh mightily.
Do you make yourself laugh?
It happens rarely. My sister [Amy] and I did a play in New York recently . . . and toward the end of the play she's in a doctor's office, and the doctor's talking, and Amy comes out from behind the screen and hands the doctor a cup, and the doctor says, "Oh, Liz, I'm sorry. When I said for you to go the bathroom, I meant for you to urinate." And I laughed really hard. That somebody would defecate into a specimen cup . . . think of their shame.
Do you get bugged being labeled a gay author?
No, it doesn't happen that often. When the first book came out . . . I just didn't want to be in that section of the bookstore. I just wanted to be in the bookstore at large. And I sort of insisted that I didn't need to go into that section. I mean, it's not like I'm holding myself back from anything. It's not like I want to be writing, you know, "Hugh's balls bounced against my chin." And it doesn't matter that I'm gay. I mean, it matters that I've been with somebody for 10 years, but I don't think people in the audience think, "Oh, I can't relate to that because I'm a heterosexual."
Are you still devoted to One Life to Live?
No, they don't have it in France. In France, they have Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful, and they're still running Santa Barbara. But I never believed in any of those California soap operas. To me, it has to take place on the East Coast, and you never set foot outside.
You know, [One Life matriarch] Viki's got her split personality again.
I met her [Erika "Viki" Slezak]. I went to her dressing room.
No! How was that?
It was like heaven. Someone was going to tape her reading a few lines of something that I wrote. And so I went to the One Life to Live studios. And she was so—just—great. And she sent me an autographed picture of her wearing holiday earrings. And it was framed and everything.
Now you can die happy.