Best-selling humorist and public radio favorite, David Sedaris, recently spoke at the Penn Bookstore in Philadelphia, PA, and signed copies of his latest book, Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls. In his new collection of essays, the self-deprecating storyteller recounts tales of his childhood, his hometown, health, partner and politics.
Nearly 500 fans attended the special event, with many lining up in the morning hours for the 6 p.m. signing. Known for spending hours with fans at his book signings, Sedaris began signing copies ahead of schedule. “He arrived a few hours earlier than scheduled and decided to start signing copies of his book,” says Penn Bookstore Textbook Manager Justin Holder. “He spoke with everyone in line and really took his time. He had us all laughing before he even read from his book.”
Indeed, book signings are a passion for the comedic author. In a recent interview in Rolling Stone magazine, Sedaris explained, “When I’m signing books, people always say, ‘This must be awful.’ And I think, ‘People are waiting in line to tell me how much they love me. What about that is awful?’ It’s all I ever dreamed about. If you go on a book tour and there are four people in the room, that’s really hard. But if there are 400 people, it’s the easiest thing in the world.”
Sedaris promised the audience he would sign copies of anything that he had ever written. “Most people bought his new book to sign, but it was amazing to see how many people also brought in old copies of the The New Yorker and Esquire, as well as copies of his previous books,” says Store Manager Lew Claps. “It was easily the longest book signing we have ever held in the store. He ended up staying until midnight.”
Author of Barrel Fever, Naked, Holidays on Ice, and Me Talk Pretty One Day, Sedaris was discovered by Ira Glass, producer and host of National Public Radio’s (NPR) “This American Life.” Glass caught Sedaris’ act (comic readings from his personal diary) in a Chicago nightclub and put him on the local public radio show “The Wild Room,” and later on NPR’s “Life” and “Morning Edition.”
What followed has been a steady stream of New York Times bestsellers, magazine columns and, in collaboration with his sister, actress Amy Sedaris, a half-dozen stage plays. Sedaris has won the coveted Thurber Prize for American Humor, was named 2001’s “Humorist of the Year” by Time magazine and was nominated for two Grammy Awards for spoken-word and humor albums.
Sedaris delighted the audience reading from his book and taking questions from the audience. “He has a huge following,” observed Claps. “People pay good money to hear him read his hilarious essays, but we had him in our store for free,” he adds. “It was really great to see him connect with the fans – especially with the students. He may just be the funniest man alive.”