A Conversation with David Sedaris

Lania Knight in The Missouri Review:

Sedaris_david_2007Interviewer: I’ve heard you say that you’re not the funny person in your family. Amy’s funny. Your brother’s funny. When did you figure out that you were funny?

Sedaris: Oh, I’m not really. I can do things with paper sometimes, if you give me some time. But no, I’m observant. I know how to tell a story. You meet some people who don’t know how, and they’ll say, “It was me and Philip and Elizabeth, and we were at dinner. No, wait, wait, ’cause Mark was there. Was Mark there? Or did Mark come later? I think Mark came later, with Tony . . .” And the audience is already gone. Hugh and I argue about storytelling. He’ll say, “Now, that’s not true. You left out half the room. . .” He’s talking about people who didn’t contribute to the story. I would get rid of a lot, so we can move there quicker.

Interviewer: Is writing plays with your sister Amy similar to writing your own essays and stories?

Sedaris: No. When you’re writing a story, it’s completely private. You’re struggling with it on your own. The way my sister and I work on a play is like this: three weeks before opening, we get together with a cast; we have a script, we read the script out loud and then throw the script away. And then say, “Fuck. We’re opening in three weeks.”

More here.