Join 3,442 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Sedaris. Pizza. Together at last.
July 16, 2009 8:43 PM   Subscribe

David Sedaris delivers a pizza. Pitch-perfect parody at youtube from the comedy group Weak Nights.
posted by mathowie (71 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, that's spot-on.
posted by reductiondesign at 8:48 PM on July 16, 2009


Jesus, now mathowie's been infected by the u-tube.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 8:51 PM on July 16, 2009


That is frikkin' brilliant. I love that it so effectively pays out Sedaris, without at all taking away what's enjoyable about his work.

I'm watching it, chuckling at the parody, and yet at the same time, I'm thinking "why does his dad smell like brine?"
posted by smoke at 8:55 PM on July 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


I really, really don't like David Sedaris! So I liked this!
posted by The Whelk at 8:55 PM on July 16, 2009


I would like to smell irretrievably of brine for 45 minutes.
posted by NoMich at 9:00 PM on July 16, 2009


Is this something I would have to listen to NPR to understand?
posted by yhbc at 9:01 PM on July 16, 2009


I love Sedaris! I'm so sad his writing and speaking gigs didn't pan out and he's come to this.
posted by The Deej at 9:02 PM on July 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Perfect! Spot on about both what is so ridiculous and so likable about Sedaris.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:04 PM on July 16, 2009


And for the record, I don't like David Sedaris for the same reasons this is Hilarious, because he's so forumlaic, so branded, so easily copied and parodied. He's such a fucking product, for sale next to the cash register, where each donation goes to help a tree that didn't like it's father.

During that strange year of Having A Job, I noticed that both David Sedaris and Augustin Burroughs* wrote the exact same story, in the exact same way, three times. It's just so ....so...pat. Sliding right into the mind space of winsome gay writer reminiscing and also hey southern folks! Aren't they DIFFERENT?I like Sedaris' animal fables cause they're more original, and much more entertaining, than the easily parodied NPR My-Big-0Fat-Greek-Wedding stuff he usually does. And I like his sister a lot more. And the werido acting stuff he did.

I know, "and the hipster says, I liked his eariler work" but even that is just so ...eh? I just don't get why everyone else likes him, and I usually get why things are funny so this is a strange place to be in.

And I rpobobly shouldn't have typed this whole thing up and just kept my fool mouth shut. I liked the link Matt, it was funny.

*grumble, drink grumble*

*
posted by The Whelk at 9:06 PM on July 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


I love David Sedaris and I loved this. Amazing caricature of him.

Now I gotta go watch all those Amy Sedaris links on Youtube. Darn you, MetaFilter!
posted by Xoebe at 9:07 PM on July 16, 2009


* And I am not comparing the two, dear god no. Sedaris I find repetitive and odd and dimly amusing while I want to SPIT ON Burroughs and DEMAND MY MONEY BACK. That is some bad toxic dumbass writing there. Christ I get angry just thinking about it.
posted by The Whelk at 9:08 PM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can see how someone wouldn't like him, The Whelk. I think he's just one of those people/acts who is a shtick and if you enjoy it, it's because of/despite that.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:08 PM on July 16, 2009


Solon And Thanks, It's more like ...It's kinda my job to find the funny and be the funny and bring the funny and even if I think some person's funny is stupid or annoying or dumb, I can understand why other people like it and see where it fits in into the funny constellation, but with Sedaris I just so Don't Get It that it makes me think there is something wrong with me cause, hey, I should be able to get this on some level.
posted by The Whelk at 9:12 PM on July 16, 2009


I thought I would hate Sedaris, but I read his books and they're quite good. I think there's a lot of depth there that surprises people who only hear him in NPR-sized snarky snippets. (I now think "NPR-sized snarky snippets" would be a good snack to sell at Trader Joe's.)

This sketch, not so much. It's a comedy basic that half or eve most of the humor in an absurd character is the straight person's reaction to him. In this case, we don't even see the face of the girl who ordered the pizza- she may as well be a cardboard cutout. Which reduces this to just an imitation, which is a pretty low form of comedy.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:16 PM on July 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


I know, "and the hipster says, I liked his eariler work" but

Ahem, the hipster says Sedaris yeah alright, but I like Jonathan Ames better. Sheesh.
posted by carsonb at 9:16 PM on July 16, 2009


I was liking it, and then the unambitious dragons line came, and then I loved it. Thanks matt.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:32 PM on July 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Huh. Reading some of these comments, I agree that Sedaris can be a bit formulaic at times, but fwiw, I've laughed out loud numerous times while reading each of his books, so there's that. Not too many gut-laugh inducing books out there. High literature? No. Good fun? Yes.

As for this parody... meh? I dunno, sorry Mathowie, I didn't think it was all that funny. Though I did like that he ate the pizza.
posted by diocletian at 9:34 PM on July 16, 2009


Oh, and I love Sedaris. So count me in the line the parodied and parodier category.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:35 PM on July 16, 2009


"Is this something I would have to listen to NPR to understand?"
posted by yhbc at 3:01 PM on July 17

I know you were trying to be funny, but I think the honest answer is yes. Or perhaps more correctly, this is something you'd have to have prior knowledge of David Sedaris to appreciate.

I don't think this Sedaris character has penetrated the Australian zeitgeist yet, as I've never heard of him before this post. I suppose based on this Digital Dorito that his thing is to ramble on in a pseudo-philosophical way using words with as many syllables as possible, yes?

So yeah, I guess this really is something that you'd have to have heard of David Sedaris to appreciate? Because I did not laugh but I sense, based on comments in this thread, that I probably should have.

I can't believe I'm about to say this to #1 of all people... but Matt, some context may have been useful.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:36 PM on July 16, 2009


line = likes? wtf brain.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:36 PM on July 16, 2009


And I rpobobly shouldn't have typed this whole thing up and just kept my fool mouth shut.

Hey, don't type with your mouth open! You'll drool on the keyboard!
posted by The Deej at 9:38 PM on July 16, 2009


I can't believe I'm about to say this to #1 of all people... but Matt, some context may have been useful.
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:36 AM on July 17 [+] [!]


That's kinda impossible for the reasons you mentioned in the sense that you would have had to have read Sedaris to get the joke. I guess we could link to some excerpts:

Me Talk Pretty One Day
The SantaLand Diaries
posted by lazaruslong at 9:40 PM on July 16, 2009


Still, takes a lot more than a couple excerpts to acclimate yourself to the nuanced style he uses to the extent that dry satire makes sense.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:41 PM on July 16, 2009


I kind of live in a vacuum. I don't have any friends who listen to NPR, and my hipster friends are of the Nashville variety: all about the music cred and not much else. A lot of the things I like -- including comics, alt country music, and David Sedaris -- are just for me, because my friends aren't interested, and it's okay.

Sometimes I'm a little sad about that, but then I read comments like the ones here, and I'm glad that I'm free to like things without being barraged with the jaded BS that surrounds someone's image or whatever.

David Sedaris has always struck me as a very honest writer and I just don't get what you haters are saying.
posted by Toothless Willy at 9:44 PM on July 16, 2009 [14 favorites]


I don't know if this has been posted on MeFi before but this immediately reminded me of Kasper Hauser's "This American Life" parody. I guess it's probably the fact that Sedaris is a TAL contributor and he and Glass are both highly imitable. Here is one and two. Probably not funny unless you are pretty familiar with the show.
posted by ill3 at 10:09 PM on July 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


Ahem, the hipster says Sedaris yeah alright, but I like Jonathan Ames better. Sheesh.

Well, I never quite understood the hipster code. For example, I think it's still OK for them to like Dave Eggers, but I'm not sure. Or maybe they're not allowed to like the writing, but they are allowed to enjoy origami made from the dust jacket of McSweeney's #13.

In a similar vein, I think Sedaris is still at least borderline allowable; they're not allowed to outright praise or appreciate him, but his existence can be acknowledged without needing to explicitly scorn him.
posted by ubernostrum at 10:20 PM on July 16, 2009


Well done, sir!
posted by carsonb at 10:28 PM on July 16, 2009


Context?
posted by zouhair at 10:33 PM on July 16, 2009


That was great, and it's nitpicky at best.. but it would've been bettered if the voice had been dubbed over with a super clean NPR-Sound audio track. I don't know if its just me or I'm insane or what.. but I can always tell NPR apart from other channels from the sound of the silence alone.. for lack of a better term.
posted by mediocre at 10:35 PM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh and for the record, I love Sedaris. Yes it's formulaic and all the other criticisms, but so what? I like what I like, and at least he isn't as gay as.. as.. shit, what's the name that other TAL contributor who is super super gay and has a Sedaris-esque style? Damn it.. It's on the tip of my brain..
posted by mediocre at 10:45 PM on July 16, 2009


For the record I love David Sedaris and his formulaic quirks. If you're not familiar with him, try one of his audiobooks, which he delivers in a perfect deadpan patter that cracks me up to no end. I actually find most of his writing to induce eye-rolling when I read it, but hearing it as spoken word pieces, they're hilarious.

I thought this was spot-on on the caricature of his style of storytelling about his family's many adventures.
posted by mathowie at 10:46 PM on July 16, 2009


mediocre, I think you're thinking of David Rakoff
posted by Riptor at 10:55 PM on July 16, 2009


they're not allowed to outright praise or appreciate him

It's cool if they saw him at the local Grange Hall before the big record deal.
posted by freebird at 10:59 PM on July 16, 2009


I like this parody about as much as I dislike David Sedaris, which is to say, a fair bit. But I can see why people like him, and don't think less of them for doing so. Some things just rub you the wrong way, something like Dave Barry if he went to Yale.
posted by bluejayk at 11:08 PM on July 16, 2009


Yeah, I got to say, I think David Sedaris is better on audiobook than on the page. Very few books with very few readers can pull that off.. But David Sedaris's delivery is just perfect.

And what else is perfect? This parody.
posted by Ms. Saint at 11:31 PM on July 16, 2009


"That's kinda impossible for the reasons you mentioned in the sense that you would have had to have read Sedaris to get the joke."
posted by lazaruslong at 3:40 PM on July 17

Point taken, but until I went to Wikipedia I had no idea if this dude was a comedian, an author or what. Maybe a bit of that info could have been in the [inside]? I dunno.
posted by Effigy2000 at 11:35 PM on July 16, 2009


or you could just stop being so australian
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:42 PM on July 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


David Sedaris has always struck me as a very honest writer and I just don't get what you haters are saying.

There are many words you could use to describe Sedaris. "Honest" isn't one of them.
posted by outlier at 11:57 PM on July 16, 2009


I find the word "idiot" describes anyone who read Naked and thought it was substantially true.
posted by fleacircus at 12:21 AM on July 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't read Sedaris much but his stuff is relatively funny, but maybe not as glorious as everyone says. But I wouldn't boil him down to a 'fucking product.' Anyway, when it comes down to it, he does a damn good Billie Holiday.
posted by mmmleaf at 12:27 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are many words you could use to describe Sedaris. "Honest" isn't one of them.

Seriously? I followed the link, and it's just some breathy nerd about to wet his polyester pants over nothing. "You know how some authors exaggerate? Well, David Sedaris really exaggerates! Like, a lot!"

I'm not sure how you could be stupid enough to believe that every word of Sedaris' obvious comic exaggerations are true, yet still have the level of literacy required to read the stories to begin with.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:36 AM on July 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


The Whelk: It's kinda my job to find the funny and be the funny and bring the funny...

Would you mind not using the word 'the' in front of funny, please? It really grates on me.

I liked the parody. I'd like to see a version with a woman trying to check a book out of a library, but a librarian Garrison Keillor ignores her request and hammers through half of Lake Wobegone Days at her.
posted by Cantdosleepy at 3:43 AM on July 17, 2009


Effigy2000, this is something you'd have to be an NPR listener to understand.

I won't knock the "NPR humorist", but after what seemed like 200 years of listening to Bailey White and that insufferable Minnesota storyteller, suddenly I'm in my car and "The Santa-land Diaries" comes on. I nearly drive my car off the road in astonishment. I'm not saying that Sedaris was revolutionary among the whole of humor authors at the time, but for NPR humorists, it was an evolutionary leap.

At this point, Sedaris is writing about the problems of upkeep of his house in Southern France, and it's a bit offputting, not only because it's hard to empathize with those kind of problems, but because it's a form of humor that was old before "Mr. Blandings builds his Dream House". Those shifty, dishonest handy-men!

Still, only Sedaris would write an essay about the French pedophile living down the road from him. He can still surprise you.
posted by acrasis at 4:24 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Would you mind not using the word 'the' in front of funny, please?

Why, does it give you a sad?

Me, I want to see Keillor interviewing for a job as a weather man at a local TV station in rural Minnesota.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:35 AM on July 17, 2009


David Sedaris has always struck me as a very honest writer and I just don't get what you haters are saying.

I actually like David Sedaris, so I'm not going to rain anymore haterade down on the man, but the word "honest" is not the first I'd use to describe Sedaris - he's been pretty clear that he makes a lot of shit up.
posted by billysumday at 4:36 AM on July 17, 2009


There are many words you could use to describe Sedaris. "Honest" isn't one of them.

To be fair, I'm think Sedaris himself has addressed this more recently than the accusations in that link. I'm pretty sure it was around the time of the hang-wringing, teeth-gnashing James Frey pillorying. A quick googling of "David Sedaris Nonfiction" leads to a bunch of articles like this where he cops to it being "realish" even in the preface of his latest book.
posted by This Guy at 4:42 AM on July 17, 2009


I'm not sure how you could be stupid enough to believe that every word of Sedaris' obvious comic exaggerations are true, yet still have the level of literacy required to read the stories to begin with.

I'm confused. You're criticizing the person who says "honest" isn't a good word to describe Sedaris, then you try to prove your point by stating that nobody in their right would actually believe the obvious comic exaggerations in the book were true. I will grant you that Sedaris is honestly transforming his memories into nice, clever, pat little stories.
posted by billysumday at 4:43 AM on July 17, 2009


The most spot-on part of the parody, for me, was the fact that David Sedaris has never really learned how to white balance a video camera.
posted by xingcat at 5:03 AM on July 17, 2009


You're criticizing the person who says "honest" isn't a good word to describe Sedaris, then you try to prove your point by stating that nobody in their right would actually believe the obvious comic exaggerations in the book were true.

The key here is "obvious comic exaggerations." I don't think it's dishonest for a humorist to do that. The point of his works is to tell funny stories, not to teach me earnestly what it's like to grow up as a gay Greek person in North Carolina.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:07 AM on July 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't think there's any point to his works other than to move product, as they say in the biz. A truthful recollection of a person's past would be "honest," but what Sedaris does is he spins tales, he's a storyteller. No shame in that but to say that you like his work because it's so honest, or that you like him because he's so honest - it's sort of missing the point. As you say, he's trying to come up with some funny stories, and is using his life as a jumping off point. And even though I do like most of his work, the way he writes dialogue drives me up a wall - hands down the most trite and uncreative part of his work. I think that's where his liberty-taking is most evident. People in real life don't talk like the characters in his short stories, because people in real life aren't characters in short stories. I think a few less perfectly-timed quips or phrases would do wonders to add to the verisimilitude of his writing.
posted by billysumday at 5:18 AM on July 17, 2009


I didn't say (and don't think) that he's especially honest-- I was replying to a comment that suggested that he's particularly dishonest, which I don't think is true either. I think he's on par for his genre.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:33 AM on July 17, 2009


Hmmm, well, I would have to disagree with you there. As was mentioned in the article, James Thurber and Garrison Keillor both write humorous fiction based on real past events. But they have the good sense to call their work fiction. Sedaris does the same thing and calls it non-fiction. I think that's bullshit, even though I still like the stories. I mean, it's one thing to exaggerate, but it's another thing entirely to just completely make up a primary character for a story, which he's actually admitted to doing. And calling it non-fiction also confuses some people (cough Toothless Willy cough) into thinking that everything happened line for line. Whether that's Sedaris' fault or the reader's, he could have sidestepped the problem by just calling it fiction in the first place.
posted by billysumday at 5:40 AM on July 17, 2009


For people who own iPods but are still relatively thrifty, I will point out that Sedaris's Me Talk Pretty One Day is iTunes' audiobook of the month, for only $6.95.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:48 AM on July 17, 2009


The spouse and I adore Sidaris. I always get a big thrill when I open The New Yorker and see him listed. I guess I just love stories about eccentric families and even if he exaggerates a lot that is one wacky family. The Christmas Ho is hysterical. His mother putting cigarettes in their Easter basket is funny. His father mistaking a piece of his hat for a dried mystery food is crazy. I adore them all. Actually, I worked with Gretchen for a few months and she is just about what you would imagine-- a little strange and very, very gun shy because perfect strangers "know" her from her brother's writing. Amy and David both did lots of manual labor before becoming famous and Gretchen still toils away in the blazing hot sun working at a garden nursery weeding and tending to the plants. That family is not afraid of hard work and as far as I know "The Rooster" still has a flooring business here in Raleigh.

I can't tell you how many times I've thought about the mystery of who wiped their butt on the bathroom towels.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:51 AM on July 17, 2009


And for any one who is wondering "How can you adore someone and not know how to spell their name?" all I can say is, "Vowels are not my friends. Spellcheck is my salvation."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:55 AM on July 17, 2009


On a personal note, I need no further evidence that the world is fundamentally without either justice or design than the prevalence of David Sedaris over Amy Sedaris.
posted by adipocere at 7:01 AM on July 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think, especially with memoirs and humorous self-tellings, there is a lot of room between truth and lies for something better.

Man I love that whole family
posted by kathrineg at 7:21 AM on July 17, 2009



Man I love that whole family

Paul Sedaris


Tiffany Sedaris

posted by The Whelk at 7:39 AM on July 17, 2009


He does a pretty awesome Billie Holiday.
posted by ook at 7:40 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I agreed, he does an excellent impression of Billie Holiday. My favorite story is when he takes the guitar lesson from the midget and wants to sing commercials (like the Oscar Mayer Weiner song) in the style of Billie Holiday. Hysterical!
posted by tothemoon at 7:42 AM on July 17, 2009


I like Sedaris and I thought this Youtubery was funny and note-perfect. HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW METAFILTER?

I also used to really enjoy making fun of Morrissey, despite having had a life-size marble statue of him in the foyer since the tender age of 14.
posted by everichon at 8:30 AM on July 17, 2009


This guy's impression is spot-on, but the sketch did nothing to showcase it well - as someone upthread pointed out, it would have been a lot funnier to show him actually interacting with people.

As to the whole honesty thing: I think Sedaris is extremely, brutally honest, even as he does embellish the truth. I realize that sounds like BS, but his honesty is more in showing us his own dark, needy, selfish emotional underbelly. While also being extremely funny.

ill3, oh dear god, thanks for that TAL parody. That is spot-on.
posted by lunasol at 8:39 AM on July 17, 2009


People in real life don't talk like the characters in his short stories, because people in real life aren't characters in short stories. I think a few less perfectly-timed quips or phrases would do wonders to add to the verisimilitude of his writing.

"People in real life" don't talk the way they do in Shakespeare, in Tolstoy, in Proust, in Wodehouse, in Nabokov, in Stendhal, in Beckett, in Alice Munro, in Austen...of all possible criticisms of Sedaris's (or any writer's) work, this seems to me about the most irrelevant.

It's easy to produce "realistic" dialogue--hide a microphone on your person and transcribe what you record during the day. Just don't expect anyone other than a sociolinguist to be interested in reading it.
posted by yoink at 9:08 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


"People in real life" don't talk the way they do in Shakespeare, in Tolstoy, in Proust, in Wodehouse, in Nabokov, in Stendhal, in Beckett, in Alice Munro, in Austen...of all possible criticisms of Sedaris's (or any writer's) work, this seems to me about the most irrelevant.

Yeah, but those are all fiction writers. I think people just object to the fact that Sedaris's books are labeled as nonfiction. Which is not to say that I have a dog in this fight, I would hate David Sedaris's books even if they were fiction. But I love this parody!! I also liked the linked TAL parodies as well. Really funny stuff.
posted by bluefly at 9:13 AM on July 17, 2009


"Honest" isn't one of them. Yeah, his dishonesty really pisses me off too. But not as much as when I found out that Rodney Dangerfield actually did get a lot of respect.
posted by digsrus at 9:15 AM on July 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


Andy Dick is a scream.
posted by Zambrano at 9:34 AM on July 17, 2009


I don't get the honesty gripe.

Why does everything he writes have to be true to be good?

I've read 4 of his books, and as far as I can tell I have never been explicitly or subtly promised that what I was reading was strict non-fiction. I don't feel lied to. I think there's a lot of fiction, but that's not the same thing as being dishonest.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:34 AM on July 17, 2009


Yeah, his dishonesty really pisses me off too. But not as much as when I found out that Rodney Dangerfield actually did get a lot of respect.

GUYS I JUST FOUND OUT THAT KATHERINE MANSFIELD NEVER ATTENDED A GARDEN PARTY WHERE SOME GUY DIED! IT'S JUST SOME STUPID FAKE MADE-UP STORY. YOU KNOW WHAT MADE-UP STORIES ARE LIKE? LYING, THAT'S WHAT.
posted by The Whelk at 9:47 AM on July 17, 2009


Well, for just another data point, I only knew David Sedaris by name before this post, and I thought the video was hilarious.
posted by kaspen at 10:11 AM on July 17, 2009


Pfft. Since when do you let truth get in the way of a good story?
posted by electroboy at 12:14 PM on July 17, 2009


I discovered today that my library shelves Peanuts in the non-fiction section. I'm quitting my job to track down this alternative race of humans who mature at 5 and have heads the size of watermelons.

Also: We must be thinking of a different Minnesotan storyteller.
posted by DU at 6:14 PM on July 17, 2009


« Older Anthrax War - On the 6th Anniversary of the death...  |  The NAVIS project... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments