On Monday night Jon and I had the privilege of seeing David Sedaris do a reading at Abravanel Hall in downtown Salt Lake City. He read several of his essays including one he wrote for The New Yorker last week about undecided voters. Mind you, this is in front of several hundred people who live in the reddest state in the country, what could be argued as the reddest area on the planet, and without hesitation he laid it out like this:
I look at these people and can’t quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention?
To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”
To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.
You can imagine that Jon and I had a hard time not giving him a standing ovation, right there in the middle of an essay he hadn’t finished reading, and thankfully laughter erupted throughout the hall immediately. But in the millisecond before the first giggle echoed off the ceiling I thought I might die. Would the audience be receptive? Or would he be engulfed by a sea of silence and then suddenly realize, wait a minute, am I in Utah? Shit! When I woke up this morning I thought I was in Berkeley! I was going to go up to him afterward and tell him how brave I thought he was for reading something like that in a state where there exist pockets of people who think homosexuals and African Americans only exist on NBC, but I thought that wouldn’t be fair. I mean, surely some Utahns have seen them on Bravo, too.
(and the hatemail from Laverkin begins in 3… 2… 1…)
For those of you unfamiliar with Sedaris, here’s a clip of a reading he did on Letterman about an interesting fashion accessory, one I’m thinking about getting Jon for Christmas so he doesn’t have to take a break when he’s reading Apple news: