Several years ago I went to a David Mitchell book signing with a friend having no idea who he was. He was a really nice guy at the signing. Subsequently, I have read and enjoyed several of his books. I really wish I could go back and go to that book signing again (and get my book signed!).
So, when I discovered that David Sedaris was to be the guest interview at the show I was going to see taped while I was in Toronto, I was determined not to make the same mistake again. I bought Me Talk Pretty One Day on my kindle and got to reading. By the time I reached Toronto I was about half finished. By the day of the taping I was 85% done.
First, I have to say that this was the opposite of my David Mitchell experience. Had I gone to the taping before I read the book, I would never have purchased the book. Not only was he a bad interviewee, he seemed like a genuinely miserable human being. The interviewer kept trying to help him and he kept blowing the interview. It was bad enough that the people behind us in the taping were making comments about how bad he was. I tried to keep an interested look plastered on my face for fear that if I reacted to how bad the interview was the tv camera would catch me at that moment and I would be on national television being rude.
That said, if I wasn’t going to the taping, I would never have continued with this book. I found it rude, cutting, and condescending. I thought the humor was self-aggrandising. Despite this being a ‘humor’ book, I didn’t laugh once while reading it. In fact, I thought several times “who is this guy? and who does he think he is?”. The taping answered both of those questions.
I generally enjoy observational humor, but I did not enjoy this book. It just seemed mean. I can’t say that seeing Sedaris in person changed that opinion.