Saturday, August 15, 2015

David Sedaris In Lee's Alternative Universe

David Sedaris is coming to Melbourne in January 2016. I think I'll go see/hear him. I've been curious about him ever since an editor friend told me 10 years ago that my humor writing "reminds me of a less camp David Sedaris."

I hadn't heard of David Sedaris back then, but I could tell that this was a compliment. Since that moment I've read snippets of David Sedaris' stuff and heard a couple of things and maybe read an interview or two, and indeed, my editor friend was paying me a big compliment; David Sedaris is a very funny man.

And I like to imagine that there is a parallel universe somewhere where an editor friend of David Sedaris has said, "You know, David - your writing reminds me of that very funny and successful humourist Lee Bemrose. Your writing is a bit more camp than his - he's a bit of a Viking after all -  but it's just as funny."

And David, poor, struggling David, he knows instinctively that this is a compliment even though he has never heard of this Lee Bemrose person. Curious, however, David Googles Lee and discovers that Lee Bemrose is one of the greatest and most astonishingly successful humourists of modern times. So excellent is he at his craft that he has his own radio show and is a much in-demand guest on all the popular television talk shows and he travels the world leaving in his wake seasons of sellout shows and satisfied audiences who talk about the enjoyment Bemrose has brought to them long after they have seen his shows. "Oh my God - that thing he said... the way he told that story... the thing about the thing... such a talented and funny funny man... Oh my God I love and adore him so much..."

And David Sedaris, in this alternative universe, is filled with admiration and even a little hope that one day his career as a humourist might take off. Imagine, David thinks, not having to work for pocket money for street press or masquerading in hospitality as a chef or any of the other myriad odd jobs he must do to pay the bills while on the side writing the stuff that he one day hopes will make strangers laugh.

Alternative Universe David Sedaris does indeed get his frequent. modest writing gigs. He hones his craft. He even gets his very own humour column called Happy. Happy is about all the silly things that happen to David and his long suffering partner The Loved One, known as such because of their head of brightly coloured and very lovely dreadlocks.

And although David's Happy column runs for about 10 years and is hugely popular with the magazine's readership, David's career as a humourist never really takes off. He accepts this and accepts that he is happy to do it for the love of it, and because knowing that you have brought some laughter into the lives of friends and strangers is actually the most perfect and suitable gift he could be given. He is perfectly happy to sit down each day and write stuff that makes him laugh, and know that once published, it will make others laugh too.

In his twilight years, now running a little cafe called Happy & The Loved One's Little Cafe Of Okay, David Sedaris the reluctant barista receives an unexpected email. It's from none other than Lee Bemrose himself. Lee confesses that he has always been a bit of a fan of David's Happy column and - long-shot that it is - was wondering if David might like to open his show by, you know, doing a reading of a few of his columns because Lee has always felt that David is really very funny and deserving of a much bigger, more adoring audience. Not to mention fuckloads more money.

David tears up a little. Finally, his big break. Late in life, but better late than never, as they say. And a break given to him by the legendary humourist Lee Bemrose... who could ever have imagined...

Meanwhile, back in this alternative universe, I'll be seeing this slightly camper, much more successful and undoubtedly much funnier version of me in January. Looking forward to it, actually.

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