Good stories, storytellers say, have a mix of comedy and tragedy. Great storytellers, like David Sedaris, know you can’t often separate comedy and tragedy, and that life is both one big joke suffused with sadness and one bleak sermon alit with laughter. Knowing his S.B. audience, he opened with ferociously funny recollections on the weary and dreary days of the 2016 election and the interpersonal divides we all faced. The highlight was a heart-wrenching story in which Sedaris used the absurdity of intervention and reality T.V. as a springboard to humanize his mother’s struggles with drinking, he and his siblings tenderly helping her along with a mix of innocence, grace, and willful aversion. I laughed, I cried — he had it all.


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