8.24 No Pictures Please!

A few weeks ago, I went to see David Sedaris in person. If you don’t know who that is, I can’t help you. He was coming to Toronto to perform and I was having a difficult time deciding if I should go or not. In the end, the show was right after a big event I was organizing and felt compelled to treat myself.

Sedaris is one of my heroes. Essentially, for better or for worse, depending on your opinion of my work, he is one of the reasons that I do what I do. If you saw me perform at a storytelling event, you’d know what I mean. I adopted and made my own, a similar style of his. Basically, a persona that says, “Why are you laughing, I am trying to be serious here.”

There is a long and, as far as I’m concerned, contentious argument in the Toronto storytelling scene of people performing with notes and without. The vast amount of people believe you should perform without notes. Fuck’em. Case in point: Sedaris is reading from notes. How does he connect with an audience so deeply?


As I walked into the foyer of the theatre, my phone buzzed several times in my pocket. Distracted, I pulled it out and stepped along the wall to check it. When I looked up, to my immediate left was David Sedaris sitting at a table signing books. With my phone already in my hand, I walked in front of him and immediately snapped a photograph of him with his head down writing.

It wasn’t until another woman tried to take a photograph and he playfully hid his face behind a book when I saw the sign on the table that said, No Photographs Please! Then I remembered that Sedaris doesn’t like people to take his picture. Something about how he enjoys interacting with fans by talking with them, not through random snapping of pictures.

Like I just did.

So, then I ran away from David Sedaris, certain someone would come and throw me out of the theatre. In fact, I ran up the escalator to the second floor and hid inside a bathroom stall until right before the show started.

My hope is that at some point in the future, I read an essay by David Sedaris, maybe in the New Yorker or in one of his books, and he tells the story of a weird Canadian dude up in Toronto who snapped a picture of him and the ran away.

Wouldn’t that be the greatest thing? To be memorialized in one of his stories?

Paul Dore