I have a program on the BBC called Meet David Sedaris, they mispronounce my name on my own radio show that happens to me all the time with I get notario a lot.
Well, I would call you Tig Notaro. You called me, thing is to Tig Notaro, Tig Notaro. Yeah, it's just to kind of join the words together and then put the emphasis on the wrong syllables. So, Tig Notaro. Yeah, well, let's get started.
OK. This is Don't Ask Tig BTIG, I'm Tig Notaro. Who's asking, we are not. Yeah. Here to help me give advice today is David Sedaris. He's a very funny writer and fellow public radio personality, may be one of us is a bigger radio personality than the other.
But who's to say right, David, I take hi.
Actually, I would say I haven't been I haven't been on NPR.
And while I'm mainly on the BBC now, well, I feel like anywhere you go, you're kind of the big shot. So I'm going to hand that over to you. Now, David, you and I both have been on this American life. We actually had IRA on this show earlier this year. Do you think you'll be giving better advice than IRA Glass did?
Oh, yeah, I do. I think so, too. I can tell your confidence.
Well, somebody asked me on stage one night, they said, what's the worst advice you've ever given? And I said, I told a woman who is pregnant that she needed to get an abortion. And the next day her husband was killed in a car accident. And the audience went like made that really sullen sound. And it wasn't true.
And I just during their during their stunned silence, I wondered what it would be like if it was true.
Gee, that would have been bad advice.
You know, as a comedian, I don't know how you feel doing live performances, but do you do you enjoy the show or the.
Oh, or any of that stuff?
Because as a comedian I don't like an oh yeah. That's like I was on this. I'd go on this television program in Chicago a couple while I was on a book tour. And so I had to go on this daytime television show and I don't know anything about daytime television. It was on like a local daytime television show hosted by you, wildly attractive man and a woman. And they said to your father is still alive and how old is he?
And I said at the time, like, my father was ninety five. And the audience went, oh. And I said, my sisters and I look at him and like, What are you still doing here?
It was horrified, but I just want to kind of wanted to punish him for making that sound because I think that's the worst getting that sound.
It's like you are showing like you're showing someone a baby picture. Exactly, I always tell audiences, do you think I really got up, flew to your town, took a shower and drove out here to the venue to get an entire room full of. Oh, that's not that's not the aim for the evening, but.
Well, I know I know you're supposed to be on a forty five city book tour and then the coronavirus obviously took over. And I'm assuming you've been in some version of lockdown.
I mean, I can't do what I would normally do, you know, I mean, I went to a warehouse and I signed 12000 books, you know? I mean, it's not I like a book tour. I like going to bookstores and meeting people and all that. So I just can't I hate this. And it feels really weird to have a book out and not be out in support of it.
I was going to say, I'm assuming the twelve thousand books were your own books. Yeah, I've had a fantasy of doing a bit of a I've had a fantasy of doing a book signing where I just sit next to a stack of random books and just sign them.
It takes 20 hours to sign 12000 books. Oh, my God. The level you have reached as a a writer. I mean, do you find it difficult to find something new to write about or.
No, I mean I mean, I don't imagine you find it hard to find things to talk about. I don't.
But I, I do have moments where I think where is that piece that I'll hopefully write again, that will that will really excite me the way that this old piece did. Or I always am scared. I'm not going to find that again.
Yeah, I think everybody is. Yeah, they're scared of that for me. And so with your with your time that you've had during the pandemic, is there anything new, interesting or different? You've been doing something.
You know, I don't it's been years since I've spent this much time with you. You know, my boyfriend, we just had our 30th anniversary. Wow. Like a couple of weeks ago.
But I had to spend this much time with him since probably I ever know because I would be leaving and I would be going on tour. And so we really haven't had more than a few days away from one another since this all happened. And I got to say, I went a lot better than I thought it would.
Well, that's nice to hear. Yeah.
I mean, I like him and everything, but I just worried that we would discover something about one another that we had never seen before and realised that we each made a horrible, horrible mistake. But it didn't happen.
Now, David, do you I you have gifted me with one of the greatest stories that I get to tell.
People and I was performing in Edinburgh, Scotland. Maybe five, six, seven years ago and I got off stage and a woman came up to me and said, David Sedaris is in town. He couldn't make it to your show, but he would like to know if you would meet him for dinner tonight.
Yeah, yeah, and and I didn't know who this person was, I didn't know if I was being lured somewhere to be murdered, and then I took a taxi to the address and I saw you standing outside and I thought, well, I'll be damned. There's David Sedaris.
And I went inside and had dinner with you because we both had shows on that week. We did. But it was a very exciting, flattering moment for me. And it is something that when I tell people that story, I can feel how jealous they are.
Well, the food was good, don't you think? It was so good. And we had, I think, a five hour dinner.
It was long. My friend Patsy was there. She happened to be in town. So she was there, too.
Yes. Anyway, I wanted to thank you for that that gift where I get to really drop your name and impress people.
Well, I get to do the same. All right, David.
So are you ready to try and solve some people's problems? I sure am. All right. Question one comes from Barry. I suspect my sister in law gifted me expired chocolate for my birthday. The chocolate was pale, whitish brown dust, and the pecans were also disintegrating. It's quite possible that it's been sitting around for years. I would like to make clear that this isn't about money. She can afford to buy a box of chocolates. I feel insulted and hurt when I receive items like this.
In the past, I've received expired wine from her. Frankly, I'd rather not receive a gift at all. Any advice on how I should handle this?
Well, I didn't know one could expire. I don't think I knew that either. I mean, I thought it just got better. But this afternoon we had some somebody come over to the house and we said, can we get you anything? And he said, Oh, I'll have some water. And I said, Oh, he uses that water in the refrigerator. And he said, I think. Said Walter. OK, David, you're cutting out can you hear me?
Let me try this right here, guys. I'm sorry about that. That's not a problem. Let's see, OK? OK, does it sound like a telephone? No, I think it's OK that it sounds like a telephone, right? You were you were laugh, you were laughing, saying you didn't know wine expired and that Hugh.
Oh, I didn't know that wine could expire. But then Hugh and I had a guest today and the guy asked for some water. And the people who we bought the apartment for left all this bottled water in the refrigerator. And I said, oh, Hugh, there's that. And he said, I think it might have expired. And I thought that was so silly that anyone would think that water would expire. I mean, if it was enough, you know, if it was in a canteen, you know, for a number of years, I could see how it might have a sour taste to it.
But I think that this water was just fine. It's really, really hard to tell somebody you don't like their gift. But at the same time, most of the people I know who hate Christmas. The problem is that they never set anyone straight. Right. Like when I got together with Hugh, I said to him right away, let me tell you why this is not an acceptable gift. You know. You know, the buttons are hidden on this shirt.
I don't like a hidden button or the collar is too big or the collar stands too high or it's like, you know what? Yes, I like taxidermy, but I have standards, you know, so I get really, really great. Yes, but this is a little bit tricky because you can't tell your sister in law that you'd rather just not get her crummy gifts. I think what you need to do is just go tit for tat, really, and give her expired things as well.
You know, like old cans of Hawaiian punch from like nineteen seventy two or pineapple in the can. That's expired. That would taste pretty bad.
You could also take food off the table. I mean that could just you could like how you're saying the directness that you used with humor about buttons and shirt collars.
You could say that you're not interested in in food, but thank you.
And well then she's just going to give you a candle that the sun melted and it's. Oh, yeah. Where the wind was.
You can't be you have to dig the wick out of there. That's true.
I'm so curious what Berry's sister in law, what her financial situation is, because when he says that it's it has nothing to do with money, I almost wonder if this person is potentially even wealthy.
I bet she has a gift closet and she goes to the gift closet and I have a gift closet. And it's things it's a lot of things. Sometimes I just see something and I just buy it and I think I'll figure out who to give it to later. Or sometimes people give me a gift and it's nice and everything is just not necessarily me. Right. So I put that in my gift closet as well. So probably the sister in law has a gift closet to this, reaches in there.
She says chocolate fine. And she doesn't know that it was like the pharaoh's chocolate or doesn't care or doesn't check to see. Obviously, he doesn't mean that much to her. Right. That's what her gifts say. Berry, I hope your holiday season is full of non expired chocolate.
More questions after the break.
David, our next question is what I call her boy Hanway.
That means it's a difficult one. You think you can hang with us? Sure. All right. Writes, My son is 12 and still believes in Santa. Last year, I thought middle school would straighten him out. But alas, then distant learning happened. Should I tell my son the truth or keep the dream alive?
I met a woman at a book signing her godmother when her godmother was young. Her family convinced her that if she was naked, she was invisible when she was a little girl. And so they would be sitting in the kitchen and she would walk into the kitchen naked. I'm up on the kitchen counter and getting to the candy, or she would come to the kitchen naked and pull a chair up to the refrigerator and start drinking coke. Everybody went along with it.
Nobody said anything. And that to me is such a charming story. And I love to imagine her as a teenager walking down the front steps of the house and outside naked, you know, sneaking out with their friends except feeling like she didn't have to sneak.
I wouldn't tell your son that Santa doesn't exist.
I mean, I think that's beautiful that he's 12 and still believes in Santa.
Yeah, there doesn't seem to be a real pressing reason to get in there. I mean, other than, you know, being concerned about bullying or something.
But if that hasn't happened, it doesn't seem to be something to to worry about.
What are you in junior high by 12 years old? I think if you're in junior high school and you think I'm going to ask Santa for a skateboard, I think your friends just assume that you're being ironic. That's true. I wouldn't even worry about it in a bullying way. I think that's a beautiful thing and I don't think she should touch it. Great. And that's a damn good advice.
And what about what about you, David? Did you ever believe in Santa or was there a moment that you realized there was no Santa?
Yeah, no, I believed in Santa. And I don't remember at the moment that it occurred to me. That he didn't exist, but it wasn't traumatizing. I was in high school watching Psycho for the first time and my sister Lisa came into the room and said it's him dressed as a mother. I couldn't believe it. Like, that was shattering to me. But the Santa thing, I could I could deal with it.
So she was so horrible when she was younger.
Uh, well, Susanna, all all will be fine.
David, the next question is it's a Caronna conundrum.
Are you at all concerned about the coronavirus? No, not really. We know that mandatory maskin work literally cannot mandate somebody to wear a mask, must not leave the house for any reason, unless, of course, you have a reason and then you may leave the house. Becks asks, I finally started to reach huge career milestones when I conducted a Broadway musical in New York City last year. Now I've been unemployed since March and Broadway will remain closed, possibly for another year because of the virus.
I feel sad most days and feel like I'm grieving. While I can't work, perform and support myself, how do I keep myself hopeful for a future? That is no doubt what so many people are experiencing.
That's a hard thing conducting, right? Like so that's something you can't just do when you're living right. But you know what? And I know this sounds really. Sony, but nothing feels better than helping people. Mm hmm. I mean, if you're depressed, I feel like the best way to get out of it is by helping people, by volunteering, by doing something that can improve the life of somebody else. And then people are just going to think you're Christ.
Like, when you talk about it, when you say, you know, I didn't even have the subway fare, so I walked 200 blocks. That's true. So I could empty someone's colostomy bag.
I was thinking about this recently, how there's so many comedian friends of mine that are up and coming. They're so concerned about how their career was on the brink of something that felt bigger and then the pandemic happened. And and so I think that and of course, Becks knows this, but so many people's lives are on hold.
And you can only assume that once it gets going again, that it will likely pick up in a very similar way that it left off because nobody's getting ahead of you. Everybody's just frozen in time to some degree. But I feel like if I can give some out there advice, what I would want to do or maybe.
Could see myself doing I have no idea what vexes personality is like, but I could see myself. Especially since you're in New York City, go on a rooftop somewhere and bring your record player up there, your boom box, and blare your music and conduct. Just the city of New York, I have no idea what your setup is, but that would be a fun thing, I think. In these times, does that seem insane to you, David, on mushrooms, on mushrooms?
Yeah, I think it's going to make sense without the mushrooms.
I've never done mushrooms and so many people. Oh, really, no, I must. Oh, yes. Yeah, you got to try it and you just have to be in nature and plan for it and go to a beautiful spot in nature. Oh, it just it just changes everything. But so many people I've heard so many people say people will never go to Cedars again. Those days are over. People will never fill the restaurant again those days.
And I don't believe that for one second. I think the moment people are allowed to go back to what they were doing before, they'll do it.
People already doing it, even before they're allowed to go back. They're doing it.
Yes, but I agree no one's going to jump ahead of you. So but I feel awful for that part that I just feel awful for people like that. You know, they just got a part in a Broadway show. Josh, my heart really goes out to that person. But the thing is, when you help people, when she's OK, you help people. But then you've got to get somebody else to tell everybody that you help people, because when you tell them yourself, then it doesn't sound good.
It kind of takes away the glory of it. You've got to get somebody else to say that day that I can't believe that, you know, he's got so little time, but what little time he does.
I just saw him give a sack of gold to a harp player. Because you kind of need everybody to know it's like a tree falling in the forest. Well, why don't we offer to be that for Becs Tigan, David? Oh, sure. We'll make sure to to spread the news.
If you keep in touch with us, Becs, let us know about your rooftop musical or symphony, whatever you're conducting, and also the good that you do and the gold that you distribute. And David Sedaris and myself will definitely put the word out that you've been doing good.
You know, in America, you would say, oh, stop blowing your own horn shingling. They say, I can't get them to blow his own trumpet. I like I like that. Better blow your own trumpet.
Well, yeah, that's the perfect case of telephone. Right. It starts out blow your own trumpet and then it gets to the states and it's blow your own horn.
Well, I heard somebody else. I heard somebody say, gee, you can't say anything anymore. You know, everyone's workin on potato chips. And I like that so much better than walking on eggshells.
Oh, I just immediately picture the potato chips still in the bag and a big pop when you step on them. But Becks, hang in there. I have faith and I have faith in Becs. I think he's going to come out of it. And I also think that the world is is going to wait for Becs. David, our next question is about defining the relationship. This is from Viv. I'm a 56 year old widow. I am now in a new relationship with a 54 year old man named Kevin.
My question is, how do I introduce him? Boyfriend is ridiculous at our age. Significant other as pompous. My mother's suggestion is gentleman friend, but she's 92 years old. I don't know.
I'm a firm believer in boyfriend. You know, I'm I still say it. And I know all these well-meaning people want to say, partner, you know, like they heard somebody say partner. And so then they think, oh, that's the thing to do. Like. I don't know how you feel about this, but, you know, we're clear now and I'm not. I mean, I'm not queer, I'm gay, but everybody but now you're supposed to say queer and so people say queer because they think, you know, they're well-meaning people and they're trying to say the right thing.
And so and it's like no one ever asked me. Right?
Well, somebody asked me on a flight. I was like, this was the craziest. And I know they meant well, but. I was sitting there and the flight attendant came up and asked what pronoun I would like and I was a little thrown off and I, I just said, oh, she her. And I said, but also, why aren't you asking everybody else on this flight? It was it was so uncomfortable.
And it was it was a moment of not making an assumption, but making an assumption.
But well-meaning people, someone told them. And so they think, OK, this is what we should be doing now. And so I say boyfriend. And I don't care how old I am.
I like boyfriend because I think that, you know, when you see two not that these people are in their 90s, they're 56 and 54.
But when I see a couple in their 80s or 90s and they say boyfriend and girlfriend, I love that I get such a kick out of that. I think it's fun.
Gentleman friend does sound like actually it sounds like you're in your hundreds if not passed away.
But I mean, that's better than many. But partner to me is more like you're living together and you're but if you're dating, then just either say this is timothee we screw or this is Timothee. We've been going out for a few years now. Yeah, we're big. And this is Timothee. Don't you dare sleep with him. He's taken or this is my timothee. Here's my timothee. I always like how the British say that. They'll say like, oh how is our Laura?
But when you say my friend, that doesn't that just sounds like you're trying to hide something.
Yeah, it seems unusually suspicious. This has always been a process, been a problem for decades. Well, you know what I'm going to say? You know what I'm going to say if it's that much of a problem, Marium, and then just say, this is my husband, if it's that much of a problem for you. And that's good advice.
All right, Viv, congratulations on your new gentleman friend that you're screwing.
David, those were all of the listener questions we had today. But there is one more person that you and I have to help before you go. And it's OK. Someone named Unlucky in quotes, and it's from almost 100 years ago.
This is. Advice of yesteryear. When Jerry brags about taking Jenny out, he learns that she dates all the boys. So as we say now, menstruation is just one routine step in a normal and natural cycle. How do you choose a date?
Well, one thing you can consider is, look, I did everything you said, but my boss still hasn't asked me to lunch. Here we take a real question from an old advice column and we try to give a better answer, this question comes to us from 1927. Here goes Dear Dorothy Dix. I'm a young man and have been keeping company with a typical flapper for three years. I love this girl very much, but she has an entirely different point of view from myself about life.
She knows that I'm saving my money to go into business for myself, but she's always asking me to lend her money to buy clothes. She never returns the money.
She's very extravagant. And when I refuse to give her money, she calls me a tightwad and refuses to speak to me. Do you think she really loves me? Do you think that if I marry her, we will be happy and have a peaceful home signed unlucky? I mean, I personally feel like this flapper doesn't really love unlucky.
If, you know, if it was a modern question, it would be like, but the sex is great. What do I do? Right. But if it was one hundred years ago, you can't mention that aspect of it. And I'm going to guess. But when I read between the lines there, I'm thinking the sex is pretty good and otherwise he would have cut her loose already. I'm guessing that the thrill of the sex is wearing off.
And now he's like, oh, wait a minute, she always wants money from me. Maybe she doesn't love me. Yeah.
At first it was fun to be with this crazy old flapper. And now, yeah, all of that's worn off and he's just got this gold digger.
Well, I think he's kind of a square, too. I get the idea that he's kind of a square and that it would be the same thing. Like, you know, if the question was was from one hundred years ago, she's like, exciting, you know, she's like a hippie chick, you know, in the 1960s. She's like new and now and vibrant and and, you know, when he's kind of saving his money up to go into business, he doesn't say what the business is, but I don't know, don't sound like it's going to be too terribly exciting.
And she's young and he's you know, she's probably thinking, well, you know, this is we'll get something out of it. So she doesn't love it. Yeah. And he needs to go and find someone. You know, there are plenty of women out there who, you know. Oh, that's great. He saved his money to go into business. And I'll just wear this sack dress until, you know, his business gets off the ground.
And I'll just just, you know, just eat one meal a day instead of two. But I wish that he he would have included more detail of their relationship because it sounds in the in his letter, like like we just go out and we go to restaurants and sometimes we hold hands and we go dancing sometimes. And now she wants this money from me. And I think every generation thinks they invented sex. You know, my mother said that to me, why do you kids think you invented sex?
And it was so shocking to hear that from my mom because I thought didn't we didn't we invent it? And no, of course we did.
In this segment about yesteryear, I'm always I'm always reminded that we're basically essentially talking about corpses, because this is so long ago, nearly 100 years ago. And but here here here's what Dorothy Dix said. The chances are that your guardian angel will save you and that this girl will leave you for some man who is easier to work, she's just a gold digger. See, as I said, and the only thing about any man that she is capable of loving is his pocketbook.
I mean, Dorothy Dix sniffed this one out years ago.
She didn't really hear the term gold digger anymore than the.
David, thank you so much for taking the time to do this. I was going to say I know you're a busy guy, but it sounds like maybe you're not.
No, I'm not busy. But I will say I think I dispensed some damn good advice.
You jumped in and really answered every single question with such confidence. And like, you know what you're talking about.
It's as if you're a writer or something like this.
But hearing your voice and hearing your thoughts is just such a. A really incredible reminder of raw, raw, amazing talent you are, and it's just really inspiring, I, I I'm I'm jealous of your brain and and I'm thankful for your time. I'm blushing. Yeah. Thank you so much. And would you like to to plug your book before we head out of here?
I don't need to. Well, then I'm going to David's book. The Best of Me is available. Everywhere that books are sold, you can send in your own questions that don't ask BTIG and we might try to answer them on a future episode or we have a brand new option to send us questions. You can now call eight three three two seven five eight four four four.
That's eight three three. Ask Tig for leave me a voicemail.
That's an option to these days. And again, that's don't ask Tig to reach us with your questions. Thank you, David, and I hope to see you again, whether it's Scotland or elsewhere. Fleisig.
That's what Joe. Don't ask, BTIG is hosted by me, Tig Notaro. It's produced by Thomas Willette, Mary and Tracy Mumford. Our editor is Phyllis Fletcher, executive producer Lauren D. Engineering and Sound mixing by Eric Rachmani, digital production by Christina Lopez. Talent Booking by Marianne Wei's Production Assistants by Nancy Schuh. Our theme music is Friend in Tig by Edie Brickell and Kyle, Crush Them and Listen To Your Heart by Edie Brickell. Special thanks to Hunter sideman Lily Kim and Alex Shaffer.
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