David SedarisTeaches Storytelling and Humor

David Sedaris

Teaches Storytelling and Humor
14 Lessons, 12 min/lessonAll-levelsLesson Workbooks
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14 Lessons

Celebrated essayist David Sedaris teaches his approach to writing and storytelling with meaning, from finding ideas to connecting through humor.


A downloadable workbook with excerpts from David’s diaries, tips for essay writing, and prompts to get your humor juices flowing.


Learn on your own terms, at your own pace on mobile, desktop, or Apple TV.

Lesson Plan

  • 01


    Meet your new instructor: New York Times–bestselling author and humorist David Sedaris. David shares his thoughts on what you need to be a writer, how bad experiences become funny, and how everyone’s life is worth writing about.

  • 02

    Observing the World

    David teaches you how to ask better questions, let stories land in your lap, and not ruin the moment when an idea for a story is unfolding before you.

  • 03

    Turning Observations Into Stories

    Using examples from his own writing, David shows you how to take ideas from your diary and start expanding them into an essay.

  • 04

    Breaking Into a Story

    The opening line is everything. David talks through multiple failed openings to his essay “Understanding Owls” and discusses how he landed on the final, published version.

  • 05

    Connecting to Your Reader

    David gives you tips for making yourself relatable as a protagonist in your essays. He also covers how to structure the humor and content of your writing so that audiences can find something to connect to.

  • 06

    Writing About Loved Ones

    How do you put the people you care about in your essays without hurting them? David discusses this challenge and brings in his sister Lisa, who’s appeared in many of his essays, for an intimate conversation.

  • 07

    Story Evolution: "Active Shooter"

    Starting with a diary entry, David reads multiple drafts of the beginning of what eventually became his New Yorker essay “Active Shooter.”

  • 08

    Kitchen Sink Stories: Live in Cleveland

    Get a behind-the-scenes look at David’s workshop process while he’s touring and watch as he tries a piece for the first time at a public reading in Cleveland.

  • 09

    Ending With Weight

    Humor isn’t memorable when it doesn’t mean something. David teaches you how to turn your essay from a purely comedic piece into writing with meaning.

  • 10

    Revision Philosophy

    David shares his approach to rewriting, with an eye toward digging deeper into your stories and making the most of your funny moments.

  • 11

    Growing as a Writer

    David talks about how to learn from live readings, conduct readings of your own, and behave when your work is published in the world.

  • 12

    David's Influences

    David shares some of his favorite stories and writers and explains how to learn from them.

  • 13

    Conclusion: Two Groups of People

    To end, David gives you heartfelt advice about writing every day, not confusing writing with publishing, and just how possible it is to become a writer.

  • 14

    Bonus Reading: "The Spirit World"

    Watch a complete onstage reading of David’s essay “The Spirit World.”

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David Sedaris

Teaches Storytelling and Humor

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