Arts & Entertainment, Writing


David Sedaris

Lesson time 10:41 min

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.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Quote People, Exaggerate, and Insult Yourself • Your Life Is Worth Writing About


[MUSIC PLAYING] DAVID SEDARIS: I don't feel like I'm the kind of person who writes because the world needs to know what I have to say. I'm not an important person. I'm not a terribly bright person. There are plenty of people who are funnier than I am. But I never let that stop me. You have to be on fire you have to be burning. HOST: Please welcome to the stage David Sedaris. DAVID SEDARIS: I don't mean burning with the desire to make money, or to want to be a writer, or to want to be published, on fire for the very idea of it, fueled by it. You have to be on fire with the idea of words. I'm David Sedaris. And this is my MasterClass. You're so privileged to be a writer. You're so privileged. Because, normal people, something bad happens to them. And there's nothing they can do with it except feel bad, or complain, or press charges. When I first moved to Paris, I understood-- I went to French school. And I'd been in school for maybe a month. And then I was at the point where I could understand maybe one out of every 25 words that was said to me. So I have kidney stones. So I was by myself in Paris. And I had a kidney stone. And I looked up hospitals in the phone book. And I went to the hospital. And they gave me drugs and waited with me until the kidney stone passed. But they said, we'd like to do some follow-up tests, can you come by next week? So I went by next week. And a nurse took me to a dressing room. And she said, strip to your underpants. I had a book of medical French. So I knew that phrase. Strip to your underpants and then . And I said, what? And she said, strip to your underpants and then . You can only ask "what" three times, right. And I used up my third time. And then I went into this room. And I stripped to my underpants. And there was the door I came in. And then there were two other doors. So I opened one of them. And there was a waiting room. So I thought, oh, I guess she wants me to sit in the waiting room. So I sat in the waiting room. And I'm not talking about boxer shorts. I had briefs on, right? And they weren't new. So I sat in this room in my underpants. And a fully-dressed couple came into the room. And I thought, oh, my god, maybe I didn't come through the right door. And then more people came into the room. And it would be one thing if you were in the United States and they were wearing t-shirts that say "it's not going to lick itself" and a pair of gym shorts, right? But these were Parisians. And they were not only dressed but beautifully dressed. And I'm sitting there in my underpants as the room fills up with people. And I thought, one day, this will be funny. One day, I can write about this. And then the nurse came in and said, Mr. Sedaris, what are you doing? I told you to put a robe on, come with me. But I was afraid. I thought, you know, if I get up and I go back through that door, I'll look like an idiot. I'll look like I misunderstood. So to save face, I'...

About the Instructor

With essays in The New Yorker, bestselling books like Calypso, tours, and readings on NPR, David Sedaris is one of the most recognizable essayists alive. Now he teaches you the art of personal storytelling. Learn how David crafts attention-grabbing openings, satisfying endings, and meaning from the mundane—and how he uses humor to connect with others and process the difficult and sometimes dark aspects of everyday life.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

David Sedaris

NYT–bestselling author David Sedaris teaches you how to turn everyday moments into seriously funny stories that connect with audiences.

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