Sedaris Speaks at Skeggs

Participating in the Skeggs Foundation Lecture Series, David Sedaris entertained an audience at the DeYor Performing Arts Center on Oct. 30.  Sedaris, a writer and humorist known for quirky and insightful storytelling, enthralled fans with excerpts from several of his books.  Photo by Graig Graziosi/The Jambar.

Participating in the Skeggs Foundation Lecture Series, David Sedaris entertained an audience at the DeYor Performing Arts Center on Oct. 30. Sedaris, a writer and humorist known for quirky and insightful storytelling, enthralled fans with excerpts from several of his books. Photo by Graig Graziosi/The Jambar.

For more than 40 years, the Skeggs Foundation has introduced the Youngstown State University community to several renowned speakers — including Tom Brokaw, Jane Goodall and Bob Woodward — by hosting the Skeggs Lecture Series.

David Sedaris, a well-known humorist and author, spoke at the DeYor Performing Arts Center on Oct. 30 as part of the lecture series. Sedaris has published five books, and his satirical essays often appear in The New Yorker.

In his introduction to the lecture, YSU President Randy Dunn said that Sedaris has been called the “rock star
of writers.”

“Much of his humor is autobiographical, self deprecating and often concerns his family,” Dunn said.

During the lecture, Sedaris read passages from his new book “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls.” The audience laughed as Sedaris joked about everything from gun control
to cancer.

“I’m moving to a place where freedom still means something,” Sedaris said. “I’m just saying it is one of two states left where the mentally ill can legally own firearms. … Now they can carry or conceal everything a normal person can. If you don’t think a mental patient has a right to bring a sawed off shotgun to the church where people are protesting for gay marriage, you’re part of the problem.”

Audience members said they enjoyed the event. Alexandra Kovalchick said she traveled from Pittsburgh just to see Sedaris speak.

“The first book I read of his was ‘Barrel Fever,’” Kovalchick said. “I had never read a short story book before, so I loved that he had these extremely intense, extremely detailed stories that were just so perfectly timed with everything. … Now that I have heard his voice, and I read him, I can hear him saying everything and I get it more.”

Kovalchick said that she has another trip planned to see Sedaris next month in
New York.

“I am going to New York to see him in November. He’ll be at Carnegie Hall. Like, I bought the tickets; I asked off work; I made plans to stay with my girlfriends. Like, it’s happening,” she said.

Meghan Elliot from Alliance, Ohio, also responded positively to the
Skeggs lecture.

“I would like for David Sedaris to become my best friend,” Elliot said. “As much as I appreciate his written content, he was incredibly engaging just thinking on his feet and responding to what people were asking him. … It is more fun to hear it than to read it.”

The Skeggs Lecture Series was established in 1966 in memory of the late Leonard Skeggs who, as the general secretary of the YMCA, played an influential role in the development of Youngstown College and, later, Youngstown State University.

During the lecture’s introduction, Dunn thanked the Skeggs family for their continued support of the arts.

“[Leonard Skegg] clearly believed in sharing the arts and making the arts available to all,” he said. “We wanted to extend our thanks to the Skeggs family for what they do in support of the arts here at YSU.”

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