David Sedaris and the True Meaning of Blue Collar Comedy

“Blue collar comedy” is often viewed as synonymous with words like “dumb,” “cheap” and “Republican.” It was largely co-opted by Jeff Foxworthy’s low-brow comedy tour, and since then you really can’t discuss the humor that comes out of labor-work without everyone assuming you have a Support the Troops bumpersticker on your SUV.

David Sedaris stands out as the peacock in this grove of turkeys. While he may come from an upper-middle-class background, many of his stories chronicle his time as a college drop-out, trying to develop an artistic identity while working as a dishwasher, apple-picker, house-cleaner or, in the case of The SantaLand Diaries — the story that catapulted him into the NPR dynasty and the focus of a free program at noon today at the LoDo Tattered Cover — an elf working at Macy’s SantaLand during the holiday season. He may be an intellectual gay liberal, but as a humorist Sedaris is unendingly dark, sarcastic and accessible — a combination only truly earned through years as a blue-collar worker.

David Sedaris