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David Sedaris never liked Chinese food. Then he went to China, and he really didn’t like Chinese food. His essay about it, Chicken Toenails, Anyone? was published in the Guardian and was criticized as disrespectful, xenophobic, and even racist. 

This week we were lucky enough to chat with Sedaris and get his reaction. He said if he were worried about keeping his humor PC he couldn’t be an honest about his experiences, and wouldn’t get as many laughs. “I always figure that the thing you can admit that’s most embarrassing is the thing that most people can relate to,” he explained. “Because we’re not that different, really.”

We also asked whether he considers himself an LGBTQ activist. He told us, “the way I write about my relationship is just about trying to make a life with somebody, and anybody can relate to it. It’s not important that I’m trying to make that life with another man. It’s just important that I’m trying to make that life with another person.”

We also spoke more broadly about his life and work, LGBTQ visibility in pop culture, why speech therapy classes are full of gay children, and whether marriage equality will lead to an increase in annoying destination weddings. “I think gay people should get the right to marry,” he said. “And then I think none of us should act on it.”

David Sedaris will be in Louisville on April 18 at the Kentucky Center.

Subscribe to the Strange Fruit podcast here or here.

Laura produces Curious Louisville, Strange Fruit, and other audio news stories for WFPL.