Killing Christmas with an Alt-Right Play

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santaland

Last night, trying to salvage our train-wreck of a holiday season, I took my family to watch a duet of David Sedaris plays at Ocean Beach Playhouse. This turned out to be nearly as bad as losing my car keys. Now that Christmas is ruined, I’m skipping straight to New Year’s resolutions, and my first one is to actively call out micro-agressions and racism instead of quietly growing an ulcer over it.

When asked to “rate the experience,” I posted this review on the Ocean Beach Playhouse website:

The actors, especially the elf in Santaland Diaries, did as much as they could with the material, though I question their decision to perform it. The plays were appalling. We attended the last show on Sunday – you must remember us – we were the only four people of color in the audience.

Let me start out by saying I am so tired of that white folk disclaimer “This is not entirely PC so if you take offense, feel free to leave,” because what you’re REALLY saying is, “we know this is racist but we’re performing it anyway because damnit, we think it’s funny.” It is exhausting to be the only people of color in the room, exhausting to smile politely at racist punchlines, exhausting to watch an otherwise fine actor pull up the corners of his eyes the one time he talks about the Chinese.

And that was in the “funnier” piece.

The first play, Seasons Greetings was “edgier” because its running joke was the slutty ESL Vietnamese stepdaughter. One cliché fake accent joke is predictable. Forty minutes of it is verbal water torture. Did the play’s producers consider that San Diego has a significant Vietnamese population? Did anyone think that slutty Vietnamese bastard stepdaughter framed for infanticide by her racist white trash Southern mom was maybe not the best play for spreading holiday cheer?

Clearly not.

But you went there anyway, and so will I. Yes, OB Playhouse. That was a totally racist duet of plays you put on. Congratulations on raising the curtain on Trump’s America. You are way ahead of the curve.

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4 responses »

    • Clearly you don’t know the difference between fine satire and racist parody. In fact I know quite a bit about David Sedaris, having listened to him on NPR for many years and read a number of his books. I was such a tremendous Sedaris fan that after yesterday’s performance, I was convinced the playwrights had mangled his original script, because how could such a wonderful satirist write such racist drivel? So I went home and googled “is David Sedaris racist?” And this article popped up: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/jul/15/david-sedaris-chinese-food-chicken-toenails. Yup, a marvelous satirist but racist nonetheless.

      • Hi thanks for the post. Interesting article. We didn’t change his words or work. Listening to Sedaris on the radio is one thing…seeing his work presented on stage is another.

        Best,

        Jerry

  1. I answered the above blog via email.

    Different Stages would like to apologize if any of our audiences were offended. All productions are subjective and no two people think the same about any production.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year or simply Happy Holidays.

    JP

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