Casting a Gimlet Eye on Christmas

In 1992 David Sedaris was simply David Sedaris, just another nobody cleaning apartments for a living. Sure, he was most likely the funniest dude out there swabbing strangers’ toilets, but who knew?

Then he took a job playing an elf at Macy’s for the holiday season. It did not go well. The job that is. Sedaris’s career is another story.

He wrote an essay about the experience called the Santaland Diaries. In it he lashed out at the holidays and humorously slammed the brakes on the saccharine overdrive of the season as only a very angry elfman could.

National Public Radio broadcast the essay. Sedaris published it in his first essay collection, Barrel Fever. He published it again in another essay collection called Holidays on Ice.

The essay was adapted for stage as a one-man show in 1996 by Joe Montello for the Atlantic Theater in New York city. Since then it has become a holiday staple, as ubiquitous as It’s a Wonderful Life, but with Zuzu’s petals replaced by a hard-drinking, red and green man, the stuff of Santa’s nightmares.

Many years ago the Vineyard was treated to a performance of the Santa-land Diaries by the actor Chris Brophy. This year he is returning to the Vineyard Playhouse in Vineyard Haven to delight the Island once again.

The show begins this weekend on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 12 at 4 p.m. Tickets are $15.

The show resumes on Thursday, Dec. 16 and runs all weekend. For exact dates and times, call 508-696-6300 or visit