Every “Pop Culture” Reference in David Sedaris’ Calypso

David Sedaris is the good kind of weird.  Sedaris talks about living in his beach house, the Sea Section, gives suggestions for elderly people who’ve fallen and can’t get up and identifies the appropriate tools for flinging snakes into oncoming traffic.  His writing is like reading the memoirs of a totally relatable madman. What is even more delightful about his newest collection, Calypso, are all of the pop culture Easter eggs nestled throughout the stories.   Like Lorelai and Rory roaming through Stars Hollow, Sedaris is fluent in snappy references.  Unlike Lorelai and Rory, Sedaris’ references tend to be a little obscure. Oh, you’re not well versed in niche Japanese clothing stores? Well, me neither.  However, researching these little pieces of pop culture gave me insight into Sedaris’ weird little brain. Below is every pop culture reference in David Sedaris’ Calypso.

Author’s Note: I have a very loose interpretation of the words “pop culture reference” and “every 

  1. Russell Crowe – page 6 – I wonder what Russell Crowe is up to?
  2. Playboy Magazine – page 20 – “The Ass Menagerie” is a great title
  3. Rock Hudson – page 33 – He’s 6’ 4” if you ever wondered his height
  4. Tom Hardy – page 34 – 5’9”
  5. Kenny Loggins – page 34 – 6’4”
  6. Jared Leto – page 34  – 5’9”
  7. Jimmy Carter – page 34 – 5’ 10”
  8. Mr. & Mrs Bridge – page 36 –  a Paul Newman film about a Kansas couple who grow old
  9. Fitbit – page 42 – AKA the ultimate conversation starter for me
  10. Obsessed – page 49 – I’m so jealous of this woman’s Fitbit steps. 
  11. Kapital – page 68 – a place where you can find stylish fashions like this: 
  12. Barry McGee – page 72 – an artist who creates gorgeous pieces like this:
  13. Jiminy Cricket – page 75 – more specifically his trousers
  14. Howard Hughes – page 83 – apparently he wore tissue boxes on his feet
  15. Southeastern Lard Pocket – page 100 – a mythical, but entirely possible souther staple
  16. SARS – page 107 – and so begins the long list of American fears
  17. Anthrax – page 107 – 💀
  18. H1N1 – page 107 – 💀
  19. Bedbugs – page 107 – 💀
  20. Ebola – page 107 – 💀
  21. Wood Interpretation Society – page 109 – inspiration for the world’s most adorable cover 
  22. Lipoma – page 111 – not really a pop culture reference, but I googled the word and I will forever regret it
  23. Godzilla – page 117 – also, the name of a lipoma eating snapping turtle
  24. Love Story – page 122 – Sedaris’ preferred death for his fictitious wife
  25. Foreigner – page 124 – preferred band for sappy first dance wedding songs
  26. Oscar Peterson – page 143 – sweaty piano player  
  27. Francis of Assisi – page 145 – the patron saint of animal wrangling or thereabouts
  28. Tammy the Fox – page 152 – a YouTube sensation with an extremely divisive comment sectionhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMykQDJ90kI
  29. Sorry! – page 162 – the board game for ruthless family members only
  30. Raquel Welch – page 166 – a poster the doesn’t fool anyone!
  31. The Exorcist – page 167 – a movie where opinions shift over time
  32. Scarriott – page 179 – the perfect name for a haunted Marriott
  33. Yoko Ono – page 179 – the perfect celebrity comparison for a sea lion’s face
  34. Donald Trump – page 185 – principle character in the chapter, “a number of reasons why I am depressed lately”
  35. The Art of the Deal – page 185 – a book that Trump pedaled
  36. Oprah – page 185 – host of Donald Trump…..back in the day
  37. Hamburgler – page 186 – hypothetical running mate for Trump
  38. Hillary Clinton – page 187 – alleged Illuminati member
  39. Prince – page 187 – died 2016
  40. Queen Elizabeth – page 187 – birthday = Prince’s death day…coincidence?
  41. Cher – page 189 – person who’s probably also depressed
  42. Intervention – page 198 – the finest programming A&E has to offer
  43. Murder, She Wrote – page 199 – wholesome television programming
  44. My 600 lb Life – page 202 – “I don’t want to have to bury my own child/sister/nephew etc.”
  45. Hoarders – page 202 – where there will definitely be crying, but not by the hoarder
  46. The Addams Family house – page 206 – how to describe homes that are not well-maintained  
  47. Carrie – page 214 – the appropriate movie to use to describe the embarrassment  of pooping yourself on an airplane
  48. La Quinta Inn – page 222 – where you can poop yourself unnoticed
  49. Four Seasons – page 222 – where pooping yourself is noticed
  50. Colonics- page 226 – a great way to remove all the pumpkin seeds in your butt
  51. James Comey – page 245 – known vacationer and memo-haver
  52. Brueghel – page 253 – a Flemish artist who creates gorgeous and depressing pieces like this:

But not gorgeous enough to keep in a cheap, plastic frame

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