When it comes to audiobooks, there’s often no one who can do the text justice like the authors themselves (think Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, Neil Gaiman). They bring a deep understanding of the material as well as specific personal traits—impeccable comedic timing, a sense of gravitas, or a unique voice—that can elevate a recording and turn it into something truly special.
And then there are times when the medium of audiobook gives us a gift we could never have fully appreciated in book form. For example, author David Sedaris‘ hilarious, completely on point impression of Billie Holiday that he breaks out on the audiobook of Me Talk Pretty One Day. It’s something I never knew I needed in my life, and never would have known I was missing out on, had I not recently listened to the audiobook on a long car ride.
I have read Me Talk Pretty One Day many, many times and always giggled at the concept of a young Sedaris trying to impress his guitar teacher by singing jingles in the voice of the famed jazz singer. But actually hearing him croon a 1970s Chevrolet ad, or the Oscar Meyer Weiner song, is something else entirely. It’s snort-milk-out-your-nose, laugh-until-your-abs-hurt funny.
Don’t believe me? Listen for yourself:
“Giant Dreams, Midget Abilities” (song at 41:50)
And here’s the real Billie Holiday singing, in case you needed a refresher: