David Rakoff, 1964-2012
This American Life:
“Stiff as a Feather, Light as a Board” (from the recent live performance)
“Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace”
“The Christmas Freud”
“Into America” (@13:22)
“Buzz, Pick Up the Phone!” (@9:00)
“Rainy Day Blues” (@10:15)
David Rakoff’s radio work contains some of the most memorable, and poignant (and sometimes just plain weird) moments I’ve ever heard. His storytelling is on par with David Sedaris, and his delivery was always unique and unmistakable.
I’ve included links to a few of my favorite performances of his from This American Life and Wiretap. His “Christmas Freud” piece from TAL is every bit as bizarre and interesting as Sedaris’ famous “Santaland Diaries” (and was featured on the same episode). His Wiretap bits are particularly unique. My favorite is “Rainy Day Blues,” where Jonathan calls customer service to complain about his new hair trimmer only to find that the customer service center, corporate office and manufacturing plant are all… David Rakoff. I also enjoyed his segment, featured on “Buzz, Pick Up the Phone!” where he demonstrates how he’s better at job interviews after having a few drinks.
Rakoff died this week after a long battle with cancer. If you’ve never heard his work, take the opportunity at some point to give him a chance. You won’t be disappointed.