Students have also been partial to selections like "Go Carolina," a monologue from Me Talk Pretty One Day about Sedaris's childhood struggle with a lisp, and "Cyclops," a chapter from Naked about the day Sedaris's father unintentionally blinded a child.
"I would say when judging a tournament, you'll see at least one Sedaris piece in three rounds of Humorous Interpretation," Allen wrote. Competition rounds often contain between six and eight competitors—so in his experience, roughly one out of every 18 to 24 performances evaluated in the "Humor" or "Humorous Interp" category, as it's sometimes called, are adapted from a David Sedaris work.
There are, though, some drawbacks to Sedaris's new plan to intentionally write material for teen orators. Holtschneider says he would actually steer his students away from any piece written specifically for forensics because it runs the risk of seeming pre-packaged. "Many kids don't want to take the time to cut a piece for themselves, so they jump on a piece that has already been written with time in mind," he says. "But I would usually recommend cutting a piece for themselves so that it's more 'their own.'"
Others might even avoid Sedaris's new oration-friendly material because it's already a few years behind what's trendy today in the world of high-school forensics. According to Chris McDonald, who coaches a high-school speech team in Eagan, Minnesota, judges have more recently started to favor more "character-driven" material over "narrative-driven" material like Sedaris's—that is, source material that showcases a presenter's acting skills, perhaps by including multiple characters, rather than his or her storytelling. "While Sedaris is still performed in high school competition," McDonald wrote in an e-mail, "I wouldn't say he is any more prevalent than, say, [playwrights] Christopher Durang or Don Zolidis."
And, of course, there's the inevitable backlash on the basis of simply being too mainstream. "Now that his pieces are so frequently used," Allen explains, "most intense competitors know to avoid them, unless they have some brand-new take on it."
It'll be the orators themselves who decide the fate of Sedaris's new forensics-specific monologues. And they'll have their opinions: On the National Forensics League's online forum, you can find years' worth of serious speech geeks' discussions of Sedaris's work, on pages with titles ranging from "Short Story Hall of Fame," "Best Memoirs," and "Best Proses Ever" to "Official Overdone Piece List."