The Tipping Point

David Sedaris is back with a new collection of essays, "When You Are Engulfed in Flames." He spoke with NEWSWEEK'S Susanna Schrobsdorff.

You ' ve been living in France a long time. Can you be funny in French now?
Oh, yes. But I don't distinguish between being laughed with and laughed at. I'll take either.

Are you looking forward to coming back for the book tour?
I am, but once it starts, it's so all-encompassing. For the last book tour, I put a tip jar on my table, because you just have to make it fun. I didn't even do it every night and I made $4,000.

Do you do that for every tour?
You can only have one gimmick per tour, so when the hardcover of "[Dress Your Family in] Corduroy and Denim" came out, I offered priority signing to smokers because they had less time to live; therefore, their time was more valuable.

California just legalized gay marriage. Would you marry your boyfriend, Hugh?
We're sort of like people who wouldn't get married, and I know a lot of heterosexual couples who are the same way. But I would get married so I would never have to hear the word "partner" again. I like the word "boyfriend" … but anything beats "partner."