Author brings laughter to Norton

by Life Editor Tyler Hargett

Something funny happened on the night of Sept. 19 at Norton Auditorium. That something was Dave Barry.

Barry, a Pulitzer-Prize winning humorist, drew loud bursts of applause and even more of laughter, filling up an hour with lots of jokes.

After the event, Barry did free book signings and allowed photo opportunities.

The speaking fell upon International Talk Like a Pirate Day, which Barry has helped popularize. To celebrate, he began his speaking with a hearty “Arrgghh!”

Barry went on to discuss his home of Miami, with topics including how its citizens drive, hurricane season and how crazy the state is overall.

“It’s the only place I’ve ever lived where the driver’s manual shows you how to give the (middle) finger,” he said.

The state is the topic of one of Barry’s newest books, “Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland.”

He further showcased his comedic talent outside of writing by poking fun at the TV series “Lassie” and North Dakota.

“Do not mess with North Dakota,” he told the audience.

Barry said he speaks this from experience after an article he wrote about the state resulted in getting a sewage lifting station named after him there.

However, he still took time to make more jokes about the state.

“In North Dakota, they lift (sewage),” he said. “That’s how bored those people are.”

He said he used to be a news reporter but was not the best at it.

“I didn’t really like being a reporter because reporters have to talk to people.”

He then described his current job as a humorist.

“I sit around in my underwear and make things up,” he said. “It’s a lot like being a consultant.”

He said he has embarrassed his kids more than others because of his career, including the time he picked his son up at middle school in one of the Oscar Meyer Wienermobiles.

Other topics Barry spoke about included politics, aging and relationships.

He said his favorite column that he ever wrote was about a famous Oregon incident where the state highway division attempted to dispose of a dead whale washed up on shore with dynamite, which resulted in onlookers covered in rotting blubber.

This event is part of UNA’s Distinguished Events Series, which has brought various authors and performers to campus since 2005.