A Q&A with an angry elf

by Lenise Willis

If you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes while kids are visiting Santa at the mall, Crumpet, from David Sedaris’ sarcastic, comedic and R-rated essay The Santaland Diaries, reveals all the naughty details. Of course, the out-of-work actor took the shameful job in desperation, so his opinions aren’t exactly filled with holiday cheer.

Y!W: You talk a lot about hating the commercial holiday season. What annoys you the most about the holidays?

Crumpet: Oh that’s easy; the holiday season itself.

Y!W: How do you get through the holiday season; what do you do to bear it?

Crumpet: [I use] plenty of anxiolytic and psychotropic drugs first thing in the morning, followed by, let’s see, my favorite foreign delicacies, mostly from Russia coming largely from distilleries. And then a lot of chocolate — the dark kind.

Y!W: What’s the worst or most humiliating part about being a mall elf?

Crumpet: The worst part about being a mall elf? Um, creating a Dutch oven within your costume. Serious. In other words, not being in a position for long stretches of time to unzip and air things out.

Y!W: What’s the most uncomfortable part of your elf costume?

Crumpet: The inevitable series of wedges one gets from having to stand around all day wearing tight-fitting leggings, like the ones we have to. It doesn’t matter, tighty whitey or not, eventually, you stand around wearing those things and everything’s going to creep upwards. It’s the bizarre opposite of gravity. Everything just moves north — and tightly.

Y!W: What is your most memorable experience as a mall elf?

Crumpet: I would say, first, getting the job in the first place. Secondly, keeping it for as long as I have. I guess the most memorable moment was when a group of rabbis came in to Macy’s and asked if I was a Jewish elf, and that if I wasn’t, would I be interested in learning more on how to become one. For the record, I am still considering their proposition and am independently consulting the Talmud for further advice.

Y!W: What advice would you give to parents who take their kids to see Santa?

Crumpet: Get the guys real name and check the sex-offender list. You want the truth, that’s the truth. You want a less naughty answer?

Y!W: As an irritable or naughty mall elf who sometimes gets annoyed with the parents and children visiting Santa, what rules do you think the parents should follow?

Crumpet: How about some anti-advice?

Don’t ask [Santa] to babysit. And if necessary maybe provide him with a wee-wee pad.

Y!W: What advice would you give to people who lack holiday spirit this season?

Crumpet: Baby, if you don’t feel it, you don’t feel it. The worst thing would be to force yourself to have feelings you don’t have. And when in doubt always go for the opposite. Sometimes if you go far enough in the opposite direction, it will turn into just the kind of spirit everyone’s aggressively cheering you on to have.…Or, I guess, chin up, look forward and [make] hearty toasts.

Y!W: What can visitors expect if they come to see you in the UpStage Cabaret?

Crumpet: I’m gonna get them hard and keep them hard forever — hard in laughing. Seriously, I think they will not be bored, I hope, and even if they are they should know they’ll be out within an hour. And seriously, genuinely, I think they’ll have a good, healthily anti-holiday-cheer time.


Crumpet will be sharing his naughty tales and ideas about the holiday season in Triad Stage’s UpStage Cabaret, 232 S. Elm St., Wednesday through Saturday. Friday and Saturday have 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. performances. Tickets for The Santaland Diaries are $15-$20. For tickets and more information visit www. or call 336.272.0160.