By Matt Fleming
Only the people who arrived 45 minutes early to humorist Christopher Moore’s book tour stop at Politics & Prose on Monday night got seats. The rest stood in every last bit of available space in the book store.
Nearly 300 devoted readers stood on chairs, in corners and lined the book aisles, cramming into Washington, D.C.’s Politics & Prose to celebrate the release of Moore’s newest book “Sacré Bleu.”
Moore discussed many topics, from politics, to colonoscopies, to Bob Marley’s granddaughter.
One thing he rarely talked about was the book he’s promoting. He flirted with reading a passage, but never committed.
His book tour most closely resembles a standup comedy routine, which accurately reflects the style of his literature; readers of Moore have come to expect this.
From the onset, Moore effortlessly drew laughter from the crowd with one-liners and anecdotes.
“I have no idea what I’m going to talk about,” Moore said. “I mean, I just wrote a book about the color blue. Well, I am happy to be in D.C. I don’t know why.”
Monday night was Moore’s fourth time at the independent book store. Politics & Prose event coordinator Mike Giarratano said he’s approached 20 to 30 times a day by publishers and authors to schedule events, but can only schedule about 40 per month.
“Someone like Moore, we saw him with a new book and sought him out,” Giarratano said.
Moore joked about George W. Bush and accused the audience of having spies. He claimed that best-selling author James Patterson had Vietnamese kids in his basement writing for him.
He also talked about recently meeting the granddaughter of reggae-legend Bob Marley, which gave him the idea of a Disney movie, “The Rastafarian Princess — Granddaughter of the Zion King.” Moore said such random experiences are his primary source of inspiration.
Moore thanked one anonymous reader’s email which read, “The news of your book’s release brightened a day that included a kitchen fire and a colonoscopy” with, “Well, if your colonoscopy involves a kitchen fire, you need to seek another medical professional.”
There was rarely a serious moment during the night, although he briefly mentioned that “Sacré Bleu” starts with the death of Vincent van Gogh and centers on many of the remaining French impressionists.
Moore has a legion of followers who treat a sighting of him like a call to action. Rachel Kovel, who has read all 13 of his books, was attending her fifth book release.
“’A Dirty Job‘ was the first book I got signed,” she said. “In it, he kills the character Rachel in the first chapter. When I was getting my book signed I said, ‘Thanks for killing me in the first chapter,’ so he wrote, ‘Here’s to happy endings.’”
“I was worried that he would be the kind of guy that is funny when he writes but boring in real life,” said Lizzie Bontrager, who was seeing Moore live for the first time. “But this really pumped up my jam.”
Bontrager has only read two of Moore’s books, “Fool,” an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “King Lear, and “Lamb,” the story of Jesus’ adolescent friend Biff, the benchmark by which all of his books are compared by most readers.
“I’m blown away,” she said. “I can’t wait to read more of his stuff. I feel like it will enhance the man I just heard.”