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WEDNESDAY

Frequent This American Life contributor David Rakoff may indeed be a Kmart version of David Sedaris—Sedaris being unrivaled in the art of meting out just the right details in his brilliant first-person narratives—but that doesn’t mean the cynical self-loathing knockoff can’t kill with a punch line every now and then. In Fraud, a collection of the essayist’s sojourns into such fertile comic landscapes as soap operas, New Age retreats, and New Hampshire, the jokes work best when Rakoff takes it easy on us and goes after his own awkwardness (that is, when he’s not boasting about being a gay Canadian New Yorker). “The logic underlying the truism that one should always travel on a plane with a book is also precisely why bed-and-breakfast culture is to be avoided if at all possible. Namely, you might have to talk to someone. Talking to someone is not always a bad thing—a great deal of viable human contact demands it.” Alas, in the morning light of the B&B, the only salutation social-misfit Rakoff can muster is “Where’s the fucking coffee?” OK, so maybe he’s a Wal-Mart version of Sedaris. In any case, get your discount at 6:30 p.m. at the District of Columbia Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th St. NW. $10. (202) 518-9400. (Sean Daly)