Author Chuck Palahniuk at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue

Chuck Palahniuk knows how to make an entrance. This slim and fit figure in his casual outfit and grey glasses, strode into the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue confidently with his coffee cup to loud cheers from a largely male audience. He set his coffee cup down and said into the mic, “This is awkward doing this in a church.” He quickly proved what he meant!

Palahniuk is in town with his Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread tour. He is promoting his Fight Club 2 from Dark Horse Comics and Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread.

Chuck Palahniuk. Photo by Allan Amato.
Chuck Palahniuk. Photo by Allan Amato.

He smiled to the crowd: “Here is how this is going down. I ask you questions, you ask me questions and not bad questions like, “What is Brad Pitt like?” and I’ll read three short stories. He smirked and claimed Maya Angelou and other famous authors handle book tours the same way he does.

Palahniuk then asked who in the crowd has a dog?  Hands shot up and a gal yelled, “I LOVE my dog.” He then launched a stuffed dog toy to her, and wanted to know, “Who in the crowd loves candy?”  e and his similar-dressed assistant comically threw large bags of candy to the crowd, up in the bleachers and down below. He had some trouble throwing the bags of candy to the bleacher audience above the stage twice which made the crowd giggle.  He wryly noted, “The difference between American audiences and Canadian audiences is that the Canadians share the candy.” He then asked, “Who had a birthday today or is about to?” and passed out skull-shaped piggy banks to several people.  He claimed the piggy banks’ retail value was $11.

Chuck Palahniuk. Photo by David Bertozzi.
Chuck Palahniuk. Photo by David Bertozzi.

Palahniuk then had the lights dimmed and he read a short story about the ‘birds and the bees’ with hilarious darkness and brilliant descriptions. Next he took a question from the audience.

The first audience question was, “Have you ever censored yourself when writing, and do you regret it?” Palahniuk seemed pleased by this question. He launched into a 5-minute explanation how it is better to tease the story than to outright say what it is about. “We want to be charmed and not have it be jarring.”

“Where do you draw the line?” Palahniuk interestingly shared how he will not do stories on harming animals, but overall this is a tough question to answer for him. He confided his publisher doesn’t want him answering that question.

If you’re a Palahniuk fan you definitely don’t want to miss his road show.  It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen with his keen wit with a touch of darkness.

Chuck Palahniuk appeared at 6th & I Street Synagogue – 600 I Street, NW, in Washington, DC. For future events, check their calendar of events.



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