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Video chat with Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry

February 06, 2013|by Carolyn Kellogg
  • Dave Barry chats with the Los Angeles Times' Carolyn Kellogg.
Dave Barry chats with the Los Angeles Times' Carolyn Kellogg. (Screenshot )

The very funny Dave Barry joined us for a video chat from his home in Florida. During our conversation, he turned his laptop so that we could see his pool and his writing desk, where he once found a snake sitting on his can of Diet Coke.

Snakes are just one of the Florida-ific peculiarities in Barry's new novel, "Insane City." The book, his first solo novel for adults in a decade, is what he joined us to talk about. Both hilarious and serious, it's the story of the destination wedding of Seth, a relatively ordinary guy, and his wealthy, high-achieving fiancée.

Barry told us that he was inspired to write the book by his son's wedding and the perspective it gave him on the "wedding industrial complex," which tends to drive brides-to-be to the brink of sanity. The book doesn't stop there -- or maybe it doesn't quite get there? -- as things go awry on the way to the altar.

The story includes underachieving groomsmen, a man who walks around Miami with a python slung across his shoulders, a Haitian refugee who barely makes it to shore with her two children and the people who try to figure out how to help them, Barry explains.

He tells us more about the book: Attendees at the rehearsal dinner are accidentally served brownies made with medical marijuana. And then there's the orangutan.

Barry also talked about what it's been like writing his column for the Miami Herald for more than 25 years, and more about his writing in general. And that's when he got around to showing us where the snake was sitting on his desk. Watch the video to the end to see him demonstrate how he removed it with a set of barbecue tongs.

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