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What Not to Buy John Waters for Christmas, and Other Pressing Holiday Questions

"When someone sends me a pear, I am really furious. I can afford a pear."

Photograph of Waters by Patrick Semansky/AP Images.

John Waters‘s one-man show at The Birchmere has become a local nontraditional tradition (December 20, $55). We sat down with the beloved Baltimore auteur for some thoughts on the season.

What to give:

“I don’t think you can ever go wrong with books. I like to find old books in weird bookshops. You know, I collect weird novelizations of bad movies and cheesy sex books from the ’60s. So there’s always a perfect gift for the right kind of person.”

What not to give:

“Gift baskets have the wrong stuff in them. When someone sends me a pear, I am really furious. I can afford a pear.”

If the holidays are hard:

“You can laugh. For some, Christ­mas is terrible. Humor will get you through. Even if you go broke at Christmas, put your bills on the tree or something.”

What to expect from his show:

“I talk about Christmas music, Santa Claus and sex, how shop-lifting is more of a thing at Christmas. You know, shoplifters have their lists, too.”

How he deals with politics:

“In the audience, there must be someone for Trump, and in my show I ask those people to stand up and say something as rude and hopefully as funny as I’ve said against him. Laughter is always how you get someone to listen. Preaching doesn’t work anymore.”

This article appears in the December 2018 issue of Washingtonian.

Staff Writer

Brittany Shepherd covers the societal and cultural scene in political Washington. Before joining Washingtonian as a staff writer in 2018, Brittany was a White House Correspondent for Independent Journal Review. While she has lived in DC for a number of years now, she still yearns for the fresh Long Island bagels of home. Find her on Twitter, often prattling on about Frasier.