Candy Girl
by Matt Bell

WE GABBED WITH AMY SEDARIS (while she played with her bunny) about the long-awaited arrival of the movie version of Strangers With Candy, which was held up due to the struggle of finding distribution. We also got on the topic of wheelchairs, marijuana and well, you know, vaginas. But, what else would you expect from the woman who gives life to Jerri Blank, a 43-year-old former whorish junkie con trying to get her high-school diploma?

The movie was excellent! Worth the wait!
Thanks! Did you see the TV show when it was out?

Yeah, in college—it encouraged our, uh, smoking habit.
[Laughs] It's okay if you don't remember much from the show. The movie stands on its own.

I thought it was pretty true to the show. Purists have complained about some of the changes...
Any time a TV show goes to the big screen, it's going to be different. You have to adapt it—like the original students were too old and we couldn't get the same house we used in the series.

You got Matthew Broderick for the movie, though. Are you still obsessed with him?
Yes! But, my rape scene with him was cut! Oh, that's a terrible thing to say actually! [Dreamily] Matthew, of all the celebrities we had in the movie, seemed like the biggest star.

Was that the first time you got to do something with him?
That wasn't physical? Yes.

So, Jerri Blank is into both boys and girls. In the first scene, Jerri gets lez'd up in a prison shower. Did that turn her gay?
As long as it's any kind of attention, she'd do it—anything with a hole, really. You meet people like that in real life, too. Affection is affection.

Why does Jerri appeal to you?
She likes herself, and she things she's attractive. I get so sick of seeing the version of what is supposed to be pretty. They're never pretty to me. For me, beauty has to be fucked-up in some way, like Isabella Rossellini's fucked-up teeth.

You do love the bizarre. You even collected urine collection cups once. What un-shocking things do you like?
Lifetime, television for women—I got a lot of ideas for the series from that. I like Law and Order and the sexual one SVU. And I'm not a big fan of comedies.

Why don't you like comedy?
Nothing would make me happier than to have my own cooking show, so I would never watch a cooking show. I don't want to be influenced by something that I want to do; I'd rather everything else influence me. I just saw the trailer for Jack Black's new movie—it's fucking hilarious, but that's all I need to see.

Who are your favorite funny people?
I've only seen the Dave Chapelle show a couple of times, but I think he's really funny. He reminds me of me a lot. I think Jack Black and Will Ferrell are funny. Lily Tomlin is really good. Meryl Streep is just so funny in her speeches and comedy—she knows what she's doing. I mean, if someone handed me a script, I couldn't deliver one joke!

Back to Jerri, she gets her fabulous clothing at the Comfort Zone. Where is that?
I made that up. I used to get this magazine about people who have artificial limbs, and this thing that goes over the stump—it looks like the foot of a pair of pantyhose—that little shield is called the "comfort zone."

Oh my! Who is Jerri Blank's hero?
[Laughs] I always thought it was her dad. In the movie, I wanted Willie Nelson to be my dad, because I thought more people would like me. But, Dan Hedaya plays my dad, and he did a great job.

Speaking of Mr. Nelson—my favorite scene in the movie is when Jerri takes one hit off a joint and completely wigs out.
[Laughing] That scene was so much fun! Breaking things is my favorite thing in the entire world! I love candy glass!

Were you really high, Miss Sedaris?
Unfortunately, no.

But, you do enjoy your wee. Have you ever had a bad trip?
Yes! Someone once made me pot brownies and I had an awful experience. I called my doorman on speakerphone, screaming, "Oh my God! I have to call an ambulance!" and my doorman had to talk me down. I do like pot—I mean, I don't wake and bake, but I appreciate it and use it as a tool in my work. I don't get high every single day.

You have control over it.
Yeah. [Laughs] Well, that's what everyone says.

Until you wake up one morning on a street corner...
With blood on my ass, yeah. [Laughs]

Comedy Central let you get away with so much edgy stuff, but cut the TV show after on 3 seasons.
One thing I liked about Comedy Central is that they normally only let shows go for about 3 seasons. If we were on the regular networks, we never could have gotten away with all that we did. And, to this day, they still never told us it got cancelled.

So, wait, how did you find out?
Well, we just kind of knew things weren't going any further when our offices were being taken over.

So, the series isn't really cancelled?
Well, I think it's done. If we redid the TV show, it would be different. Paul [Dinello], Stephen [Colbert] and I had a lot of fun and got to do whatever we wanted making the TV show.

Sounds like a comedy club. You actually love being part of clubs—you used to have one called the Crafty Beavers, and you'd clean people's apartments.
I love clubs. I just started one called the Nutty Buddies. My friend, who is a health nut, has been trying to get me to eat better, so we started this club.

You're also obesssed with deformitiies and handicaps. If you could have any handicap, what would it be?
As much as I love playing in wheelchaires for fun, I always think, "Oh Amy, you are going to end up in a wheelchair!"

You're an infamous bunny-rabbit lover.
Yup, I've had Dusty for three years now! I got him from The House Rabbit Society. I didn't think I was ready because I was still grieving over my first rabbit, and then they said, "Amy this rabbit is sooo you!" So, I brought her home. And she's great.

What makes a rabbit...you? Rabbits don't really have such great personalities.
Well, she plays me, you know? She manipulates me. And I'm such a sucker. Sometimes I think she just deep down hates me. She really just uses me! She's completely different than my first rabbit. But I'm definitely being played.

Sounds abusive! You have a book about hospitality, called I Like You, coming out in September. What are three things you need when entertaining a group of gay guys?
[Excited] Liquor, drugs...and other gay boys! I have this section in the book that talks about what to do when gay guys drop in unexpectedly. If you really want them to leave, don't get them talking about the color beige, because then they'll just go on forever. No, all you have to do is show them your va-gi-na, or ask them if they'll help you babysit—and then baboom, they'll take off!

© 2006 Genre