[Finalanalysis] Amy Sedaris
Interview by Carlin Flora
Amy Sedaris, performer, playwright and sister of David Sedaris, is a perfectly sane woman with a twisted persona. Sedaris once posed as a battered woman for an article on beautiful New Yorkers, and she created the cult TV character Jerri Blank, a fortysomething recovering drug addict who returns to high school. (Her forthcoming movie, Strangers With Candy, is based on that Comedy Central TV show). Compassionate toward the misfits she portrays, Sedaris seems to achieve sincerity through make-believe.
Were you a good student?
I failed first grade, which is my biggest problem. You always feel like a failure,
like you're stupid. I'm always the least important person in the room, that's how
I think. But I'm not depressed, it's just how it is. I'm not a first-place person.
Do you feel second-place to David?
I idolized him when I was little. He was the one who was doing characters,
and so I emulated him. I don't mind when people ask, "Are you David's
sister?" I wouldn't be a performer if it weren't for David.
Did you feel like a typically neglected middle child?
My parents had problems with the eldest three; they had run-ins with drugs,
so I really wanted to please my parents. And I am the closest to my Dad,
because I realized that someone had to treat Dad nicely. Every Friday
night we had a grocery shopping date, and I would wear a different wig.
You're 43. Do people assume you want to get married?
They assume that I want a boyfriend, and yeah, that I'd probably like to
have a baby and get married—but they're wrong. I was telling David, "I'm so
happy, and I know people don't believe that," and he said, "I believe you."
Do you have career goals?
I'm not ambitious. I live in the moment. I just like to have the ideas. Other people
can help see them through. I'm satisfied just thinking of the idea.
Why do you tend to portray funny-looking characters?
I choose to do unattractive people, because then I can pretend they think
they're attractive. My characters always like themselves. People say,
"But you're so pretty!" and I think, "Well, you wouldn't say
that if I didn't try to look unattractive." And if someone
gives me a mouthpiece, then boom, I can be that
character. But if I don't have anything, then it's
just me. What's the fun in that? I have to feel
like I'm dressing up.
Why have you turned down big movie roles?
I'd rather have a part where you walk into
a room and you leave. That's perfect for
me. I have no desire to carry a movie.
You know when you watch old movies,
it's always the small parts you
remember, the character actors
who come in like a breath of
fresh air. ѽ
© 2004 Psychology Today