Amy Sedaris for President

by Aaron Alper    

Amy Sedaris is a unique force in Hollywood, and for good reason too. Although she is extraordinarily pretty, she once posed as a battered house wife to the surprise of a New York fashion magazine, and is fond of wearing prosthetic humps and hideous make-up whenever she is bored. In her unique vein of purposeful disfiguration, Sedaris is best known for playing Jerri Blank, a 46 year old ex-crack whore high school freshmen on Comedy Central’s Strangers with Candy (the big screen version comes out this winter). Alongside acting, she is a Obie award winning writer, a co-authored Wigfield with Candy co-creators Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello, and in the book she actually poses as a albino stripper who is known for shooting hush puppies out of intriguing orifices. Sedaris is also the little sister to best-selling author David Sedaris, and has written with him on many occasions.

Sedaris’s personal life is just as eclectic and unique as her public one. She is rampantly anti-Hollywood, and opts to lives in a gay neighborhood in New York City. She takes no prisoners if she is mistreated( she once publicly declared Sarah Jessica Parker “stingy, crisis-prone, selfish, [and] two-faced”), and in her spare times works as a waitress when she is not shooting films. In dealing with the real world each day, Amy Sedaris remains grounded. A success in every aspect, it would not be surprising that Amy Sedaris be a incredibly self-involved person but, surprisingly, she isn’t. Sedaris has a warmth to her that makes one feel as home, and even though she can make you laugh until your head comes off, seems to care about nothing more than being yourself. Oh yeah, and one more thing: She gives a great interview.

Aaron Alper: I guess we’ll start out with the film version of Strangers with Candy. How different is that going to be from the television show?

Amy Sedaris:Well, it’s a lot different. We had this cult following with the TV show. I know how that feels when people discover something on their own and when it goes further and further away from them they feel cheated. The movie is going to be completely separate from the TV show. This is just something different. As far as the characters, we have all new students because they were all too old to cast right now, with the exception of Maria Thayer, who played Tammi Littlenut.

She’s just a young looking girl?

She looks younger than she did actually. We do have a lot of celebrities in the film, which would make it really different from the TV show. I’m really glad because they’re really amazing actors. They really normally wouldn’t do something like this.

Let’s talk about vulgarity. Will the factor of vulgarity rise? What rating are you shooting for.

I don’t know. We didn’t really take that into consideration. It was funny because after we did the read through people commented that we didn’t say ‘fuck’ once. We’re not naturally dirty writers. There’s like a goddamnit, and ‘pussy’ and ‘faggot’ will be in there. There’s not much, but my guess is it will be an ‘R’. Greg [Holliman, who plays Principal Blackman] going to get naked.

Oh my goodness! Like full on?

Well, he was written for full on but when he dropped his robe he had on a thong and we said, “No. Forget it.” It’s funnier that Principal Blackman would wear a thong. That’s nasty.

Jerri has become a role model for social misfits. Did you go into this with idea of making Jerri a protagonist for the misunderstood?

Well, no. We went into it just with a character and idea for an after school special and she just naturally turned into that. Jerri is an innocent, but it’s not like ‘Welcome to the Dollhouse’. She’s done horrible things herself so you can enjoy people being mean to her because she kind of deserves it.

Have you gotten a lot of negative responses to show?

Yeah, we got a lot of bad reviews, but the cool thing about Paul, Stephen and I is that it’s o.k. We knew everyone wasn’t going to like the show. I don’t want to do a show that everybody would like. We moved on and it didn’t really bother us, but we still get letters. People can find whatever they want to find, but we don’t go into it to offend anybody. Our characters do. We know what we’re doing.

‘Wigfield’ was hilarious. Especially the stripper Cinnamon and her hushpuppies.

(laughs) I shoot hushpuppies from my vagina.

Are you guys writing anything new together?

We just finished the film and we’re editing it right now. Stephen is going to be in ‘Bewitched’ the movie and he’s doing the ‘The Daily Show’. I am going to do one day on ‘Bewitched’ where I get to play Mrs. Cravitz and Paul is editing through November. We’re all kind of busy to anything right now.

When you were growing up, did you other David know you guys we’re going to be celebrated? I mean, it’s a pretty rare occurrence for a brother and sister to both be in the public light.

Well, we’ve always performed. We always did stuff together, and then we continued to do it in Chicago and New York. I don’t think we really stopped to think about it. David goes off and does his books, I do stuff with Paul and Stephen, and then we get together and do a play. It’s no surprise to me that David is in this position. He was an amazing brother and I always emulated him. He was great to grow up with. A real crazy mind. He always had these rules and he was persnickety, but at the same time he always such a cool brother. He always gave me the best presents, always. Still does.

You seem spiritually grounded for Hollywood. Do you consider yourself a religious or spiritual person?

Well, I am probably more grounded then most performers are. That’s true. Just working on this film, I’ll tell you, it took every second. I did not have a life. And I thought, how do people go from movie to movie? They can’t possibly live in any type of reality. As far as religion goes, we were raised Greek Orthodox. I think of myself as a religious person. I pray every single night, and I like the beauty of it, but I don’t practice it and I couldn’t tell you anything about the Greek religion itself. I’m religious in my on little way, if that makes any sense.

Whats a CD you love that you think everyone should own?

The soundtrack for ‘Love Jones’ is really good. “Smooth Groves” is really good. I like music that I always call ‘Negro music’ (laughs), like Erykah Badu. I love her. I tend to listen to Negroes. I don’t like heavy metal, acid rock, or country music that’s like (sings) ‘funny face, I love you!” I can’t fucking stand that. And I hate classical music.

That’s understandable. It’s boring. Vanilla.

It’s really bad.

Whats your drug of choice?

Pot. I like pot. That’s only drug I do.

Name a guilty pleasure.

Goddang....that’s something you feel bad liking, right? Well, I hate to think Lifetime Television is a guilty pleasure, but it’s my favorite. I don’t watch TV at all. If the TV’s on it puts me in a really, really bad mood, but I get engrossed with Lifetime. It’s not bad, that’s why I watch it. It’s great. I got a lot of ideas for ‘Strangers’ episodes watching Lifetime.

Name a pet peeve.

I hate those new ways of packaging things. What do they call it? Not bubble wrap.

Shrink wrap? Is it shrink wrap?

Is it shrink wrap? It’s hard plastic.

Do they put CDs in it and you kind of have to take a butcher knife to it to open it?


Oh yeah! That’s terrible!

And also living in New York there is stuff every day you’re just like, ‘God, I really hate that’. I hate it when cashiers give you your change back, and they put the dollar in your hand first and then the change. It’s like, you idiot! Put the change and then dollar. People holding hands.
Oh, do you hate PDA? In New York City, yeah. If you’re strolling down 10th and holding hands, I mean come on! It’s so crowded. I live in a gay neighborhood,I call it on the corner of ‘Faggot and Cocksucker'...

(laughter) it’s people holding hands for the first time. People who are so happy to finally be able to hold someone else’s hand for the first time. But they’re doing it in front of my door!

I really do love your view on being being single does not mean you have to be lonely, and I have read in interviews that a lot of people don’t quite understand it. Are you finding people are learning to accept it, or are they still giving you crap about it?

You know, Pa asked me today, ‘Don’t you want to see anybody’, and I’m like, ‘No’. I’ve always been in a relationship. I give so much to the other person that I neglect myself, and right now I don’t want to do that. If I meet someone, then it happens.

And finally, what are some words of wisdom that you can live by?

I’ll give you the advice my parents always gave me. Ever since I was little my dad always told me to not worry about what other people think, and I don’t. I am never affected but what other people think. You shouldn’t care what other people think. You should just do it. My mom’s advice was don’t bother other people, and always have change on the airplanes for drinks.

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