The Bedroom Interview With Amy Sedaris

by Todd Oldham

Amy Sedaris is a sweet, blameless, inoffensive, soft-spoken woman. She rarely speaks above a peep, and is nothing if not helpful. When I showed up to photograph her, she'd just baked me a coffee cake. She is quite small and flexible. She is also twisted and brilliant — as evidenced by her Comedy Central series Strangers with Candy (an acid satire of after-school specials in which she played a horny, bisexual druggie prostitute freshman in high school), her cult off-Broadway shows and her general predilection for fucking with people's heads. She'd rather look ugly than pretty, though she is very pretty. Her brother is David Sedaris. And she's smarter than all of us. — Todd Oldham

What do you dream about, Amy?
I have recurring dreams of my rabbit Tattletail, and sometimes I have dreams about my mother who died in '91.

Does she come to visit you in those dreams?
Yes, she does. We're usually having tea, which is odd, because she doesn't drink tea.

Were you close to her when she was on earth?
Yes, very.

My friend used to tell me that her cat used to sleep on her head and she would have the cat's dream. Do you have your rabbit's dreams?
Yes. I dream of peppercorn and capers. [Laughs]

Could that mean anything?
That's what rabbit droppings look like. Peppercorns and capers.

Now how much time do you spend in bed? Do you lay here a lot?
I'm a big rocker. I'll rock in bed: I'll set my alarm for eight and rock back and forth to music sometimes for an hour and a half, sometimes two hours. My brother David taught me how to do it when we were little. It's the only time I can really think.

Do you do it because it disassociates your mind from your body?
Yes, exactly. And whenever the neighbors complain, I tell them that I'm learning the samba, so I have to listen to the same song over and over.

What song?
Oh, whatever.

Well, all right. Now, do you have a lot of visitors in your bed?
Um . . . No, I do not. It's a brand new bed. And brand new sheets. And I have a really cool pillowcase that I got in the South, and it's got "slave" embroidered on it. Isn't that great?

Oh my God. Was it a set? Did you get "slave" on both of them? Do you get a slave and a master?
No — I would have loved that — no, just one; it just says "slave." No, I haven't had a lot of visitors in my bed.

Well, that's good, I guess.
[Slyly] Just small animals.

Just Tattletail?
Just Tattletail.

Now, who is your ideal sexy woman and sexy man? Or is there one that's a combination?
What's his name — Tommy Lee Jones. He's sexy. And Isabella Rossellini.

She's a hottie.
Catherine Deneuve, Sophia Lauren and all them.

Beautiful. Always. Now, I was going to ask you, if you had a dinner party, what ten people would you invite, living or dead. But since this is a Nerve interview, I should ask you, if you were going to pull a train, which ten would you invite?
The same as to the dinner party. Mary Bell, the eleven-year-old killer — do you know who I'm talking about?

[Laughs] No, I don't.
Okay. I would have her, and Diane Arbus, the photographer; Buddy Hackett, the comedian; Iceberg Slim, the pimp — he'd be pulling it; Sylvia Frumpkin, that's the pseudonym of a schizophrenic I read about in a book; John Merrick, the Elephant Man; Weegee would take the pictures; Juliette Low, who founded the Girl Scouts; Jane Pitman, slave; and Dr. Seuss.

That's a pretty good list, right? And Patricia Neal, after the stroke.

[Laughs hysterically]
And I'd only serve shell steak, only because you could ask people how they want their steak cooked, and then you'd learn everything about them.

Do you have any methods of seduction?
The false teeth by my bed win any man . . . facial hair, any kind of scar around the nipple area — all these things make for good seduction, don't you think?

Oh, totally. Do you have any foods that you think work magic?
Any heavy meat dishes. The lamb shank. That's a big one. Pork chops. Stew. Thick stew.

Since this is Nerve, once again, do you have any sex tips for us?
I keep beaters and a mixing bowl in my freezer, that's all I'm saying, because when you have them in your freezer, whipped cream whips in seconds, that's all I'm saying.

That's an expert tip!
It does work, really . . . as a cooking tip.

© 2000 Todd Oldham and, Inc.