Amy Sedaris for President
By Aaron Alper



Originally published in the Tampa Bay Gazette, November 2004

The witty, charming and utterly bizarre actress/comedian chats with The Tampa Bay Gazette about her upcoming role in 'Strangers With Candy', (due out in winter), as well as a myriad of of equally twisted topics with a sweetness and a vulgarity that, while leaving some to question her sanity, leaves nobody questioning why she is a star.


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

Amy strikes a pose Amy Sedaris: Well, itís 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.

Sheís 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. Iím really glad because theyíre really amazing actors. They really normally wouldnít do something like this.

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

I donít know. We didnít really take that into consideration. It was funny because after we did the read through, people commented that we didnít say Ďfuckí once. Weíre not naturally dirty writers. Thereís a 'goddamnit', and Ďpussyí and Ďfaggotí will be in there. Thereís not much, but my guess is it will be an ĎRí. 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, ďNo. Forget it.Ē Itís funnier that Principal Blackman would wear a thong. Thatís 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 an idea for an after school special, and she just naturally turned into that. Jerri is an innocent, but itís not like ĎWelcome to the Dollhouseí. Sheís 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 itís o.k. We knew everyone wasnít going to like the show. I donít want to do a show that everybody would like. We moved on and it didnít really bother us, but we still get letters. People can find whatever they want to find, but we donít go into it to offend anybody. Our characters do. We know what weíre 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 weíre editing it right now. Stephen is going to be in Bewitched: The Movie and heís doing the ĎThe Daily Showí. I am going to do one day on Bewitched where I get to play Mrs. Cravitz, and Paul is editing through November. Weíre all kind of busy to do anything right now.

When you were growing up, did you brother (bestselling author David Sedaris) know you guys were going to be celebrated? I mean, its a pretty rare occurrence for a brother and sister to both be in the public light.

Well, weíve always performed. We always did stuff together, and then we continued to do it in Chicago and New York. I donít 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. Itís 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. Thatís true. Just working on this film, Iíll tell you, it took every second. I did not have a life. And I thought, how do people go from movie to movie? They canít 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 donít practice it and I couldnít tell you anything about the Greek religion itself. Iím religious in my own 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 ĎNegro musicí (laughs), like Erykah Badu. I love her. I tend to listen to Negroes. I donít like heavy metal, acid rock or country music thatís like (sings) Ďfunny face, I love you!' I canít fucking stand that. And I hate classical music.

Thatís understandable. Itís boring. Vanilla.

Itís really bad.

Whats your drug of choice?

Pot. I like pot. Thatís only drug I do.

Name a guilty pleasure.

Goddang....thatís something you feel bad liking, right? Well, I hate to think Lifetime Television is a guilty pleasure, but itís my favorite. I donít watch TV at all. If the TVís on it puts me in a really, really bad mood. But I get engrossed with Lifetime. Itís not bad, thatís why I watch it. Itís 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? Itís hard plastic.

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

Yeah.

Oh yeah! Thatís terrible!

And also, living in New York, there is stuff every day where youíre like, ĎGod, I really hate thatí. I hate it when cashiers give you your change back, and they put the dollar in your hand first, and then the change. Itís like, you idiot! Put the change and then dollar. I also hate people holding hands.

Oh, do you hate PDA?

In New York City, yeah. If youíre strolling down 10th and holding hands? I mean come on! Itís so crowded. I live in a gay neighborhood. I call it on the corner of ĎFaggot and Cocksucker'...

(laughter)

...so itís people holding hands for the first time. People who are so happy to finally be able to hold someone elseís hand for the first time. But theyíre doing it in front of my door!

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

You know, Pa asked me today, ĎDonít you want to see anybody?í, and Iím like, Ďnoí. Iíve always been in a relationship. I give so much to the other person that I neglect myself and right now I donít want to do that. If I meet someone, then it happens.

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

Iíll 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 donít. I am never affected by what other people think. You shouldnít care what other people think. You should just do it. My momís advice was donít bother other people and always have change on the airplanes for drinks.



Photos courtesy of JerriBlank.com

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