Amy Sedaris is omnipresent these days, popping up in everything from Difficult People to Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt to Broad City—not to mention, of course, her heartbreaking role as Princess Carolyn on BoJack Horseman. Now, the Strangers With Candy alumna is taking on Martha Stewart, with her new homemaking show At Home With Amy Sedaris, which premieres on truTV this month. Like Stewart, Sedaris shows viewers how to craft, cook, and gut a fish, but with her own absurdist twist—"Fish: a strange, cold-blooded, and limbless creature that thrives in the stuff we drown in. A thing of nightmares," she says, in the show's premiere, adding, "But when battered and pan-fried, scrumptious!" The 10-episode series kicks off on October 24th, and we got a few minutes with Sedaris to discuss craft-making, comedy, and whether or not we'll ever get to go back to Flatpoint High, Home of the Concrete Donkeys.
So we're talking about At Home With Amy Sedaris, which is a very different sort of Martha Stewart-type variety and talk show. How did this come into fruition? Well, growing up in North Carolina, we had two hospitality shows, At Home With Peggy Mann and The Betty Elliot Show. I remember when I was little, pointing at the TV and saying, "I'm going to grow up and do that show." The idea of a set, and a woman who is living in this set, where you're led to believe it's her home, and she'd have local people come on and just talk about stuff. And she'd have a sewing segment and a cooking segment.
Then I got into PTL, you know, Tammy Faye Bakker. Tammy Faye Bakker had a cooking segment, and she would make horrible things. She'd be making something terrible and try to tell us it was something good. I just remember thinking, God that would be so much fun. I just loved shows like that. Then I did a cooking and craft book. And then, after all these years, I decided, okay, now I'm going to pitch it as a TV show. I had those two books as my bible. And that's how the show came about.
What makes your show different from all other hospitality shows? I'm going to have fancy gadgets, I'm going to make it easy so people at home realize they can do these kinds of things. And visually it's going to be—I've never seen a set that's visually as beautiful as the set that we have. I'm such a visual person, and wanted to get that right. I feel like you're just going to be inspired, even if you're a Deaf person and you aren't able to understand what I'm saying, you'll be able to visually get inspired by looking at the set.
What are your favorite things to craft? I like making potholders from the Klutz potholder kit. I'm really good at it. I got it down. I'm really quick and I really put a lot of thought into it. But then they changed the kit, and so I feel like I lost my thing, you know? The kits aren't as good as they used to be. Now I just cover lighters with Dum Dum lollipop wrappers. I know, good idea.
Is it harder to crochet a mini-sweater or a large sweater? I don't crochet, but I would imagine it's easier to do a miniature one, just because you could knock them out a lot faster.
What's the hardest thing to craft? Gosh, I don't know. I would imagine mosaics would be hard, just because, you know, you're working with broken glass and tiles, and grout. I would imagine that's not easy. I like the crafts you come up with on your own, you make it up yourself and you figure it out.
What are people going to be most surprised by when they watch the show? I think they'll be surprised at how beautiful it is, and how it's just going to be good old entertainment. We're not going dark with the show. We're going back to a feel-good kind of feel, just something that's not so political, and you can watch some really good actors play really stupid parts. And you're going to see some great outfits and hairstyles and set designs.
Who is your style icon? Well, I'm a big fan of Comme des Garçons, that's my favorite, I'd say, as far as designers go. And there's a store in Japan called Kapital, and it looks like all the clothes have been shipwrecked. Beautifully distressed clothing. So those are my two top favorites.
If you were to star in either a variety show, sketch show, or animated show like Bojack, but you could only pick one, which would it be? Narrative shows. I like storylines, I like little stories. Then again I gravitate towards variety, and playing different characters, and you can get away with more with animation. So, they each have their special little things. But I guess narrative.
Is it easier to be serious or to be funny? It's easier to be funny by trying to be serious. It's kind of like opposites. I like to play, you're being funny but you're playing it straight. Strangers With Candy was that way. We used after school specials as our model, so it was easier to go against the grain. Even with this cooking show, it's the same thing. We had something to play up against, these home shows. So it gave us structure, and then you can be silly within that structure.
What other projects do you have coming up? Is there ever going to be a Strangers With Candy reunion? No Strangers With Candy reunion, but Paul [Dinello], Stephen [Colbert] and I get along really well. We're just busy and doing other things. So I don't see that coming back. I think that's done, which is fine. That's all I have. We're still editing this show, so I have a steady job until the middle of November.
At Home With Amy Sedaris premieres at 10:30 p.m. on October 24th on truTV.