Actress and comedian Amy Sedaris
"I look at my calendar and I can't believe it," Sedaris says. "I'm busier than I want to be right now."
She's not only starring and writing in her own TruTV comedy series At Home with Amy Sedaris based on her arts and crafts books that's like a blended creation of Martha Stewart Living and a grownup version of Pee Wee's Playhouse, but she also voices several characters on the hit Netflix animated series BoJack Horseman as BoJack's on-again, off-again girlfriend Princess Carolyn.
Her calendar got even busier since our interview. Variety reported that she'll voice an original character for Walt Disney's new live-action remake of The Lion King. She'll play an elephant shrew in the movie.
Another notable date on her travel calendar brings her to the Alamo Drafthouse Richardson on Saturday, Dec. 8, where she'll become the first female recipient of the Ernie Kovacs Award, the lifetime achievement award for innovative television and film creation named for the late TV comedian.
Sedaris says the award is a humbling and fitting honor since Kovacs' off-kilter TV comedy innovations match her own comedic sensibilities.
"It responds so well because my test for comedy is if it's so well done, a deaf person could follow it," she says. "You always got the impression he wrote the show right up to the last minute. He probably had the show on his shoulders and did it on the fly and it just works."
Her longtime comedy partner and friend Paul Dinello introduced Kovacs' work to her while they performed together at Chicago's Second City, where she also met actor Stephen Colbert. The trio formed a strong friendship and comedy partnership that drove all three to their respective television projects such as their short-lived HBO sketch show Exit 57 and the Comedy Central after-school drama spoof Strangers with Candy.
Sedaris played the high school dropout Jerri Blank on Strangers with Candy as she tries to reclaim her teenage years after 20 years of experiencing every vice known to mankind. The series presented a harsher reality of high school life than most cautionary tales that your health teacher made you watch when they needed a smoke break. The show ran for three memorable seasons to critical and fan acclaim and later spawned a big-screen prequel film.
Sedaris says Strangers with Candy was a creative anomaly that she, Dinello and Colbert didn't take for granted.
"We were out in the woods doing whatever we wanted, and we were aware of this at the time that we'll never have an experience like that before," Sedaris says. "This is the best it's going to get. No one's in charge and we get to do it with our friends. It was very special."
She continued acting, following Strangers with Candy's memorable three-season run with a long list of roles on several hit shows like Sex and the City and movies like Elf with Will Ferrell and director Jon Favreau's Chef. She also turned to her passion for cooking and crafts to sculpt a new and innovative piece of her comedy career with two best-selling comedy books that would become the basis for her hit TruTV series At Home with Amy Sedaris.
"Those books helped me pitch the TV show idea, and it's just loosely based on the books," she says. "Then I started to do different characters and now it is what it is. It takes a lot of energy and it's very ambitious. It's the perfect show for when you're 30."
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Sedaris plays a fictionalized version of herself as she presents how-to guides for various home and DIY projects and a cast of characters who often interrupt her instructional guides like her outspoken Southern neighbor Patty Hogg and even Blank from Strangers with Candy.
Her secret for creating her shows and books isn't that complex even if it looks that way from the other side of the television set. She creates worlds for her characters to play in and just sets them loose.
"Any show we've created is in its own universe and you have these boundaries and areas to play in," Sedaris says. "So you have this sandbox and you can just play in it."