Amy Sedaris has a delightfully bizarre new series coming to truTV, “At Home with Amy Sedaris.” And she’s well aware that it’s hard to explain. “It really is [hard to describe]!” she says over the phone, talking a mile a minute. “You can say it’s kind of like Martha Stewart, but it’s funny, there’s no audience and [there’s] handmade clothes and beautiful art work.”
It’s more than just that though — ”At Home with Amy Sedaris” features the 56-year-old as herself (and various other characters) in increasingly bizarre situations with increasingly bizarre locals, based around themes like entertaining the grieving, the craft of love making and cooking without pots and pans. Doesn’t hurt that those locals are played by the likes of A-list actors and comedy veterans alike.
“Writing it, we always had our dream person in mind,” she says. “We always dreamt we’d have Paul Giamatti as a businessman, or Michael Shannon as a murderer, or Justin Theroux as an astronaut. I never in a million years thought we’d get those people!”
We chatted more about the series that Sedaris has been dreaming of since she was little, where she found inspiration for the show and why her brother, writer David Sedaris, is coming to “Bojack Horseman” next season.
Why did you decide to create a series instead of another of your homemaking or entertaining books?
I originally wanted to create the series back in the early 2000’s and I decided well, let me do the books first, and see if I can figure out what the show would be, based on the books. I kind of did it backwards. Then when it was time to pitch the show, I actually had two books to push across the table and say "This is the show." It’s hard to explain sometimes, [and] I have a hard time articulating myself with certain things like that — but if you can see the books, you have an idea of what the show is going to be.
It is certainly hard to explain, how have you been describing it to people?
You want to describe it without comparing it to something, because once you compare it to something. Once you compare it to something, you don't have something unique on your hands. That’s why I needed to say, “It’s going to look like this and it’s going to be as funny as this.”
What kind of shows inspired "At Home with Amy Sedaris"?
They’re all old shows. “The Galloping Gourmet,” “The Frugal Gourmet,” Julia Childs, “Two Fat Ladies,” “Lidia’s [Family] Table,” Dina Shore, Laurence Welk. Those were always my references because that’s what inspired the show, and I knew since I was little I wanted to do [a show like this].
The shows nowadays — “Lidia’s” I’ll catch once in awhile and I watched “Barefoot Contessa,” which I had never seen — are fine, but I don’t have the gadgets that they have. I don’t have the counter space that they have. And it’s not going to come out and look as pretty. I can’t afford to go to a lot of those places and get what they have, so I kind of felt left out of it. My show isn’t about that, it’s pretty simple. It’s kind of like, on a Girl Scout level.
What’s your favorite thing to craft with? Googly eyes are a personal fave.
I put googly eyes on everything. You can come over to my house and I swear, there’s gotta be some googly eyes stuck to the bottom of your foot. If i’m vacuuming, I’m vacuuming up googly eyes. I turn around and there’s these eyes everywhere, they’re in my refrigerator! (Laughs) They’re everywhere. It’s a pain of ass.
You work on “Bojack Horseman” is also phenomenal — is there something in particular that attracted you to Princess Carolyn?
They asked me and I’m a big Will Arnett fan. And I like the drawings. I have been doing [the Princess Carolyn voice] as a character voice for a while. I did it on “Broad City” and I do it on my show — we have a regional wine lady who has a Princess Carolyn type voice — so it helped me work on that character a little bit more.
Actually, my brother David [Sedaris, writer and humorist] is going to play my mom. We have an episode coming up where Princess Carolyn is around her family and my brother is going to play her mother.
Wait, what?! That’s going to be so good.
I know, I can’t believe it! How much fun is that going to be? And you’re the first to know! It’s hot off the press.
Follow Rachael Vaughan Clemmons on Twitter — @rachaelclemz