Amy Sedaris, a former member of Chicago’s legendary Second City comedy troupe, is best known from hilarious turns in cutting-edge laughers like Strangers With Candy and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and memorable guest turns on a roster of other comedies. But the North Carolina native is also proudly devoted to all things domestic, an obsession she’s chronicled in signature Sedaris fashion in a pair of comic tomes, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence and Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People.
Her new truTV series At Home With Amy Sedaris is a combo of both books’ kooky-meets-useful(ish) content and an homage to Sedaris’ favorite childhood show, a local-access bit of homemaking pablum called At Home With Peggy Mann. The 10-episode series features Sedaris getting instructional on such topics as “entertaining the grieving, the craft of lovemaking, and cooking without pots and pans,” along with funny friends like Stephen Colbert, Rachel Dratch, Chris Elliott and Jane Krakowski, who joins Sedaris for a duet about glue.
“I’d just had a cocktail and I was feeling good and I checked my messages and there’s Jane saying, ‘Are you singing harmony tomorrow?’” laughs Sedaris, who didn’t know just how much she’d be warbling in the show. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, what is this song going to be?!’”
Sedaris also plays a handful of oddball characters, some of whom may feel familiar to her hometown chums.
“I’m doing this big Southern lady that’s a combination of a bunch of women that I grew up with who are just really good at everything and bossy and wear the pants in the family,” Sedaris beams. “I love women like that — take-charge, judgmental ladies. Also, I had a third-grade teacher who would sing a song to us every day, so I sing that song on the show.”
Operating on a set modeled after and peppered with stuff from her own apartment, Sedaris says, “On my show, stuff looks like I made it. That’s what I wanted, because a lot of people can’t do what Martha Stewart does. Martha can’t even do what Martha does!”
Sedaris says her hardest work went into crafting the perfect blend of public-TV banality and late-night cable laughs. “What’s the painter’s name — Bob Ross!” she exclaims. “We watched an episode and just felt drugged afterwards. We felt like, ‘This is the feeling I want when people watch the show!’ But when you’re going for laughs, it’s hard to merge those two things together. So that was our biggest challenge for this: How do you transfer that feeling from watching Bob Ross to laughing to really learning something? It’ll be interesting to see if we pulled it off.”
At Home With Amy Sedaris > truTV > Tuesdays beginning Oct. 24