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June 2006
Strangers with Candy - A Interview with Amy Sedaris and Pinello

Strangers with Candy
An Interview with Amy Sedaris and Pinello, continued
By Kara Warner
June 23, 2006

How do you feel about Stephen's success and his show?

Sedaris: I get to do his show on the 10th and I'm looking forward to it. It's his territory and I don't have anything to do with it, so it will be great. I'm so happy for Stephen and for Paul because working on the show, I'd always get the attention because I was Jerri Blank, and it was so hard because they were the ones who did most of the writing and what we refer to as, 'chopping the wood,' and that didn't make me feel very good because it was all of us. I'm glad that Stephen and Paul are doing so well.

Dinello: I'm not surprised by his success at all because he's brilliant and he's hilarious and he's a hard worker, it's so deserved. It's no surprise at all. I was shocked that ten years ago people didn't notice how good he was.

People say that being interviewed on Stephen's show [The Colbert Report] is kind of a weird thing, because you're talking to a character...

Sedaris: I know, it's going to be interesting, but we'll come up with a bit for it. The three of us will write something for it I'm sure, we'd better.

Can you see yourself on regular network TV?

Sedaris: I want to do a hospitality show, that's what I'd like to do next. I'm working on this book right now, that Paul helped me write, but I want to do a tv show so we'll see.

Are you going to do Martha Stewart?

Sedaris: I've never seen her show; I don't know anything about her. Someone said she bought one of my cupcakes a couple weeks ago, in a cupcake contest and she like mine the best and wanted me on her show, but because I want to do a show like that, I don't want to be influenced. I want it to be on a channel that nobody watches. I want it to be discovered. The good thing about Comedy Central is that they never really got behind the show but we were fine with that because we didn't want to be in your face. I like an audience that discovers things. It just seems more supportive than getting cancelled because you don't have certain ratings.

Dinello: There's something exciting about it too.

Sedaris: Yes and I'll have my cupcakes and my cheese balls and I'm introducing a new item in the fall, a compound butter. A wine butter for steaks. I asked my brother David to come up with a name, so he's hyperventilating over there in France, so excited that he has a little project, to come up with a name for my butter.

Can you talk about your relationship with Sarah Jessica Parker and if you'd like to see them have another baby?

Sedaris: I'd like to see them broken-up... the baby is hideous looking. I'd like to see them try to have another baby [wink wink]. But yeah, they're really fantastic parents. The baby didn't come to the set at all, they gave it up for adoption... No, James is really funny. He's only two and he can already recognize different cars and their manufacturers. He's really a brain and he's singing 1920's tunes, he's going to be that kind of kid.

Did you have some of the same people back from the show?

Dinello: Yes. A lot of the crew were back from the show. A lot of the extras.

Sedaris: The Fagan family, they were extras on the TV show every week so we asked them to be in the movie. They were the first people I invited to the premiere. But now they have my email address, big mistake.

Were there other people you wanted, once you got some of the big names?

Sedaris: Once you get a celebrity you're hooked, you've got fever. And then you're like, 'Who else can we get?' I wanted Willie Nelson to play my father, I wanted people to like me so I thought, Willie Nelson!

Who did you want that you didn't get?

Sedaris: I wanted... who's that actor with the scar; I always forget his name, Danny?

Dinello: Not Ortega... Treho. Danny Treho.

Sedaris: Yeah. I love his look and I wanted him to be someone from my past... a love interest.

Dinello: We were just saying this, we were so fortunate to get who we got, I couldn't think of better people. Some of the roles were written with actors in mind, like for Philip [Seymour Hoffman] and Sarah [Jessica Parker] and Matthew [Broderick]. We got Alison Janney and Ian Holm, we were just so lucky.

Sedaris: And Chris Pratt. He's amazing, really funny.

Dinello: And there were other people who wanted to be in the movie but we just didn't have the parts and we didn't want people riding through on a bike. Ileana Douglas wanted to be a part of it, and we love her work, but we just didn't have a part for her.

What made you decide to go with Dan Hedaya instead of the guy who played the father in the show?

Dinello: Roberto Gary? He was perfect for what he did on the tv show, which was a gape-mouthed stare, but we needed someone who had some acting chops.

How did it come up to involve Philip and some of the other big names?

Dinello: We're all friends and when we were thinking about doing the movie and talking about it, people just said, 'I'll do something in it.' It was that kind of thing. Even from the beginning stages we knew that Philip, Matthew, Sarah and our friend Justin Theroux would do something in it.

Sedaris: Justin played the Driver's Ed teacher and I just said to him, 'Just pretend like you've got a really big dick and you don't know what to do with it.'

Dinello: Oh another thing we cut that's really funny, I don't know if you guys took Driver's Ed in school with the simulator machines, but we built one around a chasse and that's his car; he drives it through a scene.

You mentioned you were working on a book, what is it?

Sedaris: It's called, "I like you: Hospitality Under the Influence" I cook and entertain a lot so I wanted to do a cookbook, so I put all my jackpot recipes in it and I like to craft, so there's a craft section. It's just entertaining, my style. Then there's this big introduction, based on the old Betty Crocker books, which is where the title comes in, 'Under the Influence.' Basically it's how to put together, how to shop, how to read labels, little tips I learned shopping every Friday night with my dad. I wanted it to be very serious and I took it very seriously and then Paul came over and was making fun of the fact that I was trying to take something so seriously, so now it's an entertaining book on entertaining. There's humor in it, but it's only because he's making fun of me. But things that are challenges, like when someone dies. How hard it is to entertain for people that are grieving.

Dinello: They're so weepy.

Sedaris: They're so weepy... or to make a hot lunch in the middle of the day, or children's parties or when you're entertaining people who are under the influence of drugs, what a pain in the ass that is, alcoholics, the way they cook. So you know, I took it seriously, it is a practical book. I have some CD's of it in my pocket-book if anybody wants one.

Would you ever want to try to write something in your brother David's 'style?' He's more about personal reflection and you do a lot of fiction... is that something that interests you?

Sedaris: I'm not a writer. I can write on my feet, which I think is lazy writing and like Paul said, we can use that as a tool, but I'm not as disciplined as David is. I'm also more outgoing, I like being around people. I could go on a camping trip, whereas David would be horrified. He likes to work by himself. But we have our plays. That's the one thing where our minds work together.

Did you do a lot of entertaining on the set?

Sedaris: No. I tried to get the director to order my cupcakes, but that never happened.

Dinello: If you've had one of her cupcakes, you'd know why.

Sedaris: I don't do as much entertaining as I used to. It's usually last-minute entertaining.

Does Jerri ever surface in your day-to-day life?

Sedaris: Yeah, she pops out... when I want to say something dirty.

Dinello: Which is every-other sentence.

Sedaris: She's a character I've done for twenty years. Whenever David and I do a play, she's always the lead. I treat her like the lead actress and she thinks she's versatile but she's not. That face? That's not versatile, no matter how you dress that ch

aracter up.

How did you come up with that face?

Sedaris: I fell into it. Once I had the voice, I just fell into it I have really good facial muscles. I'm good at making faces.

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