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AMY SEDARIS: All Jokes Aside
by Nancy Simon

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Amy Sedaris: Head and Shoulders Above the Rest

Amy Sedaris: Head and Shoulders Above the Rest
Comedy is certainly a gift... and someone on whom a plentitude of comedic talent seems to have been lavished is actress | funny woman | writer Amy Sedaris.

Creating a loyal cult following for the Comedy Central series she penned, "STRANGERS WITH CANDY", Sedaris is back with a feature film of the same name. And while the film made its debut at Sundance over a year ago, STRANGERS WITH CANDY is only now making its national theatrical debut.

In the feature film based on the cult cable classic STRANGERS WITH CANDY (1999-2000), Sedaris plays the off-kilter, 46-year-old Jerri Blank, known to fans everywhere as a 'boozer, user and loser.'

As Blank, Sedaris returns to Flatpoint High School for a fresh start. Unfortunately, the second go around does not prove to be any easier than the first time for every lesson she learns seems to take her further in the wrong direction. Featured in the film are cameos from Sedaris' band of loyal friends including: Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Allison Janney.

Highly accepting of the wads of padding, fierce overbite and gray-streaked wig she donned to play Jerri Blank, Sedaris has been known to say, "If I'm creating something for myself, then I want to have fun. I like to play unattractive people who think they're pretty. You can do what you want, but I prefer to look interesting."

Surprisingly enough, even with supporting and small roles in such mainstream and independent films as: SCHOOL OF ROCK (with Jack Black), ELF (Will Ferrell and James Caan), BEWITCHED (as Gladys Kravitz), John Turturro's ROMANCE AND CIGARETTES (starring James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon and Kate Winslet), and STAY (with Ewan McGregor, Ryan Gosling and Naomi Watts); voice over work for CHICKEN LITTLE (character of Foxy Loxy); and
Sedaris as Jerri Blank in STRANGERS WITH CANDY

Sedaris as Jerri Blank in STRANGERS WITH CANDY
numerous guest appearances on such popular television shows as: "Just Shoot Me", "Sex and the City", "Ed", and "Law & Order: Special Victims' Unit"; Sedaris is still relatively un-famous to the point that she does not consider herself to be a celebrity.

Yet, while she categorizes herself neither as a comedian nor a celebrity, Sedaris can often be seen chatting it up about her unusual hobbies and interests, i.e., baking cupcakes and making cheese balls which she sells from her apartment in the Village, telling stories about her imaginary boyfriend, Ricky, and her pet rabbit, Dusty, with late night hosts David Letterman and Conan O'Brien.

Born of Greek Orthodox descent in Endicott, New York, Sedaris along with older brother playwright | humor essayist | author David (there are also sisters Tiffany, Gretchen, and Lisa and younger brother Paul) later moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, where they were raised.

While not completely self-assured while growing up, Sedaris attribute this to the fact that she failed first grade. "This is my biggest problem. You always feel like a failure, like you're stupid."

In the 90s, at the encouragement of her brother, she moved to Chicago where she took classes at Second City and met up with her future STRANGERS WITH CANDY collaborators - Steven Colbert and Paul Dinello.

Subsequently moving back to New York City, she teamed up with her brother, David, on a host of plays. In addition to acting as a playwright, A. Sedaris has appeared on stage in such productions as: "The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told," "Country Club", and "Wonder of the World." As a duo, Amy and David received a joint Drama Desk Award citing the 'unique quality of their work.'

Anyone who has ever read David Sedaris' Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Naked, or Me Talk
Sedaris as Jerri Blank in STRANGERS WITH CANDY
Pretty One Day, will immediately recognize the Sedaris family humor for its highly discernible offbeat and self-deprecating style.

And, now an author in her own right, Amy Sedaris, the self-declared entertaining expert, has written, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence. Published by Warner Books with a release date of October 2006 (perfect gift for the holidays); Sedaris' uncustomary "Hospitality Guide" offers tips on everything from how to throw a dinner party for white-collar workers to a festive fête for the grieving.

But just because she has gone the high-brow author route, does not mean Sedaris has opted to forego the run-of-the-mill acting career. Just the opposite, in 2007, Sedaris can be seen in two feature films:

• DEDICATION, in post-production, is a romantic comedy about a misogynistic children's book author (Billy Cruddup) forced to work with an attractive female illustrator (Mandy Moore) rather than with his long-time collaborator (Tom Wilkinson).
• SNOW ANGELS, currently in pre-production, is the story of an intersecting drama that exists among a teenager, his former baby sitter (Kate Beckinsale), her estranged husband (Sam Rockwell) and their daughter.

Hard at work sharpening her entertaining skills and honing her acting craft Sedaris, who has been quoted as saying, "I always find something to keep me busy," is apparently staying true to her words.

As Sedaris has furthered explained in print, "It's all about process to me - as long as it's fun to me, I don't care about the final product."

While this is all well and good whereas her acting career goes, one has to wonder what this has to say about the cupcakes and cheese balls Sedaris has becomes so famous for making?....

Amy Sedaris on MatchFlick

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A capsulized profile on an emerging talent, i.e., actor/director in the film world and a snippet as to why he or she is destined to soon become a household name.

Other Columns
Other columns by Nancy Simon:

EMILE HIRSCH: Young Upstart

SIENNA MILLER:B-day Girl\ Factory Girl

DJIMON HOUNSOU: A Diamond in the Rough

ABBIE CORNISH: Who's That Girl?

DARREN ARONOFSKY: Daring to go further

All Columns

Nancy Simon
A Chicago-based freelance writer and film enthusiast, Nancy has an insatiable curiousity and knack for picking out talented, promising individuals.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Nancy Simon by clicking here.

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