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The Best Hostess Gift? A Pound Of Butter, Says Amy Sedaris

Amy Sedaris says her new show was inspired by everyone from Red Skelton to the Two Fat Ladies.
KC Bailey
Tru TV
Amy Sedaris says her new show was inspired by everyone from Red Skelton to the Two Fat Ladies.

The actress and comedian Amy Sedaris has become famous for her roles in shows like Strangers With Candy and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. At the same time, she has always harbored a not-so-secret love of home crafting projects.

She's written books about it — Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People, and I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence — and now, she has a program on Tru TV, At Home With Amy Sedaris, inspired by the shows she loved as a kid.

Interview Highlights

On her inspirations

I grew up with these two local hospitality shows, At Home with Peggy Mann, and the Bette Elliott show. And that's what triggered the whole thing. I remember pointing to the TV when I was ten, saying, "I'm going to do that show when I grow up." And then I was inspired by Red Skelton and Ernie Kovacs and Lawrence Welk, and Galloping Gourmet and Frugal Gourmet and Julia Child, and Two Fat Ladies, I mean, all those shows.

But that's the thing — like, Martha Stewart, who's really talented, and she had that great PBS show ... but my stuff never looked like her stuff. Or, like, I'd look at her magazine where she'd make a pipe-cleaner mouse, and then I would make a pipe-cleaner mouse, and I'm like, this looks like nothing like a mouse ... I just like things to look real, it's not Photoshopped or anything, so — I think a lot of people are like that.

On realizing her weaknesses were a strength

If I do the best I can do then it's just funny without trying to be funny, which I like. That's how I like to do everything. If you're just true and you're in the moment, then it's just going to be more unique and more you.

I'm still doing the crafting and the cooking segments true and straight, but I think I get, you know, the humor just comes out of me taking it seriously.

On appropriate host or hostess gifts for a holiday party

Well, I always appreciate someone bringing me a pound of butter, because butter is really expensive, and it's a nice thing you can throw in your freezer ... I mean, I love having art in my refrigerator, and if you gift wrap it it'll look beautiful in your freezer, with a little bow on it and some pretty paper.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.
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