Grand Central Publishing
A few years ago, Amy Sedaris—comedienne, actress, entertainer-extraordinaire—was perhaps best known for playing 46-year-old high school freshman Jerri Blank on the cult hit Strangers with Candy, a Comedy Central show she co-created and starred in with Paul Dinello and Stephen Colbert. It made her fans (and friends) out of everyone from David Letterman to Sarah Jessica Parker, and led to memorable roles in blockbusters like Elf and Maid in Manhattan.
Then, in 2006, Ms. Sedaris—her brother happens to be humor writer David Sedaris—revealed her other talents when she published her one-of-a-kind, hilarious guide to entertaining, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence. She gave Martha Stewart a run for her money, and stayed on the New York Times bestsellers list for more than12 weeks.
Now, the multitalented Sedaris is back with her similarly-eccentric sophomore effort, Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People. Having just kicked off her nationwide book tour, Sedaris spoke to us by phone from her latest stop in Atlanta to talk about the book, the origins of her crafting interest, and whether she'll return to TV anytime soon.
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So let's talk about crafts. I feel like crafts sometimes get a bad rap.
They do! Why do you think that is?
They have a kitschy vibe, I'd say. They're not always the coolest.
I like crafts that are made out of necessity. My craft supplies might come from hardware stores. Like, I break stuff down for their parts and reuse them. Sometimes when I hear the word "crafts" I think of scrapbooking, and then I think of some hideous thing that you probably want to throw out.
When did you first get into crafts?
I was in Girl Scouts. And you know, in first grade you always make ashtrays for your dad's office. And in my house we would always turn the basement into Santa's workshop and make ornaments. Everyone in my family makes stuff instead of buying it; like instead of buying a card we would just make one. So it's always been a part of me.
I enjoyed your section about mixing crafting and alcohol—but is alcohol good for craft inspiration?
I know a lot of alcoholics are known to do that. But I'm personally not a big drinker. I think that would be just depressing to try to drink and make something. But smoking pot and crafting makes more sense to me. [Laughing.] A lot more fun and entertaining.
What do you think is your most popular craft that you've shared with friends?
I like those potholders—I didn't know about those [make-your-own] potholder kits until I was in my 40s. I love making those and I'm good at making those, and I sell them when I'm touring. Really, normally to give someone a craft is iffy. You really don't do that. People don't want that. Especially if you're not a good crafter.