When I say Amy Sedaris is crazy, I mean that in the best possible way.
This is, after all, the sister of writer David Sedaris and the woman who loves to wear a fat suit and disfigure her beautiful face with buck teeth, bruise makeup and a taped-up pig nose.
Sedaris is a walking work of theater — always concerned with costumes, sets and a quip. She’s a personality and then some, which was well in evidence Tuesday night when she returned to the stage of San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre for a City Arts and Lectures event.
Her interviewer, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) got things off to a good start by making a cocktail out of Sedaris’ best-selling hospitality book I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence: The Silver Bullet Smoky Martini. Here’s the recipe for your convenience (Sedaris admitted she probably stole the recipe and changed a few things around — oh, and she’s never made it): 1/2 ounce gin; 1/2 ounce dry vermouth; float 1 1/2 ounces Scotch. Serve straight up in a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon zest or an olive.
Ever adorable, Sedaris was wearing a dark blue, denim-looking overall dress with several layers of petticoats. The flared skirt featured applique flowers, and late in the evening, Sedaris admitted the dress was a copy of a Barbie original made by the same lady who did her costumes on the TV show “Strangers with Candy” (if you don’t know that show, go get the DVDs pronto).
Here are a few things we learned about the lovely, loony Amy Sedaris on Tuesday:
— After the success of her book, her publisher wanted a follow-up (as they are wont to do). But Sedaris demured. “That’s all I know in that book. My family, they can read, but they don’t read. That’s why I made it so visual.”
— Inside the book’s slipcover is a cheescake photo of a nearly nude Sedaris covered in whipped cream and jimmys. “I made the mistake of using real whipped cream instead of shaving cream. I smelled like feta cheese for four days.”
— Ricky, Sedaris’ imaginary boyfriend of 17 years, was reported murdered, but Sedaris says that wasn’t true. They were just fighting. Ricky’s current job is making dioramas for museums. If he asked him to marry her, Sedaris says she’d say no.
— She has seen There Will Be Blood seven times and is obsessed with it. She says the movie will change your life.
— When she takes trips, like this one to San Francisco, the lady from downstairs at the post office (Sedaris lives in New York’s Greenwich Village neighborhood), stays in her apartment with her rabbit, Dusty.
— As a member of the House Rabbit Society, Sedaris makes housecalls to help instruct people how to care for their rabbits. Her most recent trip was to a woman’s home in New York. “There was blood and doo-doo on her walls. She was crazy. I loved every minute of it,” Sedaris said.
— After Sedaris helped Handler make the “eye burrito” craft from her book, she was fishing in her craft box and came across a packet of “ham flavor” she wished she and Handler had used ont he rims of their martini glasses.
— Having been a guest on Martha Stewart’s daytime show several times, Sedaris was asked about the experience. Strangely, she kept referring to Martha as a “he.” “He’s a very nice person. I’ve never really been inspired by him.”
— On her famous brother. “David just bought a house in London. He couldn’t wait to call me up and tell me how much it was and how much money he has.”
— When asked if she’d rather kiss a man with a moustache or a man who had just eaten a ham, Sedaris answered: “It can’t be both?” Then she thought about it. “Ham…with hair on it.”
— On being in the Sex and the City movie: “It was really fun. I can’t wait to see it. I was in the makeup chair for a really long time. Longer than for Jeri (Blank, her “Strangers” character, who required a lot of ugly makeup).”
— “I’m trying to have a baby,” Sedaris said. Audience laughs. “Everyone always laughs at that.”
Here’s a clip of Sedaris on his — Martha Stewart’s — show: