GAY HOUSTON NIGHTLIFE, ARTS & CULTURE
singing the blues
Diva Diana Ross' lost
jazz album, 'Blue,' is made
available to her adoring public.
JULY 7, 2006
Sweeter than candy
Comic Amy Sedaris
brings cult TV hit
'Strangers With Candy'
to the big screen
By ANDY ZEFFER
GAY, GAY, GAY, GAY, gay, gay!" Amy
Sedaris cries gleefully over the phone.
Sedaris is used to the gay factors of
life. For starters, there is her best-selling
writer-humorist brother, David Sedaris,
with whom she is close.
And being an actor virtually guarantees coming into contact with lots of gay
people. Then there are the gay characters
on her cult-show-turned-motion-picture,
"Strangers With Candy," which comes to
theaters in wide release on July 14.
Given the cast of characters, the irreverent nature and
"Strangers," it is no surprise a large portion of its following are gay fans.
"I think misfits tend to love it," Sedaris
says. "And Comedy Centra] never got
behind the series, so it is because of those
people that it is what it is today. I'd rather
do a show like that than a network show
that is up in your face telling you to watch
it because it is full of pretty people."
PRETTY IS ONE THING SEDARIS'
character in the film is not. For those
unfamiliar with the TV show, Jerri
Blank is a 46 year-old ex-junkie and con
who returns to high school in a bid to
start her life over.
After being released from jail to find
her father in a coma. Blank goes on a
quest to win the high school science fair.
Throw in an inept principal, an art
teacher and science teacher in a gay love
affair, unrequited love from the school
jock and a loathsome stepfamily and all
kinds of hilarity ensues.
The origins of Jerri Blank can be
traced to Sedaris' brother David, she says.
"There was a woman David knew in
Chicago, and it became me trying to imitate David trying to imitate this woman,"
Sedaris explains. "So I had to get the
voice down and the body developed over
the years, and I had a fatty suit made.
People comment that I don't really look
like her, or they get disappointed I don't
have her background."
It is fair to say that "Strangers With
Candy" is equally offensive to everybody.
Joining her in the twisted humor are
Comedy Central political jokesters
Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello.
Colbert plays science teacher Charles
"Chuck" Noblet, and Dinello plays art
teacher Geoffrey Jellineck. The two
carry on an illicit love affair. Dinello also
directed the film.
Sedaris met her collaborators years ago
when they all became members of Chicago's
Anv Safafc plays ex-con Jerri Blank in the capriciously
comical 'Strange-s With Candy,' based on the Comedy
Central TV show. (Photo courtesy of ThinkFiIm)
A MORE INFO
■Strangers With Candy1
Friday, July 14 in wide release
Angelika Film Center
510 Texas Avenue
Actress Amy Sedaris has captured a large gay fan base with her show 'Strangers With Candy.' A movie
version of the Comedy Central hit show opens July 14.
famed Second City comedy troupe,
"We've worked together for over 20
years, and none of us are ever going to
change." Sedaris says. "We know too
much about each other. We never plan
when we are going to work together. I'll
just call Paul, and he'll call Stephen, and it
kind of happens."
Other big names appearing in
"Strangers" are Sarah Jessica Parker.
Matthew Broderick, Ian Holm and Phillip
"I called a lot of them up. and they said
they'd do it," Sedaris says. "Sir Ian Holm's
son told him to do it."
AS FOR THE SOMETIMES-FUN AND
sometimes-dark humor of "Strangers,"
Sedaris says people generally accept it.
"I would have more heroine marks and
tattoos, but I don't want to be in make-up
that long," she says. "That's why I wear
turtlenecks. And I don't think a lot of people want to see track marks."
In supporting roles in films like like
"Maid In Manhattan" and "Bewitched."
Sedaris does not have any of her haggard
Jerri Blank trappings. She says that in her
film career, she has an uncanny ability to
be found in scenes that are cut in editing or
have nothing to do with the rest of the film.
"I like small roles like that." she says.
"If the part is longer than five lines. I
don't want to be in it. I am not very good
at doing other peoples' things. It is hard
for me to understand how you can be talking if you already know what you are
going to be saying. Some people can look
at a script and say those lines like they've
never heard them before. I am just not
trained that way I think of myself as
more of a clown than an actress."
Clowning around even comes into play
with the forthcoming cookbook Sedaris is
working on for release in October. Well
reputed for her delicious cupcakes and
cheese balls, the book includes all her
"jackpot recipes." she says.
And in Sedaris family fashion, the
book has a twist.
"It will also include a crafts section,"
Sedaris says. "Because I like making
crafts. I wrote it for illiterate people, so it
is very visual. Paul Dinello is making fun
of me trying to take something seriously
so it is also very humorous."
As for her "Strangers" character Jerri
Blank, Sedaris says she will always hold
the character dear to her heart.
"Jerri Blank is like a rash," Sedaris
says. "You never know when she is going
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