Of all the ways to sum up New York, consider comedian, actress and author Amy Sedaris' take on her adopted town of fourteen years: "If you're afraid of going broke or becoming homeless, you can walk out your door and see that. If you want to be rich, you can see that too. I like that it keeps you real."
While it was her brother, celebrated writer David Sedaris, who convinced her to move here, it was photographer Diane Arbus who first inspired her. "Growing up in North Carolina, I remember when David brought home that book, An Aperture Monograph. That was a life-changing moment for me. I couldn't believe those people! I was just fascinated to see that in New York."
Perhaps it's the dangling plastic sausages. Maybe it's the archway plastered with candy wrappers, or Dusty, the pet rabbit with a free range of the place. But entering the comedian's West village den is like accessing an unparalleled universe. Which explains the ironic business woman attitude toward worldly things. "I like doing Letterman when I don't have anything to promote," says Sedaris. "I don't like to do things because I have to. I like to do them because I want to".
The same applies to another of Sedaris' sidelines—and an extension of her comedic craft. "I don't go out to eat that much, but I like to work in restaurants," says Sedaris. "I worked at Marion's on the Bowery, then at Mary's Fish Camp. It's fun to waitress when you don't have to. You get to work with the public. I like that it's really good for comedic timing."
It's hard to reconcile the pretty, tidy-framed blond appearing on Sex and the City with Jerry Blank, her famously fugly character from Comedy Central and follow-up feature film, Strangers with Candy. "Sometimes people will tone my humor down without asking" Sedaris cedes, though she has never consciously compromised that delightfully disturbing, trademark camp.
To better understand, here's Sedaris' view on hosting: "When I entertain, it's more about what you can do for me. When I need to redecorate my apartment I'll make food and get my tool kits out and you—ll work for it." This sentiment is completely consistent with the kind of advice offered by her hospitality book I Like You: Entertaining Under The Influence, which recommends placing a donation jar by the bedside of rich relatives.
Nestled in a neighborhood as rich and colorful as hers, it's no wonder the comedian is satisfied to stay close to home: "I'm originally from the South, so I'm used to a neighborhood". While Sedaris does get a kick out of Murray Hill—"just cause it's for old people. All the shops are for surgical supplies"—she prefers the village's artisan vibe, "You can go to the weirdest places and have the weirdest things done. Anything above fourteenth, you've got to pack a lunch."
With a career and life never straying from her own quirky vision, Amy Sedaris has proven that she can have her cupcake (the best in the city), sell it and eat it too—just as long as she kicks back some of the proceeds to Dusty.
Rebel Rebel is great. It's really nice and small. The owner's name is David. He doesn't have everything out so if you can ask him he'll go in the back and get it for you. …more
Joe Coffee is where I sell my cupcakes. I don't drink coffee that much, but I've had it here where it's really good and creamy. …more
She's kooky but her prices are quite reasonable and I always find something in her store. …more
I've been there enough that they know what I like to read and can make good recommendations. It's real charming. …more
She has books of dresses that she has made in the past, and she'll work with what you like. …more
I went to two parties this weekend and I came here first with my dress completely unbuttoned. …more
Anything you need—if you need something ironed or pressed or something delivered last minute—they are going to take care of it for you. …more