I spent the weekend at a friend's house in Millbrook, New York, with Amy Sedaris. Amy has a new book out about entertaining called I LIKE YOU: HOSPITALITY UNDER THE INFLUENCE, so it was fitting that we both went to the estate/farm/compound of perhaps the greatest chef and hostess on the East Coast.
I was zonked from Hawaii and Amy was just back from a 20-city book tour, so we were both in need of pampering, crackling fires, and naps. We got that and more.
After our Saturday afternoon nap (and before dinner with a much-Oscar'd actress), I brought my computer into Amy's room, plopped on her bed, and jiffied up a good old fashioned Q&A for the blog.
HOW IS THE BOOK TOUR COMING?
Fantastic. I like doing the book tour because, unlike TV and movies, you see the audience and you meet the audience. I like taking the show on the road.
WHAT KINDS OF PEOPLE ARE SHOWING UP AT YOUR APPEARANCES? WHO ARE YOUR PEOPLE?
Two tooth minimum! I've got Mexicans, black people, kids, old people -- that's what's been so great. They keep surprising me. Yeah, there's a big gay audience, too, but it's pretty diverse.
WHAT DO YOU MOST COMMONLY WRITE IN PEOPLE'S BOOKS?
I write "Ching Chong" and draw a little guy with buck teeth, also I write "Good Times," "Drinking kills feelings," and "Go with what you know." And then for gay guys who say, "This is for my partner Tim," I always write: "Sorry you guys broke up."
I SAW YOU ON MARTHA STEWART AND IT WAS ONE OF THE WILDEST THINGS I HAVE SEEN ON TV. I FELT LIKE YOU WERE GIVING HER SHIT THE WHOLE TIME AND SHE WASN'T REALLY TAKING IT IN. WHAT WAS IT LIKE BEING ON HER SHOW?
I thought it was great. When I walked in there was a sandwich waiting for me in the dressing room, which I thought was nice. It was a turkey and swiss cheese sandwich and she had a huge staff and crew that were really nice and welcoming.
WHAT KINDS OF THINGS WERE YOU SAYING TO HER... "YOU LIVE ALONE, RIGHT??"
I haven't seen it yet but.... We made the lady baltimore cake which is in the book but I didn't really know how to make it exactly. I had just included it in the book, so I was really excited that we were going to make it together. She was supposed to be my slave but I wound up being hers.
WHAT SEPARATES YOUR CRAFTS AND HERS, DO YOU THINK?
HAVE YOU DONE ANY ODD LOCAL TV SHOWS?
Yeah, I have done a lot of local morning shows which are weird. The audiences are all old people and one guy. I did a show with a craft lady in Philadelphia; It was so funny because her crafts were all store-bought. I got a kick out of it. I made an eye burrito and I'm sure she didn't get my stuff as much as I didn't get hers. A lot of people in stores or on shows made stuff from the book including my fake cakes, so it was really nice. And then it's funny doing interviews with people who you can tell have never opened the book. Bullshit interviews.
YOU HAVE SO MANY MENU IDEAS AND PARTY THEMES FOR EVERY TYPE OF PERSON: LUMBERJACK, RICH UNCLE, THE ELDERLY... WHAT IS THEY KEY TO ENTERTAINING SOMEONE LIKE MYSELF?
For you, Andy Cohen, I would do a porterhouse steak, a potato and a vegetable and a lot of wine. I know you like wine. I think you're an easy guest. I would either make dessert or not. And then we'd burn 'em.
I THINK YOU HAVE TIPS FOR HAVING GAYS OVER. CAN YOU REMEMBER ANY?
If a gay person drops by and you want to get rid of them have them hold your baby or show them pictures of your vagina. Otherwise, they're not leaving until the liquor is gone.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE A HOSTESS CAN MAKE?
Not pre-planning. Inviting the wrong people or the wrong mix of people. Like, don't invite someone who doesn't like drugs with someone who's an addict. Don't invite a barnacle, someone out of obligation. Only invite barnacles to large parties.
WHAT ARE SOME GUEST FAUX PAS?
Not rsvp'ing. Saying you're going to show up and then not coming. Walking in the apartment with store bought flowers or something that didn't take any thought and expecting the hostess to get out of circulation and deal with them. Bringing someone unexpectedly. Falling asleep and wetting the bed.
LET'S TALK ABOUT PILLS.... WHAT REMEDIES WOULD YOU PRESCRIBE FOR THE MALADIES MENTIONED BELOW?
Ritalin or Excedrin
Xanax takes the edge off the edge. A lot of people like Vicodin. This one lady was telling me she is entertaining 25 six-year-olds and asked me to recommend something. I told her to slip them something because they won't ask questions.
OH AMY, YOU HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS! YOUR BOOK IS NUMBER 10 ON THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST.
Isn't that great?
IT IS. IT MAKES THE PERFECT HOLIDAY GIFT, SO I HOPE IT WILL KEEP ON SELLING!
OK LET'S HEAD DOWNSTAIRS AND BEGIN COCKTAILING.
OK, let's do it.