Amy Louise Sedaris (/səˈdɛər.əs/; born March 29, 1961) is an American actress, author, and comedian. She is known for playing Jerri Blank in the Comedy Central television series Strangers with Candy. She regularly collaborates with her older brother David, a humorist and author.
Sedaris was born in Endicott, New York, the daughter of Sharon Elizabeth (née Leonard) and Louis Harry "Lou" Sedaris, and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina with her siblings, Lisa, David, Gretchen, Tiffany, and Paul. Her father is of Greek descent and her mother, who has roots in the U.S. going back to Colonial America, has English ancestry. Her father is Greek Orthodox and her mother was a Protestant. She was raised in her father's Greek Orthodox faith.
At age 16, Sedaris worked at her local Winn-Dixie supermarket. She would make fake announcements over the loudspeaker, prompting the head cashier to confiscate the microphone. After work, she egged the cashier's car in protest. Later, as a cocktail waitress at Zanies Comedy Club in Chicago, Illinois, she was fired for being five minutes late. She took her revenge on her boss: "I took his keys and I threw them in the snow. I heard he found them in the spring."
A former member of Chicago-based Second City and Annoyance Theatre comedy troupes, her first major foray into television began in 1995 on the Comedy Central sketch show, Exit 57, which also starred Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello. The show was cancelled after three seasons.
Beginning in 1999, Sedaris portrayed Jerri Blank in the Comedy Central series Strangers with Candy. The show, which she co-wrote with Dinello and Colbert, was based on Sedaris's impression of 1970s-era motivational speaker Florrie Fisher. The show ran for three seasons and would later inspire a full-length movie.
Sedaris has made numerous guest appearances on a number of different TV programs, including Rescue Me, Monk, Wonder Showzen, Just Shoot Me!, Sex and the City, My Name Is Earl, The Closer, The Middle, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Raising Hope, and Sesame Street. Sedaris also hosted the series Film Fanatic on Trio.
Sedaris has appeared on many talk shows, including the Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and WTF with Marc Maron. In 2008, Sedaris appeared on Chelsea Lately during which she gave host Chelsea Handler a presentation concerning vaginal hygiene with the aid of a plush vagina created by fashion designer Todd Oldham.
In 2007, Sedaris was featured in Dolly Parton's first mainstream country music video in 14 years, "Better Get to Livin'".
It was announced in October 2008 that Sedaris would be getting her own sitcom, produced by 20th Century Fox, which she will be creating, writing and starring in. Also in late 2008, Sedaris did voiceovers in several commercials for the discount hair salon SuperCuts.
In January 2009, Sedaris narrated the PBS special Make 'Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America, a six-hour documentary on comedians and comedy in American history.
In early 2010, she appeared as a supporting character in the Canadian comedy series The Drunk and On Drugs Happy Fun Time Hour.
From September 2010 to February 2011, she also voiced the WordGirl character Miss Davis, the Woodview School's debate club teacher in the season 2 episode "Cleanup on Aisle Eleven" and where she was the schoolteacher of Becky, Todd, Violet, Tobey and Victoria in "Cherish is the Word" in season 3.
In December 2010, Sedaris was seen with Paul Dinello in the "Mummified Hand" episode of the Discovery/Science Channel show Oddities.
In 2011, she appeared in a series of commercials for Downy Unstopables, a fabric softener product. The ad was designed by Grey with the aim of "kicking the old 'mom' image with spots featuring 'laundry expert' (and accomplished lifestyle guru) Amy Sedaris".
In 2013, she played the sex-crazed sister Hershe Heartshe, in the Adult Swim surreal comedy horror show The Heart, She Holler.
In 2013, Sedaris appeared in eight episodes of Amazon's Alpha House, a political comedy series written by Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau. Sedaris played Louise Laffer, the Mormon wife of Utah Senator Louis Laffer, who lives with three other Republican senators in a town house on Capitol Hill.
Sedaris has had small roles in a number of films, including Elf, School of Rock, Maid in Manhattan, Bewitched, Snow Angels, Full Grown Men, Old Dogs, Shrek the Third, and Chicken Little. She also starred in the 2006 film adaptation of Strangers with Candy. Sedaris also had a large role in the comedy, The Best and the Brightest with Neil Patrick Harris.
She voiced Cinderella in Shrek the Third and reprised her role in Shrek Forever After. In 2008, Sedaris starred as principal Abby Hofman in Nickelodeon TV's Gym Teacher: The Movie, directed by her Strangers with Candy co-star Paul Dinello.
Print and other work:
She coauthored the text-and-picture novel Wigfield with Paul Dinello and Stephen Colbert, published in 2003. As of 2005, Sedaris writes a monthly advice column in The Believer. She has written a guide to entertaining titled I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence, published in October 2006 by Warner Books. That light-hearted approach to cooking stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for more than 12 weeks, and currently has over 350,000 copies in print.
Her book, Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People! (2010), included a cover that can be easily made into a hat, as David Letterman demonstrated during her appearance on his Late Show in October 2010.
Along with her brother David Sedaris, Amy has co-authored several plays under the name "The Talent Family": Stump the Host (1993), Stitches (1994), One Woman Shoe (1995), Incident at Cobblers Knob (1997) and The Little Frieda Mysteries. She also co-authored the play The Book of Liz with him, which has gone on to productions at such regional theaters as No Name Players.
Her theater work includes a role as the stage manager in Paul Rudnick's play The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told. In support of PETA's anti-fur campaign, Sedaris appeared as her Strangers with Candy character in an ad that reads, "When you wear fur, people laugh at you, not with you."
In addition to acting and writing, she ran a cupcake and cheese ball business, Dusty Food Cupcakes, out of her home kitchen, but has since ceased doing so.
She was the emcee for Microsoft's 2010 annual employee meeting in Seattle, Washington on September 28, 2010.
On October 10, 2014 Amy appeared on Ken Reid (comedian)'s TV Guidance Counselor Podcast. The episode was recorded live at the Brooklyn Brewery during New York Super Week.
Sedaris and her Strangers with Candy co-star Paul Dinello dated for eight years. Though their relationship ended, they have remained very close friends and Dinello made Sedaris godmother to his son. Sedaris has stated in several interviews that she has never wanted to get married or have children.
Bad Bosses Go to Hell
Wheels of Fury
Strangers with Candy: Retardation, a Celebration
Six Days Seven Nights
Student in Class
Maid in Manhattan
Untitled New York Pilot
School of Rock
My Baby's Daddy
Strangers with Candy
Romance & Cigarettes
Full Grown Men
I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With
Shrek the Third
Puberty: The Movie
Paulie the Penis
Gym Teacher: The Movie
Beware the Gonzo
The Best and the Brightest
Puss in Boots
Ping Pong Summer
Strangers with Candy
Geraldine Antonia "Jerri" Blank
Just Shoot Me!
Sex and the City
The Wrong Coast
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
The Colbert Report
My Name Is Earl
Andy Barker, P.I.
Yo Gabba Gabba!
Dr. Meg Penner
The New Adventures of Old Christine
The Drunk and On Drugs Happy Fun Time Hour
Katherine Money ("K-Money")
Hot In Cleveland
The Good Wife
Trish / Dr. Lizzy
The Heart, She Holler
Lil Bub's Special Special
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Sedaris, Colbert, Dinello. Wigfield: The Can-Do Town That Just May Not (Hyperion, May 19, 2004) ISBN 0-7868-8696-X,
I Like You: Hospitality Under The Influence (Warner Books, October 16, 2006) ISBN 0-446-57884-3,
Sedaris & Dinello. Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People (Grand Central Publishing, November 2, 2010) ISBN 0-446-55704-8
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license