Cooking With Gas
“At Home With Amy Sedaris” on truTV
Amy Sedaris is something of a comedian’s comedian. Deeply respected by her fellow comedy performers, Sedaris has popped up in countless projects over the years—from “My Name is Earl” to “BoJack Horseman” to “Sesame Street.” But she has yet to burst fully into public consciousness. Her biggest project to date was the cult Comedy Central series “Strangers With Candy,” which she starred in and co-wrote with fellow Second City members Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello. Her newest show, truTV’s “At Home With Amy Sedaris,” combines Sedaris’ love for comedy and her addiction to crafting. It’s her most personal—and arguably funniest—outing to date.
“At Home With Amy Sedaris” is a spoofy take on classic “happy homemaker” shows. It aims to provide cooking tips, craft segments and other household hints. Despite having written (mostly) straight-faced, best-selling books on cooking and crafting, Sedaris’ version of this classic TV formula is anything but serious. “At Home” looks like “Martha Stewart Living” crossed with “Pee-wee’s Playhouse.” This version of Amy Sedaris is advertised as having been “a Girl Scout for way too long” and is “very active in the House Rabbit Association.” From her rainbow-colored TV kitchen, she offers up dubious advice with a deadpan smile. During a fish-cooking segment, red snapper is described as, “a workmanlike fish known for its firm texture and abundance of mercury. Perfect if slowly poisoning a loved one is on the menu.”
Guest stars pop by (comedy pals like Scott Adsit, Todd Barry, Nick Kroll and Stephen Colbert as well as game actors like Paul Giamiatti) playing various characters. Despite well-displayed needlepoint samplers on the set declaring, “I Love Being Alone.” Sedaris spends most of her time desperately flirting with her male guests. “They say that ugly people craft and good-looking people have sex,” she happily announces before going off on a ridiculous household craft segment. A string of regular characters are played by Sedaris and others. So far, the highlight seems to be “The Lady Who Lives in the Woods” a soft-spoken hippie giving earthy advice while sparring passive-agressively with her silent partner, Ariel.
Occasionally absurdist, but hilariously self-aware, “At Home With Amy Sedaris” is the exact sort of skewering Food Network and HGTV are begging for these days. Homemaking—as stereotyped in print and on television—has always been a quixotic quest for imaginary domestic perfection. Thankfully, Sedaris is here to give it the ridiculous, deranged, occasionally dark and secretly loving spoof it deserves.