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What's the weirdest thing you've ever gotten, though?

Something that I've ordered and it's just weird? I'll tell you, the weird stuff I get is when people send me weird shit. It's not a problem, but I still have that Girl Scout mentality. I just like the transaction. I've got my jars of money, I don't want things to be complicated. If I do products for I Like You, it's going to be me and this other person. I operate right from a jar. I want it to be very simple. So it's weird when people ask me for an autograph and they send me fan mail. I wait until it stacks up like that (points to stacks of unopened fan mail on table), I get out the box from under my bed and I xerox all the pictures of Jerri or whatever, and then I buy the cardboard, I buy my things--so it's very handmade, and I do it all. But sometimes fans will send me weird shit, and I just get a bad vibe from the box immediately. Very seldom do I keep anything a fan sends me. I mean like, people who read an article saying that I like taxidermy, so they'd send me something. That kind of weird shit. But they don't know me at all. And so then I'll respond. I'll write them back, and if they write me back, I never write them back because it's like, I did it once, whatever. Or, if they send me pictures and I don't know them--

Are you serious? That's weird.

Yeah, that's weird. But what is nice is when you send the envelope and a stamp. I don't know how much longer I'll do that because when it stacks up, I just get, like, you know--and same with delivering cupcakes. I haven't made a delivery in a while because of the heat, and now I'm just like, ugh, how much longer am I gonna do that? I don't know.

With your fan mail, have you ever thought about getting a PO box or getting an agency to handle it?

But see, then that, to me, would be something else. I like to be a hands-on person and making the transaction, but at the same time, I don't want people to know my address, of course. Sometimes it goes to my agency and they forward it here. Or if I open it and read it, and it's just weird, I won't respond. You can tell when they're going to sell it. Like if they send you two index cards and they're like, "Oh, I loved you in Six Days, Seven Nights," then you can tell they're just looking for something to sell. But, I figure that I know that's going to happen and there's nothing I can do about it. But I do come across people who say, thank you so much, you did this thing.

What are some of your favorite childhood memories?

Oh, gosh, I have so many. I have good childhood memories--Growing up in Raleigh and going to school and Girl Scouts and my family. There's so many...

Is there anything that stands out?

A bad one is when I failed first grade. That's what shaped me. That's my tragedy right there. I went grocery shopping with my dad every Friday night, and I'd wear different wigs, and went in different characters. I did it every Friday night up to high school. And I was still a Girl Scout in high school, too.

Did you wear your Girl Scout uniform to school and everything?

Yeah, I did.

Okay, this is actually kind of what we were just talking about. What's the freakiest or strangest thing that a fan has ever given you?

Oh, well, there you go.

Yeah, and the second part of that question is, what's the freakiest fan encounter you've ever had?

Well, that would take something for me to think about. But just the other night I was on the corner with some friends, and this guy came over and just stood next to me. I was talking to somebody and I was just like, what? It was just weird. And it was inappropriate, and inconsiderate and it was just annoying, you know? It doesn't happen too much but that was just something that happened last week that I thought, hmmm, that's weird that he would do that. And then the weird stuff that fans send me.

Like what's some of the freakiest stuff?

Like any kind of weird taxidermy thing, a picture of themselves. Or a framed pictures of themselves.

Are you serious? Have you gotten a framed picture?

Oh yeah, definitely. Or drawings of Jerri--which I save all Jerri Blank artwork. I actually save it. But, yeah, people just send the weirdest stuff. Like, what do you think I'm going to do with it?

What's the best gift you've ever given, and what's the best gift you've ever received?

Time. Your gift of time. Um... The best present I ever gave somebody is a brush that I found, like a hand brush, and it had someone's initials. It was J.E.W. And I gave it to my brother, David. That was a good find.

Haha, Jew brush!

Yeah, isn't that great? And then the best one I've received? God, I couldn't answer that question. There's so many things... The last gift I got that was one of my favorites was a painting of Dusty right here that Hugh Hamerick, my favorite painter, did for me. But, you know, I get good presents.

If couldn't bake, rock, or massage your rabbit, would you stay up all night doing?

Smoking pot probably. Smoking pot. Yeah, that's what I would do. Smoking pot.

What are some books you think that everyone needs to read, and what are some movies that everyone should see?

Well, because I've been working on my own book, I have to catch up with my books. Before I started working on my book, the last book--I hate to even mention it because I have a sore spot for it now-- was The Glass Castle. I read it before it came out and I loved it. It's a fucking awesome book. And I have a secret list of books that are very special to me that a lot of people probably don't know about, and that's what I like about it. Like, oh, I know you're going to like this book, it's an honor to give you this book. You know what I mean? And so what's hard is, now that The Glass Castle is out in paperback and Oprah mentioned it, it's a big hit and they're gonna make a movie out of it. I just cringe because that's ruined it for me. It's like when an independent movie star becomes a movie star, and you're just like, curses. You want to feel like you discovered that book, so I'm really careful when I mention about what books that I like. I don't know why. But I think that Random Family, that was a really good book--

Oh yeah, I loved that.

The Glass Castle is a really good book, but now it's a hip thing to read, so that bothers me. That book I mention that was inspiration for Jerri Blank, Is There No Place on Earth for Me? by Susan Sheehan. Any of her books are fantastic. I read it every year. To Kill A Mockingbird. I try to read that once a year in the fall, and Sissy Spacek just did that on audio. Any Richard Yates book--Easter Parade, Revolutionary Road. Of course, my brother's books are always really good. I just ordered All the King's Men. Sean Penn is my favorite actor and I'm going to go see the movie. But everyone said it's an incredible book, so I don't want to cheat myself. But, you know, I'm excited. I can't wait to start reading again. That book, Monster, I was inspired by that. That's another good one.

What about movies? What are some movies that you think everyone should see?

Well, I loved Far From Heaven. Of course, any Sean Penn movie--obsessed with. Any Helen Mirren movie--obsessed with. Well, To Kill A Mockingbird, of course. I haven't been to the theater in a really long time. I'm trying to think of the last movie I saw where I was so focused, I couldn't take my eyes off the screen... That was Far From Heaven. Safe is a good one. Brokeback Mountain--I watched that twice, back-to-back. Well, it's a Sean Penn movie--but what's that one he did with Gary Oldman? State of Grace. That's really good. And Nil By Mouth is really good. I don't think there are any comedies on there.

Yeah, I know you don't really like comedies.

Yeah, I can't even think of one.... Oh, I thought School of Rock was good. I like Jack Black. I think he did a good job.

If you could be granted 3 wishes, not including more wishes, what would you wish for?

Well, really queer stuff. Like the whole war thing. I really wish that would just end. I really can't believe the situation and I'm just embarrassed that we're doing that to the world. And I know that's a queer answer, but one thing about me that people aren't going to know is that I'm obsessed with my prayers at night. Sometimes I go to bed on purpose just so I can start getting ready to say my prayers. I've said them every night in my entire life. And that's one thing I wish--that that whole situation would just end. I think it's terrible. I hope I'm the first one to die in my family because I don't want to deal with losing anybody. I don't want to deal with brothers and sisters dying. I don't want to go through that, so I'm hoping I'm the first one to go. I was going to say to be paralyzed from the waist down for a day. But it would only be a day to see what that was like. If there was something that I could have just for a day--some kind of disability, if it's blindness or deafness or paralyzed--something just for a day to see what it's like. Something equivalent to a supermodel. Something that would be so extreme--when you have those split-second surprises in your life, like a car accident or a tumor or whatever, where it changes your life and you go down the road. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, but it would just be interesting to see what a disability would be like. I'd be curious.

Really, wow.

I mean, it's terrible wishing, but I had to pick something.

(*Amy later mentioned that one of her wishes would be to have computer skills, even if just for a day, because she gets tired of having to rely on having her friends come over to help her do everything on the computer.)

I mean, can't you just do like Jerri Blank and put a blindfold with skulls on it around your face?

(in Jerri Blank voice) I wanna see! I wanna see! I wanna see! I wanna see!

Mr. Jellineck just impaled himself with scissors! I wanna see!

That was fun. That was a fun episode. I remember doing that bit. You know, breaking the glass and everything. It was just me and the camera men. It was like 6 o'clock at night, it was a really nice night. Just me and the crew--Paul and Stephen weren't there--and we did it. Man, I laughed so hard. I could not wait to do it again. That was fun.

That was classic.

Yeah, that was a fun episode.

What are your favorite things about your rabbit, Dusty? What are your favorite things that she does?

Well, I like having a prey animal in the house because I can make them feel safe. I like that idea because they're always afraid they're gonna be eaten, and I like them to know that, hey, you are safe--nothing's gonna happen to you. That makes me feel good. You know, it's probably the same things with you. They go to bed with you. I like waking up in the middle of the night and seeing her at the foot of the bed. I like waking up with her face in my face. And when she jumps on your stomach. I get so much joy out of watching her hop because I'm still amazed by rabbits. And again, the whole thing where they see behind themselves. I like their vision. I like that about rabbits, or any animal with eyes on the side of their head. That's interesting to me. And it's inspiring because she's a vegetarian, like we all should, you know, but...

Does she ever play with toys or anything?

She does. Or, she'd rather play with something that isn't a toy, but she will. Especially--I don't know if you find it to be true--but if you're on the same level, like if you're on the floor with them, then it's a whole different ball game. They like it when you're down on the ground, because then they tend to play more. They'll come up to you and get on your back. I had a lady stay here when I was in L.A. She's not an animal person, she's not a rabbit person and I was very nervous. She just fell in love with Dusty. And they're manipulators. She's street-smart, and she plays me and thinks I'm the queerest person in the world. I love her too much. I mean, I know who I am with her... Like, oh God, just queer. So I like playing that game with her.

Right. Yeah, they're so much fun.

Yeah, they are.

amy sedaris' rabbit, dusty
Amy's rabbit, Dusty, tolerates a photo
(By Katie Richardson)

And I think that a lot of people don't realize that if you actually give a rabbit space to be free, and interact with it--if you do more with your rabbit than just get a cage or a hutch and just let him sit in it, and it's so sad, I hate when people do that--but people don't realize that they're really very much like having a cat or a dog.

Right. Yeah, I'll take her in the hallway and she'll run up and down the hall. She's really good. She loves to go out in the hallway and run. But I wait until like 1 in the morning because everyone's off the elevator and stuff.

Has she ever gotten on an elevator by accident, or gone in somebody's apartment?

No. But sometimes she'll just disappear out there and I'll be like, where did she go?

So you just leave your door open so she can come and go?

No, usually I'm out there. One time I turned my back for a second and she just took off. I was like, wow, what is she doing!? But they say, the more freedom you give them, the harder it is to pick them up--the more resistant. It makes sense, even with a person. Like, the more freedom you give them, it's harder to discipline them. I'm making a video for the House Rabbit Society about rabbit-proofing. That'll be fun.

What's your favorite character to play and what's the costume for it?

I think my favorite one was this play that David and I wrote called Incident at Cobbler's Knob, where I played a donkey. And I only did it for a few nights, but it didn't come alive until opening night--until there was an audience--and then you're in the moment and you can focus. So I think that's the last time I really felt like it came alive, you know, in that moment, and I had so much fun doing it. I had overalls on with shit. A guy made it look like shit. It was a really dirty donkey. That was the last character I played where it was like, wow, so much fun and I did it just those few times and that was it. That was the best, I think.

Okay, I got the idea for this question because you talked about the time you were scraping laminates off of that book cabinet with the 3-in-1 tool and stabbed yourself under the nose. You were doing that diary thing for BlackBook, and I laughed so hard because you took a Polaroid of yourself with hot pink pantyhose wrapped around your face--

I still have it. The tights.

So, what's the worst you've ever injured yourself?

I was trying to remember something else I did that was really stupid. I was in Chicago and I was doing something with a hammer. I can't remember what it was, though. And I remember being like, wow, that was really stupid. And I can't think of what it was, and I've been racking my brain. I was living with Paul at the time and I remember telling him, wow, that was really bad and really stupid and really dangerous, and he goes, you could've lost an eye. I can't remember what it was. But that was pretty big. And that fucking scraper. God, that hurt. You know what I mean, that was really stupid.

If you could spend the day with any one person, dead or living, who would it be and what would you do?

What would you wear?... It might be queer, but I guess my mom because she's not around anymore, but that's an easy answer. If it was like that, I'd probably want to spend another day with my mom. There are so many people who I can think of that would be so much fun. Or, it would be interesting to spend the day with yourself when you were like 5. You know, just to say, here's where I am now, and you're 5 and you're like, what? That would be fun, too.

This is actually my last question. What do you love more than anything in the world besides a person or a rabbit?

I love observing people. I love just being able to observe. And I'm pretty good about it, too. Like, I'm a good observer and I love just being able to do that and take it in, and be able to observe and watch people. I like doing that. That, and just being by myself. I like being by myself. Love it.

-September 16, 2006

amy sedaris copyright by katie richardson