In another life, Amy Sedaris could have been Kristin Chenoweth’s demented sister.
Instead, she’s our latest lifestyles guru – a retro homemaker who can find humor in everything your grandmother held dear.
In “At Home with Amy Sedaris,” a truTV continuation of sorts of her best-selling book, “I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence,” she shows how a gracious hostess does everything from gut a fish to entertain a businessman.
Like Tracy Ullman, Sedaris assumes several guises and isn’t afraid to look silly doing any of it. Famous friends (like Paul Giamatti, Stephen Colbert and Nick Kroll) turn up to help her dispense bad advice in a variety of situations.
A recurring segment with “The Lady Who Lives in the Woods” suggests an undercurrent that only the folks in touch with “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” could appreciate. (Trouble in homemaker paradise? Oh, yeah.)
Sedaris floats through the Betty Crocker debris like Loretta Young, opening doors, popping fake smiles and always seeming like she’s in control.
For the businessmen’s visit, she preps an elaborate meal that also includes a cameo from Patty Hogg, a griller who loves to work on the greens of a golf course. To solve a meat problem, she tosses a lamb chop into a ball washer and slaps it back on the grill. Sedaris plays her, too, but the actress is so good at creating characters she could play everyone and still entertain.
In preparation for the big dinner, she also crafts baked potato boats that let Sedaris don fake fingernails and create sails out of Kraft singles. She stacks shrimp, too, and pours drinks so strong she probably could land a deal with a Fortune 500 CEO if she could just get him to come over to her house.
Because it’s just beginning (and we’ve only seen a couple of episodes), it’s hard to say what twists “At Home” will take. It doesn’t require a lot of prep, just a winning personality willing to jump off a creative cliff.
A hit with David Letterman on his “Late Show,” Sedaris knows how to turn things quickly. She uses leers to good effect and isn’t afraid to toy with her guests.
There’s a big helping of “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” here and a lot of that character’s flair with innuendo.
Sedaris plays crazy better than anyone. “At Home” is right in her wheelhouse. It manages to send-up the trivial and make it oh-so-important.
“At Home with Amy Sedaris” begins Oct. 24 on truTV.