Amy Sedaris says no to many projects: ‘I can’t leave my rabbit for 2 weeks’

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The third episode of At Home with Amy Sedaris second season airs tonight with Rose Byrne as the guest star. Since Amy’s first season was nominated for an Emmy and a Writers Guild award, season two is getting much more attention, which is good because so far it’s worth it. The second episode had Jessica Waters, Martha Plimpton and Campbell Scott, all of whom were a riot. Obviously, having her own show allows her a few luxuries, like creative control. Another added bonus? Sticking close to home so she doesn’t have to leave her rabbit, Tina. Amy is so devoted to Tina, she’s willing to turn down work so she doesn’t have to leave her for too long.

The first step to impressing her as a guest on “At Home,” she says, is the simple act of saying yes. Doing so doesn’t always come easy, after all.

“I am the queen of no,” Sedaris admits. “ ‘Amy, you haven’t even heard the question.’ ‘No—I can’t!’ People who say ‘yes’—it opens up everything. You learn that in improv: You say, ‘Yes, and…’

“But ‘no’ makes me laugh. Nothing’s funnier than ‘no.’ ”

Even in a career that boasts guest-starring roles on shows including “The Good Wife,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” and “Sex and the City,” and voice credits on the likes of “BoJack Horseman,” “American Dad!,” and “SpongeBob SquarePants” (not to mention a litany of appearances on programs like “Late Show With David Letterman” and Alec Baldwin’s “Match Game” reboot), Sedaris admits that she says “no” a lot. Moreover, she’s frank about why she turns these things down.

“Sometimes I’m like, ‘That’s too much to memorize.’ Or I’m just lazy. Or they want me for one day but I have to be there for nine. I’d rather clean my apartment; I can’t leave my rabbit for two weeks. It never makes any sense. My first instinct is: ‘I can’t do it.’ Or I just don’t think I’m right for it. I always think you’ve hired the wrong person. That’s why I like to create my own [work].”

While Sedaris’ work at the Second City helped hone her on-her-feet skills—“I like theater for that reason: You get one chance. You’re not going to stop the play to say, ‘You can’t say that!’ ”—it also introduced her to a new way of thinking about her approach to performing. Having always been drawn to character work and absurd makeup jobs, she slowly began to put a greater emphasis on broad physical comedy—in part thanks to her neighbor at the time.

“I lived above a deaf girl in Chicago. She was 5. When I met her, everything changed. From that day on, no matter what I was doing, I wanted to make sure a deaf person could follow it,” she says. Even now, when one looks at characters like Jerri Blank on “Strangers With Candy” or those on “At Home,” it’s obvious Sedaris continues to prize a kind of visual humor above others.

“I sometimes watch things with the volume down just to see if it’s entertaining,” she says. “When I act, I’m acting as if a deaf person is watching our show.”

[From Backstage]

This reminds me of those Hollywood couples who have rules for how long they spend apart from each other. I could see Amy on her hands and knees, explaining to Tina that she needs to go away for the weekend to attend some awards ceremony. OMG, I just realized, if Amy wins for season two, she’s going to thank Tina, isn’t she? I find Amy’s non-Tina related reasons for turning stuff down interesting as well. Considering the longevity of her career and the caliber of people who drop everything just to put in a five-minute guest spot on her quirky little show, you’d think she’d have an inflated ego more than anything. But she’s so humble about it. Not quite Imposter Syndrome but modest, certainly.

I like her reason for leaning into physical comedy, that she wants to be funny even with the sound off. That does come across in her characters and sketches. She doesn’t go into pratfalls and cheap tricks, but a lot of jokes in her show have no dialogue to them. Plus she’s fantastic at a reaction shot.

A couple of you correctly pointed out in the last Amy post that if I am going to mention Tina in the post, I should include a shot of her so let me remedy that now:

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Rabbit rabbit #rabbitrabbit #2019 Tina Bunny

A post shared by Amy Sedaris (@amysedaris) on

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Photo credit: WENN Photos, Getty Images and Instagram

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23 Responses to “Amy Sedaris says no to many projects: ‘I can’t leave my rabbit for 2 weeks’”

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  1. mary ellen says:

    I left my dogs for a two-week work trip in January and was anxious the entire time, so I totally understand this. It’s a long time to be away from them.

  2. gemcat says:

    this is so like me. I hate leaving my rabbit and even when I have the closest of friends watch her for a few weeks, if I go overseas, I worry the whole time and can’t wait to get back to her. She’s like an extra child..

    Also, just to add to the rabbit pics if anyone is interested (I’m not really using this account anymore but there are plenty of cute bunny posts still):
    https://instagram.com/primrose_bunny?utm_source=ig_profile_share&igshid=1u87asacvqzdr

    • Erinn says:

      SOOO cute. One of my friends has a bunny. She works from home remotely so it works out really well for her. But she’s had to rush her to the emergency department a couple of times – I don’t know how bunny owners do it! It’s so stressful with the whole not being able to puke thing.

      I get really anxious leaving the cats. Our cat that passed this summer was very very old (19) and was hyperthyroid and had an enlarged heart. She needed medication twice a day and I didn’t really trust anyone else to do it because there was such a process involved in tricking her to take it. Then our dog is very anxious – and occasionally has tried chasing/nipping at the cats (we have baby gates set up to give the cats their space where she can’t get, but for the most part she’s good with them), so that’s another issue piled on that is difficult to deal with.

      • gemcat says:

        @Erinn I am biased for sure, but yeah she’s a cutie isn’t she! I have to worry when she sheds (the two major times a year) as she gets minor gastro issues then..never from having eaten anything dangerous through as this place is pretty darn bunny-proofed by now.. As long as she has fresh hay and same routine of feeding she’s pretty easy. I have insurance for her and work from home a lot so I can always tell if she’s off in any way straight away, if she doesn’t come running (bolting from the other room) if I eat a banana something is up, ha!

        That does sound stressful, and yeah I truly get the medication side of things, you don’t want to stress them out any more than you have to or risk it being done wrong.

        Sorry to hear about your cat that passed, it is always horribly sad to lose a pet even when they are old and its “time”..

  3. Emily says:

    As a rabbit owner, I totally get it.

  4. Krakken says:

    Thanks for featuring Amy. I adore her.

  5. ByTheSea says:

    I think she was being facetious. The point being that she uses anything as an excuse to say no; that her go-to answer is no. Then she may or may not talk herself into accepting.

  6. Nina says:

    I can relate as a parent of two bunnies, not everyone knows how to properly care for them.

  7. hnmmom says:

    I would love nothing more than to eat a meal with the Sedaris family. And I while I also agree she was being a tad facetious in her Tina comments, that rabbit is adorable. I would have a hard time leaving that sweetness, too. Back in the day with our first dog 20 years ago, we went away for a two week trip to Europe and left her with our neighbor. We sent the dog postcards almost every day and missed her like crazy.

  8. Justmyopinion says:

    My bunny has very specific needs that only i can take care of (she doesn’t like being handled), so having others babysit is out.

  9. Kimma1216 says:

    I have 5 senior rescue dogs and my anxiety goes through the roof when I have to travel for work. I hate leaving them and when I am home, all I want is to be with them..

  10. Laur says:

    Rabbit needs and behaviour is a lot more complex than most people think, people think you can just stick them in a hutch with some hay and that’s it. I have two house buns, one of which is disabled, I don’t even like asking my other half to do stuff for them because he doesn’t always do it properly and I always have to leave a list for each day… I’m lucky we have a pet sitter who is amazing, she’s so patient and understanding, and she sends me pictures of them so I know they’re fine! In my head they miss me way more than they actually do 😂

  11. Ye says:

    I have always adored Amy, ever since binging all her Letterman interviews. And now i like her more.

  12. gingersnaps says:

    A few years ago, I had to make a tough decision on whether I should bring my house rabbit with me to Europe from Asia. I was determined to bring him with me and even started preparations, I got him a pet passport and microchip but I knew that with him being such a skittish bun, he hates car rides to the vet and it always looks like he was going to have a heart attack with that the way his heart was beating so fast every time I took him out. He would also need to go on the cargo as no airline would accept a rabbit in the cabin, the flight would be nearly 24 hours with two stopovers/layover and then a 6 month quarantine to a registered animal centre. I finally accepted that I couldn’t let him go through that as I knew he would probably have a heart attack in the plane alone and was fortunate to connect with a friend of mine who share the same view of caring of bunnies/pets. No hutch/cages instead a safe, secure room for him to run around. Her family especially the children were gentle with him and they loved & cared for him. He passed away when he was 8 years old.

    • gemcat says:

      @gingersnaps That was an incredibly hard decision that you had to make, and it really seems like you made the right one..they sound like a lovely family to leave him with.

      I am torn between different continents too and while my bunny is okay with shorter travels, long flights are just out of the question. She is a cage-free house bunny and runs the whole house, she even gets cranky if my daughter gets into bed with me -its hilarious. I wish I could travel more though, but looks like I am stuck in one place for now!

      • gingersnaps says:

        Thank you Gemcat. Yes, it was such a hard decision for me to make and I felt like I was selfish, selfish for wanting to bring him with me on my journey and selfish for wanting him to be safe & alive and not die alone and terrified in a cargo hold. He was my baby since my sister brought him home and purchased on a whim.
        I cared for him since then, brought him to the vets for check ups and a neuter and spoiled him with everything, he had a better diet than me. He was free to roam and was the boss of me, the amount of my stuff that he wrecked because he wanted to nibble on it were just countless, he destroyed a netbook’s keyboard and attempted to eat my macbook’s keyboard as well not to mention the numerous cables. He thought me how to love unconditionally and make sacrifices. I would often go without when funds were low but made sure that he had his food supplies and stuff like that. I will always miss my forever baby and hope that he is happy eating all the hay and treats that he likes at the bridge.

  13. Jess says:

    She is so awesome. I have loved her ever since Strangers with Candy. And I’m really happy to hear that other people appreciate her and the reason we don’t get more Amy is because she chooses to say no (as opposed to Hollywood not appreciating her awesomeness).

    • lucy2 says:

      Me too! I’m glad she’s only doing what she wants to do.

      I have a great pet sitter, but I hate leaving my cats for more than a few days. I’m doing a 2 week trip this summer and it’s going to be tough, for them and for me!

  14. Jb says:

    Whenever my husband suggests a trip, I always think but what about our dog?! I get nervous when it’s for more than a few days because I always get scared something is happening and I can’t do anything about it..

  15. Beech says:

    I watched a youtube tour of her apartment that included Tina. Tina is male. Amy thought Tina was female but at some point learned otherwise. Eh it happens. Tina has scratched on the sofa and Amy applies patches. She also has a lampshade made of the hair samples you see in beauty salons. As one does.

  16. BeanieBean says:

    That second dress is veering into Phyllis Diller territory.

  17. Keaton says:

    Thanks for featuring Amy so much. I love her! I can’t believe I haven’t checked out her show yet.