Not that Sedaris has any intention of ever stealing an Oscar from Nicole Kidman. “I'm a clown, I'm not an actress,” she says. “I can't play a real moment to save my life. I don't want to be sexy. I want to look unattractive and I want big laughs.”
Even while off duty, the petite, pixieish Sedaris, who is in fact quite pretty, misses no opportunity to dress up in character. (She hates going to parties but loves working at them because it gives her a chance to play cocktail waitress.) According to her friends, the key to Sedaris's comic genius is that she takes all her endeavors extremely seriously, whether she's papering the walls of her apartment with Chinese candy wrappers or writing her upcoming hospitality cookbook, I Like You (Warner Books). “She's not doing these things so people will say, ‘Oh, isn't that quirky,’” says Dinello, who directed Strangers. “She waitresses because she likes it and likes earning money from it. It's who she is.”
Sedaris, who lives alone, freely admits that she has intimacy issues. “My first instinct when anything [bad] happens,” she says, “is to think of something funny to protect myself.” Although she has had several relationships, the latest with an imaginary, abusive Argentine boyfriend named Ricky, she is now single and has decided that's better for everyone.
“I'm always attracted to troubled people,” she explains. “You know, alcoholics. People who don't want to be tied down. And that's just not going to change.”