Photo Credit: Martha Stewart
On Friday's The Martha Stewart Show, comedian and famed party host Amy Sedaris showed up to challenge Martha Stewart's status as America's favorite homemaker. While cooking up a meal and crafting homemade merit badges with Her Marthaness, Sedaris kept joking that she was planing to take over Martha's home-living empire. Stewart laughed and played along... but could Sedaris actually steal her (tastefully decorated) throne?
In many ways, Strangers with Candy's Amy Sedaris is the anti-Martha. Her bestselling entertainment guide I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence satirizes conventional hostess manuals, offering absurd advice (fill your medicine cabinet with marbles to catch snooping guests!) alongside simple recipes (Amy's famous cheeseballs). Sure, it's shelved with the humor books, but it's a very real counterpoint to Stewart's ideal perfectionism. Sedaris' combination of silly, thrifty and practical ideas is irresistible to those of us who find Martha's elaborate advice (glue 400 glass beads to a ribbon-covered wire for the perfect Christmas ornament!) intimidating.
Take Sedaris' next book, the irreverently titled Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People. In the clip below, Sedaris says the book is for everyone, because "everyone's poor, and even rich people like to think they're poor!" (As if to prove her point, billionaire Stewart jumps in and explains that rich people ARE poor, thanks to the recession.) She says that the book uses basic household materials like toilet paper rolls for its craft ideas -- such as making a handy tube to stash a spare pair of underpants in your car ("You can decorate the outside with a little ric-rac"). Who knows, some crafters might need such a thing, and we love that Sedaris recognizes that the point of crafting is enjoying the process, focusing on effort and humor more than perfection.
Of course, Stewart doesn't seem threatened by Sedaris' cheeky remarks -- and why should she be? Martha is the gold standard, the queen of wedding planning, the Princess Diana of baking cheesecakes, the person we love to imitate but know we could never be. At this point in her career, she's stopped trying to convince fans she's "just like us" and embraced her status as a guru. Her upcoming reality show, Help Me, Martha, is a perfect example: Stewart will swoop in with her expert team and help ordinary mortals with their problems, "everything from wedding near-disasters to planning last-minute parties." And who wouldn't welcome a visit from Martha in the middle of a renovation or cooking crisis?
But until she shows up at our doorstep, we'll be in the kitchen, admiring Martha Stewart Living while actually making Amy Sedaris' cheeseballs.
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