Amy Sedaris and Scott Adsit on Weirdness and Satire in The Heart, She Holler

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Amy Sedaris is talking about the process of getting into character for The Heart, She Holler. She says it only takes 15 minutes to become Hurshee—the big-haired, over-the-top prostitute she portrays on the Adult Swim series, now in its third season. “You pop the teeth in, you pop the wig on,” says Sedaris, who is well known for transforming herself into unusual characters. She mentions that the make-up artist is right-handed, but uses her left hand to help get Sedaris ready.

“You don’t allow people to use their right hand on you?” asks Scott Adsit, who plays Sheriff in the show. Sedaris laughs. “Only their feet, and their left hand. That’s my rule. It’s in my contract.”

Sedaris and Adsit, two relatively new co-stars, have great chemistry. Adsit, formerly of 30 Rock and, more recently, the voice of Baymax in Big Hero 6, just took over the role of Sheriff from Joseph Sikora. Sedaris came in as Hurshee during the series’ second season, replacing Kristen Schaal. When Season Three opens, Hurshee and Sheriff are in the midst of a torrid affair.

“I was kind of kind of indoctrinated on the very first day in a scene where I’m being puppeted around by Amy’s character’s pubic hair,” says Adsit. “Miles and miles of long strands of pubic hair that were marionette-ing me about in town.”

“That was my first day,” he adds. “Then it got weird.”

The Heart, She Holler follows the bizarre antics, family drama and sometimes supernatural happenings that occur in the Southern Heartshe Holler after the death of the town’s leader. Hurshee is the overly made-up vixen, who spills out of outfits as she tries to stir up trouble. “The clothes got skimpier and skimpier, and I’m not a fan of tight clothes,” says Sedaris. “I don’t wear tight clothes in real life.”

Still, Sedaris had plenty of fun in the role. “If you’re ugly from the neck up, it’s easy to play sexy. It’s fun,” she says. “I like to play unattractive women who think they’re attractive, and care about how they look, and they want to put it out there.”

Adsit’s Sheriff is married to Hambrosia, although he continues to carry on with Hurshee. “There’s a deeper emotional tie between the two of us,” Adsit says of the two characters.

The show airs like a 1980s miniseries, with a new episode in the saga premiering nightly until its conclusion. All seven episodes of Season Three were filmed in just a matter of weeks. “We did everything by set, so they would build the kitchen set, and do all the kitchen scenes in all the seven episodes,” says Sedaris. “It was tricky to figure out how you were going to memorize it, and where you were in the script. Sometimes, I had no idea where I was, and I was perfectly content not knowing where I was.”

Written and directed by John Lee and Vernon Chatman, best known for the cult favorite Wonder Showzen, the show mixes physical comedy with satire. “There’s also this undercurrent, which all great art has, which is a point of view and an opinion to express,” says Adsit. “You might miss it if you’re not looking for something deeper than just the grotesquerie going on, but it’s there.”

Adsit thinks that Sheriff might have, at some point in childhood, been a good person. At this point, though, he isn’t. “Just because of where he is, and what is considered normal, he’s as corrupt as anyone else there,” he says.

Sedaris, who also stars in BoJack Horseman, is pretty sure that there’s nothing good inside Hurshee, although we’re seeing a slightly different side of the character this season. “This season is all about feelings,” she says. Hurshee may have deeper feelings in previous seasons, but she’s still a manipulative, ill-intentioned character.

For both actors, the show has been a treat, largely because they enjoy doing physical comedy. Sedaris says that working with Lee and Chatman has been exciting. “They give the perfect notes,” she says.

“Anything new that you put in, anything new you do, or add—if they like it, they’ll run and tell you. It’s such a good feeling when they come rushing up to you to give you notes. You don’t get that on every show.”

Season Three of The Heart, She Holler premiered on December 1, and concludes on December 10.

Liz Ohanesian writes about pop culture from her base in Los Angeles. For updates, follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

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