Please don’t ask me why I let them make me look ugly, because maybe I didn’t. –Judy Greer
My crush on Judy Greer was the natural way to go for a guy like me. At the risk of sounding like a Centerfold’s likes and dislikes, the ability to make me laugh has always been a tractor beam that sucked me through the magical vortex of crushitude. Throw in my nerdtastic love of the blonde librarians of the world, and you’ve got a cinched deal, my friend. And since Brian Posehn refuses to respond to the nude Polaroids I send him, I found it easy to be drawn to Judy Greer.
She’s the sort of actress who pops up in everything–most everyone has seen a movie or television show that she had some part in. My personal favorites tend toward the Archer and Arrested Development grouping, but you’re just as likely to see her as a best friend or sister in any number of romantic comedies and chick-flicks. And she’s great in those, too. But trust me: no one delivers the line “would you choke me a little bit?” quite like Judy.
I Don’t Know What You Know Me From is a collection of thoughts from someone who has danced her way through the Hollywood scene without succumbing to the cultish level of popular frenzy you see with some of the leading men and women she so often supports. It’s a light, enjoyable side of the fame story that I’m glad she took the time to tell.
To begin with, Judy Greer is a good writer. I only feel the need to point this out in order to respond to the bad tinglies I feel any time a non-writer I respect makes the decision to tap something out on the keyboard. Frankly, this is a feeling I get any time a well-known artist pops out of their comfort zone. There’s a history of this sort of thing, and every time I get my hopes up, I find myself dashed on the rocks. Ask me if breathtakingly gorgeous actresses should make cover albums of my favorite musical artists, and I’ll just break off into PTSD-induced crying jags.
But Judy Greer gave me no cause for such terrifying flashbacks. For one thing, she’s funny. For another, she knows what she’s creating here. I Don’t Know What You Know Me From is a genuinely sincere offering from an actress who is in no danger of losing her own head up her ass. The book works as a chronological memoir of her life, starting with her upbringing and her family, and eventually evolving into stories about her life as a professional co-star.
The home life and childhood anecdotes she starts us off with read like the stories of the girl you fell for on the third date: objectively they’re often the same damn stories everyone else has had. But she’s just so charming that you want to hear more. You’ll listen to her read off the ingredients of her dog’s ear medication–she’s that adorable.
A stand out moment comes in the form of an FAQ that Judy has written in order to help those hapless fans on the street who have no idea what they’ve seen her in. “I love Bridesmaids! Can I get a photo?” the fan inevitably asks. “Sure!” Judy replies. “You know I’m not in it, right?”
Throughout it all, I Don’t Know What You Know Me From maintains a level of sweetness that was more than welcome. In this age of celebrity schadenfreude, it was nice to never see Greer go into gossipy tantrums. Oh, don’t get me wrong–she gabs. But it comes from a place of humility and enthusiasm. A terrific example of this comes in the form of a picture of her Oscar-night gown, hanging off the door of a public restroom–placed there, we are informed, so that Judy can tear off her Spanx.
When she meets a celebrity that she adores or admires, she’s just as excited as you would be. And that’s the sort of person you want writing your stories about Hollywood. And overall, that’s what I enjoyed most about this book–it’s sweet. It’s sincere. It’s all the things that Hollywood is generally not. And even if Greer isn’t setting out to write The Iliad here, that doesn’t stop her from gracing us with thoughtful sentiments. While talking about falling in love with her husband, she shoots down naïve notions of love without removing the stars from her eyes:
“I guess the whole concept of love at first sight kind of slipped us by, considering that neither of us had any idea who we were staring at on our first date.”
Overall: a nice, light book written by a nice, unpretentious person. She adores her fans, and their enthusiasm clearly makes her very happy. It’s good to know that celebrities as approachable as Judy Greer exist. And it’s good to know that she doesn’t mind throwing a hearty “You’re not my supervisor!” our way every now and then.
I Don’t Know What You Know Me From is written by Judy Greer and was published on April 8th, 2014. It is available in hardcover from Amazon and in audio form from Audible.