I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star
Judy Greer (Twitter)
Audiobook read by the author
Doubleday (April 2014), Hardcover (ISBN 0385537883 / 9780385537889)
Nonfiction: memoir/essays, 256 pages
Source: Purchased audiobook (Random House Audio (April 2014), ISBN 9780804149150 / Audible ASIN B00IPJTXHO)
I know exactly what I know Judy Greer from, and it’s why I knew that if I i intended to read her memoir/essay collection, I Don’t Know What You Know Me From, at all, I’d be reading it in audiobook. Greer is most familiar to me as the voice of Cheryl/Carol/Cherlene, the independently wealthy office assistant/microchipped country-music star from Archer. I might not identify her right away if I saw her, but I’m pretty sure I’d place her quickly if I heard her.
I Don’t Know What You Know Me From is divided into three main sections, “Early Life,” “Hollywood Life,” and “Real Life.” The Hollywood stories Greer chooses to share are somewhat idiosyncratic, often amusing, and give readers a good feel for the life of a working actor (she acknowledges her good fortune in never needing to fall back on a waitressing job since college). Their effectiveness is enhanced by the fact that by the time she gets to those stories, Greer has already established her down-to-earth, Midwestern, good-girlfriend persona–you want to come along for her Hollywood ride, and be gratified to see that success hasn’t spoiled her. “Real Life” is divided between work and family–and for Greer, it’s a literal divide. She and her husband spend half their time in her house in LA, and half in his house with his kids from his first marriage (in the next town over from where I live. I really might recognize her from her voice someday…at the mall); not surprisingly, I was especially interested in her adventures in step-parenting.
Greer doesn’t come “from” comedy in the way that so many memoir/essay writers seem to–she acknowledges that despite attending college in Chicago, she’s never even seen a Second City performance, let alone been part of the fabled improv company–but she’s done a lot of work in comedy, and her writing clearly displays a flair for it. A sense of humor seems like a good thing to have if one wants a career in entertainment, and Greer has carved out a solid one. She works steadily in a variety of formats–big movies, small movies, television, animation, theater, and the Internet, where she hosts the web series Reluctantly Healthy; her work is well-regarded enough to remain steady; and she’s recognizable, even if people can’t always figure out why. Maybe this book will help. I Don’t Know What You Know Me From was a thoroughly likable listen, thanks to the fact that Judy Greer comes through as a thoroughly likable person, and someone I really enjoyed getting to know.
You know Judy Greer, right? Maybe from The Wedding Planner, 13 Going on 30, Carrie, Arrested Development, or The Descendants. Yes, you totally recognize her. And, odds are, you already feel like she’s your friend.
In her first book of essays, I Don’t Know What You Know Me From, Greer writes about everything you would hope to hear from your best friend: how a midnight shopping trip to Walgreens can cure all; what it’s like to wake up one day with stepchildren; and how she really feels about fans telling her that she’s prettier in person. Yes, it’s all here—from the hilarious moments to the intimate confessions.
But Judy Greer isn’t just a regular friend–she’s a celebrity friend. Want to know which celebs she’s peed next to? Or what the Academy Awards are actually like? Or which hot actor gave her father a Harley-Davidson? Don’t worry; Greer reveals all of that, too. You’ll love her because, besides being laugh-out-loud funny, she makes us genuinely feel like she’s one of us. Because even though she sometimes has a stylist and a makeup artist, she still wears (and hates!) Spanx. Because even after almost twenty years in Hollywood, she still hasn’t figured everything out—except that you should always wash your face before bed. Always.
From the Introduction:
“I am not a movie star. Chances are when you walked by my book and saw my face, you didn’t know what my name was, but you knew that I looked familiar. Perhaps you think we have a friend in common–we don’t. Or that I was in your sorority–I wasn’t. Maybe you do know that I’m an actress, but you just don’t know my name. You might remember me from as far back as The Wedding Planner or as recent as Arrested Development or Carrie. It’s hard to say, since I’ve had so many different jobs and played so many different characters. What are you into? What do you like to watch? Are you into movies or television? Indie films or blockbusters? See, if I had the time, and we were in the same room, I could sit down with you and maybe tell you what you liked me from.”