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‘Shrinking’ Star Matt Knudsen on Why He Wrote a ‘Feel Good’ Memoir About His Hollywood Experiences

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Matt Knudsen says his recent Hollywood memoir isn’t so much a “tell-all” as it is a “tell-some.” Far from revealing a seamy underside of the business, the actor and stand-up has taken the revolutionary stance of relaying stories about friendly celebrities and positive adventures in his new book, “Have I Seen You In Anything?: True Hollywood Stories from a Guy that Seems Familiar.”

Most recently onscreen as a regular patient of Jason Segel’s therapist on the AppleTV+ comedy “Shrinking,” Knudsen has spent the last two decades as a working actor, sharing scenes with everyone from Michael Douglas to Alan Arkin. In his book, now available for purchase on Amazon, Knudsen details these encounters and more — including getting his union card thanks to Ben Stiller and winning $90,000 on a game show with help from Chuck Woolery.

When did you first start to realize that your experiences as a working actor would make a good book? And what sets this apart from other “Hollywood” stories?
Before moving to Los Angeles, I was a merchant marine and showed up in town without a job or a single connection. Since then, I’ve worked with Oscar-winning actors, I’ve met Hugh Hefner in the Playboy mansion, and William Shatner asked me to call him Bill. The only reason that any of these stories exist is because my dreams came true. I always say that I have yet to hit it big, but I’ve hit it medium for a long time. I’ve been very lucky, and have managed to stumble my way into some pretty Forrest Gump-ish random places. “Yes” is the gateway to adventure.

The idea to focus on the positive seems unique — can you talk about that choice?
I think people are sick and tired of cynicism and negativity. Enough already. Pessimism isn’t only gross, it’s also self-sabotaging. Nobody wants to hang out with an Eeyore. The worst. I believe that we’re long overdue for a pendulum swing to the light, and I literally wanted to write a “feel good” book. Also, by writing positive and uplifting true stories, I hope fans will like their favorite stars even more. These people were class acts all the way, and they deserve recognition for it. I throw people over the bus!

What was your favorite encounter to write about?
It’s tough to pick a favorite because they’re all so random but I would have to put working on “The Big Bang Theory” toward the top of the list, only because my wife is first generation American and her family in Hungary loves the show. “The Big Bang Theory” is how they laugh and joke around with each other. It’s really sweet. I told Chuck Lorre that story on the set of “The Kominsky Method” and I’m convinced that’s why he hired me. When I worked on “Big Bang,” they only had eight episodes left in the entire series, so I just snuck in there. Bazinga!

Having worked with so many amazing people, do you still find yourself getting starstruck?
I get starstruck all the time, especially when I get a chance to work with someone I really, really respect. I can say without hyperbole, that “Malcolm in the Middle” was my first big break. I had a two-person scene with Bryan Cranston — detailed in Chapter 6 — where I played Hal’s therapist, Jesus Christ. Bryan Cranston is theeee best. Gracious. Cool. And needless to say, a generational talent. Even now, when I’m around famous people, I try to keep my head low. On set, I always bring along a book that I pretend to read while I’m running lines in my head.

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Anyone you haven’t worked with you’re dying to?
Ironically, even though I play Steven in the AppleTV+ show “Shrinking,” I have never worked with or even met Harrison Ford. Since Steven was a patient of Jimmy’s, all of my scenes were with Jason Segel — who is the funniest and nicest guy. How does one even start a conversation with Harrison Ford? I mean, how many times do you think he’s heard, “Throw me the idol!” From all accounts he’s extremely gracious, warm, and self-effacing. A true actor’s actor. Jason shared that Harrison was literally on set working on his 80th birthday. The cast and crew brought out a big cake and before he blew out his candles someone said, “Harrison, make a wish.” His wish? “I wish I wasn’t 80!” *blow* Icon!

Source: Variety

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