So why’s an ardent reader of crime fiction and noir reviewing the autobiography of a comedic actor? Because I absolutely adore Simon Pegg, that’s why.
There are very few television shows or films these days that I actually find amusing, most straying too far into lowbrow high jinks centered around arrested adolescence. Everything of Pegg’s I’ve seen, however, manages to strike just the right balance between intelligent and irreverent, clever and crass.
In Nerd Do Well Pegg gives readers a look at the upbringing and influences that shaped the sense of humor and talent we’ve all come to know and love through his work in films such as Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Paul, and the rebooted Star Trek.
Early on Pegg notes that he doesn’t find it easy to talk about himself and his family, yet he does so in such a candid, disarming way that the book reads much more intimately than I think Pegg believed he was capable of writing. Far from coming across like a stuffy memoir, Nerd Do Well has the feel of a casual conversation held while downing a couple of pints discussing shared experiences and influences.
As we were born the same year, it was fascinating to take a trip down memory lane and see how Pegg viewed many of the same movies (Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Thing) and TV shows (Six Million Dollar Man, Starsky & Hutch) that I also grew up watching. Who’d have thought at the time a show like Starsky & Hutch would actually have such a deep impression on Pegg that he credits it with shaping his attitude toward the open display of affection between heterosexual men – what is now commonly referred to as the “bromance” – an attitude that anyone who’s seen the films knows features prominently between the lead characters played by Pegg and Nick Frost in the films they’ve appeared in together.
It is also fascinating to read about the experiences Pegg, a self described super geek, has had over the years as his own star has risen meeting and interacting with childhood film heroes and actors he watched on television. From playing trivia in a pub with Gillian Anderson of X-Files fame, to finding himself living next door to Rob Morrow, whose show Northern Exposure Pegg was hooked on, to actually being asked by Steven Spielberg himself if Pegg wanted to appear in Spielberg’s film The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, Pegg has had one overwhelming experience after another for someone who at heart is still just a fanboy.
And as if the wonderfully engaging biographical portions of Nerd Do Well weren’t entertaining enough, interspersed throughout the book is a story penned by Pegg that follows the adventures of a billionaire philanthropist superhero and his robot butler/sidekick. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence the hero’s name is Simon Pegg. — EAW
Nerd Do Well is available from Gotham Books (ISBN: 978-1592406814).
– Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg –
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