It’s a good week to be Jennifer Westfeldt, the actress best known for Kissing Jessica Stein and ABC’s Notes From the Underbelly, and envied for her 11-year relationship with Mad Men’s Jon Hamm. She’s in the midst of a three-episode arc on Grey’s Anatomy (Thursdays, 9 p.m.), guest-starring as a pregnant woman who accidentally ran over her husband, then had a seizure in the hospital while he was in surgery, and now awaits an operation for an aneurysm. She stars in the Hallmark Channel movie Before You Say ‘I Do’ (Feb. 14, 9 p.m.), playing a divorcée whose current love (Gilmore Girls’ David Sutcliffe) travels back in time to stop the wedding that turned her off of marriage forever. And, she got to phone PopWatch and graciously answer questions like, “What does Jon really smell like? Please say frosting.” Yes, she’s one lucky lady….
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was it that drew you to Before You Say ‘I Do’?
JENNIFER WESTFELDT: I don’t know if you saw my second film, Ira and Abby, but it was a comedy about the dysfunction of marriage, and whether or not it’s an outdated institution since so many end in divorce. So I thought it was just a funny synchronicity that [Before You Said ‘I Do’’s] theme was similar to theme I’d written about. And certainly, being in an 11-year relationship unmarried gives me a good perspective on that character. [Laughs] We get this question all the time. “When are you gonna get married?” We’ve seen so much divorce in our lives – both in our families and in our friends circle, honestly – that we’ve always kind of thought of ourselves as married and thought if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, you know. But who knows what will happen down the road.
What’s your idea of a great romantic comedy?
Obviously, all the early Woody Allen films are among my favorites, and The Apartment, the Billy Wilder film, is probably my favorite of all time. I love romantic comedies where you have depth underneath the funny. I think all good comedy comes from pain and serious situations. I think about Rushmore and As Good As it Gets. Tootsie, which was so, so brilliant. It’s so funny and so screwball in so many ways, and then there’s just real, real heart to it….
When do you yell at the TV?
I have an issue, in general, with a lot of reality TV. I watch American Idol, but I literally can’t get through the audition stuff. My stomach turns. It makes me so upset, the relentless “Look at how awful and untalented this person is.” Like, I can’t bear it. I always say to Jon, “Fast-forward! Fast-forward! I can’t! I can’t! I can’t!” I don’t do well just watching humiliation.
Have you ever had a horrible DVR mishap?
Yes! In fact, on American Idol, the year David Cook won, it literally cut out right before they announced the winner. We were like, “Wait. What?” It all went wrong. We had to watch online. It was a disaster.
What is your position on karaoke?
[Laughs] My position on it. Well, I was late to the karaoke party. The first time I did it was at a friend’s birthday where they actually rented the machine. I kinda dig that version of it, rather than any public offering. I would much rather do it with a group of friends as a lark in someone’s living room than be anywhere in public where that could be spotted or where we would impose our renditions on unsuspecting clubgoers.
What is your fallback song?
Good question…I’ve done “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ ” a couple of times. That was fun. We all enjoy a “Bohemian Rhapsody,” if you have a group. There are a lot of parts.
What is your guilty pleasure dance song?
It’s Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies.” [Sings] “If you liked it then you shoulda put ring on it.” All the time. Can’t even stop. [Sings] “Oh, oh, oh.” Every second we’re saying that. It’s embarrassing…. We’re fans.
Do you smuggle snacks into the movie theater? If so, what?
I feel like I should, now that you mention it. But no, we are always the people who spend the $28 to get popcorn, and soda, and M&Ms. Buying a small bottled water for $7 never feels great, but, I guess, it’s a part of the experience.
What’s been your best communal moviegoing experience?
You know what, Jonny and I saw the South Park movie in Times Square, on the first day that it opened. It was totally packed, and neither of us have even been in a theater where the laughs were so huge and so riotous, and you’re literally doubled over. It was amazing. It’s New York, so it’s the most diverse crowd in the world, and we were all just, like, guffawing like our stomachs hurt.
I remember when I saw it, it was the first time I ever stomped my leg while laughing. I was laughing that hard.
We were applauding. There was applause at the end of every music number. It was full on.
What’s the piece of pop culture memorabilia from your childhood you wish you still had?
I was a Shaun Cassidy lover. I literally had Shaun Cassidy posters all over my walls when I was little. It was like my wallpaper. I was furious when he came through town when I was, like, six years old, and I was deemed not old enough to go to the concert. I pouted in my room for a night. It’s like, “This is bulls—.” [Laughs] I was so mad because I was like, “I love him.” I was six. Literally. They’re like, “You’re not going. You’re just not going. It’s not appropriate.” I wept. I wept.
Which person or band do you still have to see in concert before you die?
Before I die? Wow. Is there anything you’re not telling me? [Laughs]
No, you’ve got many, many years.
I hope! [Laughs] It’s like, “Jennifer, we’ve gathered here to tell you that it’s tick-tock, so….” I’d like to see Bruce Springsteen live before I die. And Prince.
Who’s the celebrity you’re most often mistaken for?
I get the Jessica Stein thing. Some people come up to me and go, “Ohmygod, I love your movie.” But often people think that we know each other or we were at a wedding together or something. And then it takes 20 minutes to figure out it was just from the movie. They’re like, “No! At the wedding, at that thing, we were at the table with the what—.” There’s a lot of that.
What’s a pop culture-related bone you have to pick?
Okay, this is a recent one. I was incredibly bummed to find out that the gorgeous Yo-Yo Ma/Itzhak Perlman performance at the inauguration was mimed. Jonny and I had watched the entire inauguration, feeling weepy and inspired, and that piece of music was one of the many emotional highlights in an incredible, incredible historic morning. Then to find out it was pre-recorded, and they were pretending to play? While we all watched and were weepy and moved?! Nuh-uh! Come on! I felt duped! Yes, I know the fact that they didn’t play live was released to the press later in the day, and yes, I know it was freezing out, but couldn’t we have just cut to a satellite location and had them play properly, live, with warm hands? It just seemed like a bad call to usher in a new era of change and transparency in our government.
Last question: What does Jon really smell like? Please say frosting.
[Laughs] Only frosting, all the time. No, not frosting. He is, in fact, a wonderful cook, but not a baker. I’ll make that distinction. He doesn’t really bake. In fact, I don’t think he’s ever baked. We were going to a holiday party and he woke up, he’s like, “Let’s make cookies to bring. It will be awesome.” And I was like, “What a lovely idea.” And basically, he wanted to get the ones that you cut up, that are pre-made. I was like, “No. We’re making ‘em. We’re making ‘em from scratch.” He didn’t actually participate in the baking at all. But he’s good on a grill. I’ll say that.
More EW Pop Culture Personality Tests:
Tom Cavanagh and Eric McCormack