Matthew Perry had a Hollywood career most comedic actors could only dream about. And if it sometimes feels like Chandler Bing in Friends was a character tailor-made for him, you’re onto something. James Burrows, the Friends director, spilled the beans in one of the interviews, saying Perry’s unique mix of awkwardness and silliness was perfect for Chandler. When auditions kicked off, Matthew was right there as the top pick, but there was a small issue: Perry was already signed up for some garbage show about sci-fi baggage claim service called LAX 2194. Luckily for everyone involved, that project was canceled, and Perry was free to join the cast of Friends. Could that be any more fortuitous?
According to the writers, Chandler was supposed to be this insecure dude who uses dry humor as a defense, and in the first drafts, his character was meant to be gay, which would not be as funny. But as you know, aside from a few cheeky gay jokes, Perry played Mr.Bing as a straight man. Perry effortlessly nailed Chandler’s lines like they were taken straight from his biography. It was Perry’s immaculate delivery that made all those quotable lines iconic. And those faces he made? Talk about being camera-ready!
But let’s dive into some emotional stuff. Perry and Chandler had a much deeper connection. Both were kids of divorced parents, but unlike Chandler, Perry was left with a bunch of half-siblings and a stepbrother as his peers. Yet, he still felt like an outsider, just like his on-screen persona. In his memoir, Perry talks about not fitting into his extended family, echoing Chandler’s sense of not belonging and feeling like a lost puppy.
Chandler used humor to cope with his messed-up childhood and horrible parents, and Perry? He wasn’t that far off from that. During Friends: The Reunion, the actor admitted that if the jokes he made didn’t land well, he’d freak out. And if the woman he was trying to wow with his specific type of humor was unresponsive, Perry would instantly know that she was not the one. He needed to know what the audience was enjoying, or else something horrible would happen. Talk about dedication!
Speaking of fears, Chandler’s fear of commitment on the show directly mirrors Perry’s real-life choices. He never tied the knot, although he did talk about wanting kids in his memoir. Sadly, Perry never got to live that dream, but at least Chandler did for a bit on the screen. Life imitating art, or is it the other way around?