Matthew Perry made his own Friends in the writers’ room

Late ‘Friends’ star was the ‘only one’ of the main cast who contributed to the script

Nicole Vassell
Thursday 02 November 2023 06:17 GMT
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Matthew Perry says he was ‘only one’ who wanted to be in Friends writers room

In the wake of Matthew Perry’s tragic death, fans and collaborators of the 54-year-old actor have reflected on the star’s comic talents beyond the stage.

Despite Friends producers having kept an open door policy to the writers’ room, only Perry regularly contributed to scripts –often happily pitching up to ten jokes an episode while his co-stars unwound backstage.

In a resurfaced interview from 2016, Perry shared some insights into his writing process.

“I’ve always liked writing, I was in the writers’ room for Friends and there were only 20 people in there,” he explained to BBC arts correspondent Rebecca Jones.

“Like 15 guys and five women, and they had a pie chart drawn up, so each character would have the same amount of time, and have the same amount of scenes.”

You can keep up with all the latest updates and tributes here.

He added that the process came from him simply “hanging out there, pitching jokes”.

Matthew Perry in 2004

He went on to explain that he spent time with the script writers because he was driven to help craft the script.

“It’s not that I was ‘allowed’ to [be in the room], it’s that I was the only one who wanted to go, so I went.”

Perry was found dead on Saturday (28 October), reportedly having drowned in his hot tub at his Los Angeles home.

Following the news, co-creators and executive producers paid emotional tribute to the gifted comic.

“We are shocked and deeply, deeply saddened by our beloved friend Matthew’s passing,” Marta Kauffman, David Crane, and Kevin Bright said in a joint statement.

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“It still seems impossible. All we can say is that we feel blessed to have had him as part of our lives.”

In his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, Perry revealed the ways he would like to be remembered after his death. Having suffered from addiction for most of his adult life, Perry wanted people to commemorate the things he did to help others going through similar struggles.

He even went as far as to establish a sober men’s living facility called Perry House.

However, Perry is inextricably linked to the role of Chandler Bing on the hit sitcom, Friends. He played the wisecracking, lovable character in every single episode of the era-defining comedy’s 10-year run.

This writing practice led Perry to turn his talents to playwriting in 2016, more than a decade after Friends’ conclusion in 2004.

The End of Longing premiered in London’s Playhouse Theatre in 2016. A dark comedy play that Perry wrote “about four very broken people trying to find love”, it was the actor’s first foray into writing for the theatre.

The cast of Friends

“I was scared to write something on my own, and scared to see what the reaction would be,” Perry continued.

“I’d never written anything by myself before, I’d always written with a partner, and I started writing and these monologues came out.”

In the days since Perry’s death, tributes from those who knew him have emphasised his kindness, as well as his unique comedic talents.

“He was a brilliant talent,” their statement reads. “It’s a cliche to say that an actor makes a role their own, but in Matthew’s case, there are no truer words. From the day we first heard him embody the role of Chandler Bing, there was no one else for us,” Kauffman and Crane added.

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