Ten years after Friends aired its last episode, Matt LeBlanc confessed that he faced a “dark time” shortly after the show ended. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, LeBlanc poured all his feelings about Friends, his current career and the infamous Joey, the failed sitcom that aired (and cancelled) shortly after Friends’ season finale.
Matt LeBlanc is perhaps everyone’s favorite “friend.” He played Joey Tribbiani, a New York soap opera actor whose dimwitted yet lovable nature excited millions of viewers. Matt had more charisma than Rachel, more hilarious hi-jinx than Ross and more oomph factor than Chandler. LeBlanc’s portrayal of Joey has become one that is immortalized in acting textbooks, so much so that people recognize his character more than the actor.
However, amid the insane success of the show and the million dollar paycheck he got to bring home every after episode, Matt LeBlanc did not realize that the following years would be his worst. Understandably, because his future after Friends appeared to be a bright one. The only cast member to get a sitcom immediately after the decade-long gig, many people thought LeBlanc was the luckiest “friend” in the series. And all of it did sound promising. Joey continues where Friends left. Matt LeBlanc’s Joey goes to LA to pursue a more serious career in acting. It seemed like a great premise, and it was. Lucy Liu even appeared a couple of times throughout the show. David Schwimmer even got to direct an episode in Season 1. Everything’s coming up Matt LeBlanc!
Sadly, the hype would prove short-lived. Joey got extremely poor ratings. At first, it was the time slot to blame. Matt’s second sitcom got pitted against American Idol, which is basically like David vs. Goliath, except that David got a bit fatter and Goliath had teenage girls screaming behind him. The plot could also take some blame. Kevin S. Bright, one of Friends’ original producers, made this comment:
“On Friends, Joey was a womanizer, but we enjoyed his exploits. He was a solid friend, a guy you knew you could count on. Joey was deconstructed to be a guy who couldn’t get a job, couldn’t ask a girl out. He became a pathetic, mopey character. I felt he was moving in the wrong direction, but I was not heard.”
During LeBlanc’s interview with the Telegraph, he confessed that his post-Friends life was half a decade of struggling with alcohol and sorrow. Admitting that he was arrested for DUI a couple of times during his “downfall” days, LeBlanc said:
“I get arrested for drink-driving on the way to Disneyland with my kids in the car.”
On Joey, Matt had this to say:
“It was a dark time. The show had an unfair amount of pressure on it. It was meant to fill the shoes of Friends. But when you have six pairs of feet, and you take away five, it’s harder to walk.”
Thankfully, Matt LeBlanc is doing better now. His show, Episodes, already on its third season, portrays a fictional, egoistic version of himself, and critics are finding it very hilarious. TV doesn’t seem to be over for Matt LeBlanc yet, who just won a Golden Globe for his role.
[Image from Showtime]