Matt LeBlanc, who has gained a fresh brand of fame for playing a fictionalized version of himself on the hit Showtime comedy Episodes, revealed last week that he used to get into fights for playing Joey Tribbiani on the hit 90s sitcom Friends.
In an interview with the BritishEsquire, LeBlanc revealed that there were times he was aggressively approached in bars and nightclub by people who recognized him for his role on the popular show.
“I can’t believe that my nose has never been broken. I got into fights as a teenager and I’ve been sucker-punched in bars. Some guy’s girlfriend will say, “Oh, there’s Joey from Friends“. Then the guy has to come over and prove himself by smacking me in the mouth.”
LeBlanc’s portrayal of Joey Tribbiani was perhaps one of the reasons Friends remains popular, even until today. A hilariously written character portrayed by the best actor for the part, Joey Tribbiani was so good he was able to snag his own sequel to Friends. The sequel, entitled Joey, follows Joey’s life as he moves to Los Angeles to pursue a more serious career as an actor.
Unfortunately, the sequel did not perform as expected, and Joey was cancelled after just two seasons. Kevin Bright, former Friends producer who also directed a few episodes for Joey, blamed NBC executives for ruining the series:
“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.”
A recent report here at The Inquisitr revealed that LeBlanc experienced a lengthy period of depression after Friends ended. Joey’s poor ratings, partially caused by being pitted against American Idol, reportedly brought Joey to a dark place.
Thankfully, after years of struggle, Matt LeBlanc was able to brave through the turbulent period in his career and emerge as the leading actor of one of the most critically-acclaimed shows today. Currently, aside from playing himself on the hit comedy show, Matt says he’s busy being a father to his ten-year-old daughter:
“I’m not a workaholic. I like being a dad. Right now my daughter is 10 years old; she’s still a little girl and she wants me around. She’s going to be a teenager soon and tell me to go f**k myself. Then maybe I’ll work more.”
[Image from Showtime]