Matt LeBlanc saw huge success when he took on the role of Joey in the hit ’90s sitcom Friends, but life wasn’t so easy for him before that. The actor revealed during an appearance on Conan with Conan O’Brien this week that he was down to his last $11 before joining the comedy — dangerously close to going broke and hungry. Desperate to make it in the industry, LeBlanc had to make do with what he could afford, Entertainment Tonight reported.
“You know when you think, ‘Alright, I got a little money in the bank. I can hold out until the next gig,'” the actor said. “I think I was down to $11… now, that’s holding out too long. Because even if I said at that point, ‘Alright, I’m going to go get a waiter job.’ By the time that $11 ran out, it would have been before the first pay check on that job. I would have starved.”
Conveniently, and perhaps a little ironically, LeBlanc landed a role as struggling actor Joey Tribbiani on the 1994 hit series Friends. He starred in the show for a decade alongside Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer, and Lisa Kudrow.
LeBlanc, who was 27 when the show premiered, shared with O’Brien some of the ways he managed to scrape by. When the actor went to get headshots taken early in his career, the photographer suggested that he first get one of his teeth filed down, as it was longer than the others. Unfortunately, LeBlanc did not have dental insurance at the time.
The star visited a local dentist, and learned that it would cost $80 for the procedure, according to E! News. Instead, LeBlanc chose to take the cheaper route — filing it down himself. He revealed that he visited a drugstore, bought a few emery boards, and started his own dental work.
“I’m very frugal,” the actor joked.
When LeBlanc returned for his headshots, the photographer said that the dentist did a nice job. Perhaps LeBlanc had a back-up career after all?
Also during his visit to the talk show, O’Brien and LeBlanc spoke about the lasting popularity of Friends — even though the show ended in 2004, after 10 seasons. Thousands of people still watch and reference the iconic series, and it is now streaming on Netflix. When the streaming service attempted to remove the series from its library last year, social media went crazy, ultimately earning Friends another year on Netflix, the Inquisitr reported at the time.
“It feels like it just keeps going,” O’Brien said, explaining that his young daughter watches the series on Netflix and loves it.
“It’s awesome,” LeBlanc said with a laugh. “It’s kind of unbelievable. It does last through every generation. Every year there’s some new kids that discover it, and even people who aren’t discovering it for the first time [still watch it]. People are calling it ‘comfort food.’ It’s kind of nice.”