On Saturday, Oct. 28, 54-year-old actor Matthew Perry drowned in the hot tub of his California home. Many across the nation were saddened to receive this news, as most knew Perry as awkwardly sarcastic and loveable Chandler Bing on the sitcom “Friends.” Perry’s stellar comedic timing and his ability to deliver a punchline with a Chandler twist quickly made him a fan favorite among millions. Along with his notable role, Perry also founded a program for early recovering addicts. Let’s make a bitter moment bittersweet by both diving into some of Perry’s most iconic moments on “Friends” and how he helped the lives of hundreds.
The “Could I be more…?” line is one of Chandler’s most significant catchphrases on “Friends.” He often says it in uncomfortable situations to make them more self-deprecating. In various episodes when Chandler tries to act tough yet often fails, he says “Could I be any manlier?” creating a strong emphasis on irony in his behavior. This silly and sarcastic catchphrase is what caught the hearts of millions of “Friends” fans and is the reason why Chandler is a favorite among many.
Another one of Perry’s best moments as Chandler was his relationship with Joey Tribbiani, played by Matt Leblanc. Their friendship throughout the ten seasons of the show was the cornerstone for its success, as it created a sense of humor and warmth for many.
One of the best Chandler and Joey moments must be during season 1 episode 21, “The One with the Fake Monica.” In a memorable and funny scene, Chandler is helping Joey work on his stage name. While going back and forth with different suggestions, Chandler somehow convinces Joey to make his stage name Joseph Stalin, coincidentally the name of a former dictator of the Soviet Union during War World II.
Joey’s complete ignorance to the significance of the extremely well-known name and Chandler’s own shock demonstrate the comedic dynamic of their relationship, which is consistent throughout the show. Both Leblanc and Perry worked well together to formulate a humorous, warm, and reliable relationship that is still a source of laughs today.
It is impossible to talk about Perry’s work on “Friends” without talking about his story with addiction. In his life outside of being an actor, Perry worked hard to overcome his drug and alcohol abuse. During his time on “Friends,” he raised the concern of his coworkers and producers as he was reportedly under the influence multiple times during filming.
He eventually recovered, and Perry became very open to the world about his battle with addiction. With high efforts to support others also going through the same struggles, he founded the Perry House, a sober living facility that ran out of his former home in Malibu. The Perry House intended to provide a safe and supportive space for those in the early recovery of their addictions. It offered a living situation, counseling, and peer support for those wanting to transition into a life of sobriety.
On top of the Perry House, Perry was also a major advocate for addiction treatment and mental health awareness, and he raised funds for organizations such as the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.
While Perry did play one of the most iconic characters on national television, his legacy stretches far beyond this. Behind Chandler Bing was a person who aimed to support those in need through his own experiences and overall create change in the world. Making people laugh is one thing, but being able to speak about your own struggles with addiction and spin that into a safe haven for those battling addiction as well, is another.
Perry’s courage to help those in need exemplifies his kindness, which is why his untimely passing shocked so many people. Take this time to not only remember him for the laughs he has brought through his ten years on “Friends,” but also for the people he has helped through his support of those with addiction. May he rest in peace.