In the Friends reunion special on HBO Max, the Go On actor, who portrayed the perpetually sarcastic Chandler Bing on the NBC sitcom for 10 seasons, admitted that he often felt extreme pressure to make sure all of his jokes landed.
“To me, I felt like I was going to die if they didn’t laugh,” Perry shared. “And it’s not healthy, for sure.”
He added that if he did not hear the live studio audience laughing, it would lead to “sweating and convulsions.”
In a new interview with Today, Aniston said the confession was something she was previously unaware of.
“I didn’t understand the level of anxiety and self-torture that was put on Matthew Perry, if he didn’t get that laugh, and the devastation that he felt,” Aniston shared. “It makes a lot of sense.”
In fact, Friends fans will recall that feeling compelled to make everyone laugh was one of Perry’s character Chandler’s most defining traits.
Perry, who recently split from his fiancee Molly Hurwitz, has long spoken out about his mental health struggles, which include addiction issues. In 2016, he told BBC Radio 2 that he couldn’t remember filming several seasons of Friends due to his substance abuse problem.
“Somewhere between season 3 and 6, I was a little out of it,” he said.
While some fans were concerned for Perry’s wellbeing after he appeared to slur his speech during the Friends reunion, a source close to the actor claimed that he had dental work shortly before filming the special, and that the actor is in a much better, healthier place.
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