Matt LeBlanc Was Skeptical of Playing Himself on New Series 'Episodes'
By Nicki Gostin Posted Jan 12th 2011 11:25AM
LeBlanc, 43, finds a role in a series written by an English couple wooed to recreate their show in the States by an unctuous Hollywood exec. 'Episodes,' created by David Crane ('Friends') and Jeffrey Klarik ('Mad About You'), mercilessly lampoons showbiz, and the onetime Joey Tribbiani is the icing on the cake.
Was the show written before you got on board?
No, David and Jeffrey had an idea and fleshed out a pitch. They called me, told me they had an idea, I listened and I was intrigued with it. My only skepticism was in playing myself. I didn't know what they meant. I didn't mind being the brunt of the joke -- and anyway, that's just in the beginning.
You haven't worked in ages.
Not in four or five years. I've just been taking time off, spending time with my daughter, doing hobbies and seeing friends, just having fun.
You must have been pitched like crazy.
Yeah, well things would come across my desk but nothing that seemed like more fun than what I was doing, which was having fun.
Do you regret doing 'Joey'?
No. 'Joey' on paper was a good idea, and the people involved in the writing staff were good writers. I knew the odds were that it would fail -- historically, spinoff shows are not successful, but we did two full seasons. I had a really good time. It was a lot of work to be the heavy in every scene.
Has there been a day in the last 15 years that someone hasn't called you Joey?
Yeah, days I don't go out of my house. But when I'm out of the house, yeah, it's every day. I mean, the show was really popular. I must say I feel really fortunate to have been a part of it.
The chances of being involved in a really huge sitcom are like being struck by lightning.
Yeah, and you never know when you get involved. You think it's funny and good, and wow the ratings are getting a little bit, and oh, we got picked up for next year. When we got started if someone had said, "Oh, this is going to be one of the biggest sitcoms in the history of television," I would have said, "Come on!" About six people sitting around doing nothing?
When did you realize the show was huge?
That first summer when the show was in reruns, that's when the show went from 20-odd place to outside the top 10. We got picked up, and we knew then, "Wow, people are really digging this." We became the water-cooler show.
Do you guys stay in touch?
Yeah, from time to time. Obviously not like we did before.
Did you get a different caliber of women when the show became big?
Not really. I dated prior to the show, but you know, we were just busy all the time. We would go to Burbank into a building with no windows, all day, and go home. I was just tired. Sure, we went out, but we were always booked doing something, photo shoots, interviews -- everyone wanted a piece of that show.
'Episodes' is all about Hollywood phonies. Do you get a lot of, "We want to be in the Matt LeBlanc business?"
[Laughs] No, that would be nice to get that. Sure I've been lied to in Hollywood -- I think everyone has -- but I don't know why that falls so squarely on Hollywood's shoulders. I think it's true of any industry. There's the boss that no one wants to say the wrong thing in front of, and he's surrounded by yes men. That's in lots of different businesses.
What are you going to do if the show isn't picked up?
Probably go back to the couch. There are so many channels on TV I constantly roam. I hardly ever settle on anything.
Does it make you sad that sitcoms seem to be dying and reality TV has taken over?
Kind of. I like scripted TV, and I like stories. I don't know if sad is the right word. It scares me because I'm thinking maybe I should be looking for something to do with my life.
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