Matthew Perry Explains Chandler Bing’s Speech Patterns In Friends – Deadline

Matthew Perry has revealed how he created the unique speech patterns that made his character Chandler Bing so distinctive from the moment he appeared on Friends.

Perry has penned a memoir about his rollercoaster ride with global sitcom success, addiction and rehab, excerpts of which have already made headlines, including his crush on co-star Jennifer Aniston and his near-death experience with opioids.

Switching to his craft in an excerpt published in today’s magazine. TimesPerry explains how, from his audition, he was inspired to give Chandler a speech pattern that stood out, with its emphasis on unusual words and syllables.

He writes:

“I read the words in an unexpected way, hitting emphasis that no one else had. I was back in Ottawa with my childhood friends, the Murrays; I laughed where no one else did.”

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Becoming the final member of the main cast of six, Perry brought this same style of delivery to the production:

“He was speaking in a way that no one had spoken before on sitcoms, with weird emphases, choosing a word in a sentence that you might not have guessed was the beat.

“I didn’t know it yet, but my way of speaking would seep into the culture for decades to come. For now though, I was just trying to find interesting shapes in lines that were already fun, but that I thought I could really make dance.

“(I was once told that writers would underline the usually unemphasized word in a sentence just to see what I would do with it.)”

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Sure enough, even though the show ended after ten seasons in 2004, Chandler’s expressions, including the memorable “Could I BE…?” they remain in common parlance today, no doubt helped by the endless reruns of the record-breaking sitcom, which a whole new generation of fans discovered on Netflix during lockdown.

Perry also tells how, as soon as he was sent the script for the show, originally called friends like ushe knew instinctively that Chandler was the character he needed to play.

“It was as if someone had followed me for a year, stealing my jokes, copying my mannerisms, photocopying my tired but witty outlook on life…

“Not that I thought I could play ‘Chandler’; I was Chandler.

Perry met with his companions Friends alumni last year for a televised reunion. As the cast came together to reminisce about their time on the show, the actor, who has become a champion of rehab for those suffering from addiction, opened up about the pressure he put on himself to get the laughs for the that had become known:

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“I felt like I was going to die [the live audience] he didn’t laugh And it’s not healthy for sure. But sometimes I’d say a line and they wouldn’t laugh, and I’d sweat and…and just have seizures. If I didn’t get the laugh I was supposed to get, I’d be scared. I felt like this every night.”

Matthew Perry’s memoir ‘Friends, Lovers and the Big, Terrible Thing’ is published on November 1.


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