Matthew Perry: I’d say yes to a Steve Coogan script without reading it

Actor talks British TV, dog throwing and insane Friends fandom

How often do you see your 
fellow Friends?


I worked with Courteney Cox recently – we guest-starred on each other’s shows – and I’m about to work with Lisa Kudrow on Web Therapy. We keep threatening to have a dinner party where the six of us are all there; it would be great.

Do you ever reminisce and watch old episodes?

I NEVER watch them myself. I’d just go, “Oh, I was fat” or “Oh, I was thin” or “Oh, I should have said it like this!” I used to watch it a lot when I was about 25 [he’s now 44]. I loved watching it with my friends, but I don’t watch myself on screen in anything any more… although sometimes when I’m feeling down I’ll watch the blooper reels, which show me how much fun we had.

What makes you turn on the TV?

I’m Alan Partridge is my favourite show ever. Welcome to the Places of My Life is hilarious. I’m surprised I haven’t done more work in the UK, because I would love to. If Steve Coogan called I would say yes without even reading the script.

What was it like filming in London for The Dog Thrower?

I was in London for about ten days and we shot for about six. We filmed a lot of it in Wimbledon.
 It was rainy and cold and I had a cold, and I had to keep a straight face while I stood in a park throwing a dog up and down. I got recognised as I was out and about in London. There’s a lot of press and paparazzi but nothing like when Friends was here. That was insane. People in droves, hanging outside our hotel rooms.

Can you ever escape recognition?

I was in Hong Kong recently and
 I wasn’t recognised for an entire week. I was in a casino, surrounded by 500 people, and not one person looked at me twice. It was amazing. But being recognised is part of the deal: I got paid very well and I did a job I loved. What you want with fame is an on-off button, because as soon as I want something, then I wish I could get recognised!

Is there a role you covet?

Timothy Hutton’s role in Ordinary People. And then Bill Murray’s role in Groundhog Day. But you don’t want to touch either of these because they were done so well.

You’re starring in a new version of The Odd Couple. How did that happen?

After Friends, I kind of “retired”. It was like a 14-year-old’s dream come true: all I did was play video games every day for a couple of years. Then it was like, ‘I’m going crazy! I need to be doing something.’

I was driving around in my car and I thought, “I’d like to play Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple and I think I’m going to write it.” And I did.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

Make sure you have a full life away from your career. If you identify yourself solely as a famous actor you’re going to be an unhappy person.

My Top Five British Shows

1. I’m Alan Partridge I love British television because I have that type of humour.

2. Fawlty Towers

3. Extras

4. The Office

5. Episodes We filmed Dog Thrower in the same studio as Episodes, so I saw lots of pictures of Matty [Friends co-star Matt Le Blanc] around.

Playhouse Presents The Dog Thrower is on Thursday at 9pm on Sky Arts 1