Matthew Perry: I learned that there was somebody else that could create a show for me better than me
Bob Costas, Chris Bosh, Misty May Treanor and Lauren Graham all have one thing in common. They will be featured as guest stars on the NBC new comedy series Go On starring, Matthew Perry as Ryan King. Chris Bosh was a cameo on the show; Misty May, “really fun,” Matthew Perry shared in our interview. “They have all been great which makes me think that acting is easy and it makes me sad.”
Future guest considerations include Wayne Gretzky. “David Beckham had already agreed to come on. That’s very exciting,” Matthew says. Jimmy Connors, who was a past guest and a favorite of the Good Life actor, is also invited back. “My hope is that we get Jimmy Connors to come back and work with me again, which would be a dream come true,” he said.
Guest appearances are sports and athletics themed with guests who have inspired Ryan King, a sport talk radio show host who unfortunately lost his wife and had to now figure things out on his own, and move on with his life. He does so by joining a counseling group of oddball characters.
In my interview with the Emmy award nominated actor, Matthew Perry, he thinks Go On is a well written comedy show that had all the elements that he was looking for to get back on television. It is funny with a lot of funny characters and posed a dramatic challenge because of his relationship with the writer. With that in mind, he ‘was in.’
When accepting a particular role, Matthew looks for people he can relate to, whom he can shake hands with and understand. “I have a tendency to try to find characters that are bent or broken and on a path to become better people,” stated the Emmy award nominated actor. And Ryan King certainly has those traits. “He is a guy who I think if this tragic thing had not happened to him, he would have lived his life as a rather unexplored life. But this thing happened to him so he reluctantly gets on this path to be a better person.”
Matthew Perry had a successful 10 years run of the cult NBC series Friends as Chandler. But after reading about Ryan King, he thought it was just like the character he played before—Chandler. “This is like Chandler, 10 years later,” he says. A role he enjoyed playing very much. “I grew up playing that part.”
Go on is touchy feely, dealing with emotions and people talking about their emotions. Matthew and his team were faced with the challenge of creating a comedy show; where nobody knows what’s going to work or whether people would laugh at a sad situation or be turned off by its dark themes. This made the writers panic, but by surrounding Ryan with funny people and a hilarious cast including Sarah Baker, Brett Gelman and Laura Benauti, they remedied the problem. “It is really great, everywhere you look is a funny, smart, talented, driven person which makes the show even better,” he says.
Mr. Sunshine was an unsuccessful attempt for Matthew who worked to a certain degree creatively but audiences did not really follow it. “I learned that there was somebody else that could create a show for me better than me,” he shared. “That’s what happened with Go On.”
Scrubs on the other hand can be marked as Matthew’s successful directorial debut. The experiences on that show have equipped Perry to work behind the camera. He has not dismissed the possibility of working off camera on Go On. “If we are fortunate enough to do a second season, I think that I‘ll probably end up doing that,” stated the Friends star. “It is a very busy time already and directing is all encompassing. But it is certainly something that I think would be interesting to do somewhere down the road.”
On a recent episode of SNL, special guest, Seth MacFarlane poked some fun at the new show, Go On by referring to it as Goon. Matthew who did not watch the episode was nervous when he learned of the mention but was relieved when he actually saw the show. “I was nervous, but quite relieved when I saw what the joke was,” he shared. “He is hilarious. It’s Seth MacFarlane, so if he doesn’t like something, you’re really going to know it.”
As a funny man himself, Matthew identifies with other comedians and finds that it is not easy to do comedy. “Comedy is challenging because you‘re forced to do a joke a page and to be funny at a certain rate. Doing comedy is harder than doing drama,” he says.
Matthew Perry was always the kid who got in trouble in school for joking around. In the 7th grade he participated in his first school play in Ottawa, Canada. Now he draws from his past experiences to help him in his comedic roles. “In this show I certainly draw on my past, and it helps,” Matthew stated. And in some ways the actor becomes more like the characters he play. “I‘m pretty similar to that guy. That‘s what happened on Friends and that is the direction they are leaning here.”
Over his acting career, the actor has learned to have fun doing what he’s doing and to look at his journey as a fun and interesting challenge, and as a job. “Not something to make your entire life and identity about,” Matthew Perry shared.
For more information on the NBC series Go On, visit NBC.com for full listing.
By: Daedrian McNaughton | Premier Guide Media