10 Questions with Matthew Perry

In a recent Q&A about his new hit series Go On , Matthew Perry answers a few questions about his character Ryan King, his role as Chandler Bing, and what made him realize - as a lowly Canadian pre-teen - that he was a pretty funny guy.

Go On airs Wednesdays at 9.00 et/pt 

When you were growing up, when did you first realize that you were funny? 

Well, I would always be the kid that got in trouble in school, that’s for sure, for joking around and I guess it was seventh grade I got hired - not hired - I got put in a play in school in Ottawa, Canada. Greg Simpson was the head theatre guy and he cast me in a role in that and it was funny and I felt so good to get laughs. So it was probably then, seventh grade in Ottawa.

 

Go On show deals with dark themes by approaching them lightly. How do you deal with tough times in your life, being a comedian? Do you pull from that when you’re working on comedy? 

Oh sure. Yes, you pull from everything. I think to be a comedian or somebody who’s trying to be funny, you have to have some darkness behind it. So, I think all comedians are able to draw on that and that’s why some comedians who do dramatic work, like, can do some of the best dramatic work. Like, Robin Williams and Michael Keaton and Tom Hanks. In this show I certainly draw on my past and it helps.

 

At this point in your career you’ve played so many characters in both TV shows and movies, which has been your favorite role to play?  

I loved playing Chandler. I grew up playing that part. I would say probably in all honesty it’s Chandler and this character that I’m playing now, the character of Ryan King. It’s a very sort of deep, enriching character to play because he’s going through so much and he’s also being very funny about it.

Go On airs Wednesdays at 9.00 et/ptPhoto by Getty

What drew you to this role?  

I would say it was just written really well. I was looking to do a drama and had met all the networks and studios about - in the development season - about finding a drama and was sent this. And it’s obviously a comedy, and I could tell by the amount of pages that it was a comedy, and I called my manager and said "why did you send me this?" And he said "just read it." And I realized that it had all of the elements that I was looking for. It was definitely funny, it had a lot of funny characters in it. And also it posed a big dramatic challenge too. Plus, I had known Scott Silveri, he was on Friends for eight years, and he’d written a really great script so I was in.

 

Can you talk a bit about the guest stars appearing on Go On, and what they'll be doing on the show?  

Sure. There’s an episode coming up that Bob Costas and Rich Eisen are both in. It’s just a really fun episode where Bob Costas calls my character, Ryan King, and says that he really is a fan of the show and wants to give me a tryout for a national TV job...And Chris Bosh has a little Cameo on the show. Misty May Treanor’s coming on and it’s just really fun because we get to have these athletes come on. Across the board, they’ve all been great, which make me think that acting is easy and it makes me sad.

 

And Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls, Parenthood) will be guest starring as well?  

Yes, my friend Lauren Graham agreed to come on the show, which we were really excited about and she plays a character named Amy who was an old college buddy of mine who there was like some sparks back in college but then my character got married. And now that things have changed in his life, Amy, Lauren Graham, comes back.

...The interesting thing about this show is we couldn’t pursue any potential romances or any of that for a while because of the situation he’s in. but, just like any person, he’s going to sort of grow and move forward and part of that will be what’s now much delayed but, you know, some dating and some getting himself out there stuff. We’re talking about a story right now where he really throws himself out there into the single scene and it’s pretty funny what’s coming up about it.

I think, just like any other human being, [Ryan King's] going to evolve and move forward and start to get into that world for sure. And Lauren Graham - (we) couldn’t ask for a better person to come on the show and sort of jump start that.

Go On airs Wednesdays at 9.00 et/ptPhoto by Getty

You're also continuing your role on The Good Wife. Is it interesting balancing these two very different types of roles? 

Yes, I really love doing The Good Wife, I hope that I get to come back and do more. It’s really fun to play a guy who is just so evil. And, you know, I’ve been looking to do, you know, I like to do both. I like to do comedy and drama and, you know, I got both jobs on the exact same day. I got Go On and The Good Wife both on the same day and it was a great day. So, I’m really happy with how Go On is going and I hope to get to do some more Good Wife’s in the future too.

 

John Cho has said before in interviews that you’re kind of his comedic hero, especially with Chandler and Friends. What are your thoughts on that and working with him in general?  

I love working with John. You know, we were very lucky to get him. He had been hired in the pilot as a guest star and then we asked him to be a regular and we were very fortunate that he said yes.

As for me being his comedic hero, he has mentioned that to me in the past and all that does is make me feel old.

 

Go On has done an outstanding job introducing your character to the audience. Are there any episodes coming up that divulge further into the loss of other members of the transitions group are going through, such as Owen, Yolanda, or Mr. K.?  

Throughout the life of the show we’ll definitely find out all of these things. We have an episode where we deal pretty heavily with Own and what he’s going through coming up in a couple of weeks. The longer the show goes on, the more we can expand on those characters and find out exactly. I too am very curious as to what Mr. K.’s deal is and what he’s doing in there. So I think it just promises to be even deeper and more fun the more we get to explore these other characters and why they’re there.

Go On airs Wednesdays at 9.00 et/pt 

Are any of the actors on Go On similar to their characters at all?  

Oh, I think what happens on all great shows is the writers end up writing to the actors who are playing the part. So, the charters are becoming more and more like the actors that play them. That’s certainly what happened on Friends and that’s - I think that’s the direction they’re leaning in here. So, you know, I’m pretty similar to my guy. Laura Benanti is pretty similar to her character. I’d like to say that Brett Gelman is similar to Mr. K. but I don’t know if any human being on the face of the planet is similar to Mr. K.

 

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Watch Go On Wednesdays at 9.00 et/pt.

 

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