Could Matthew Perry’s memoir be any more surprising? Excerpts released over the past week have revealed that the Friends actor suffered a near-death experience while shooting a cut role in Don’t Look Up, doesn’t put much stock in Salma Hayek’s acting advice, and is disappointed that Keanu Reeves is alive for some reason (although he did roll his death wishes back in a followup statement).
Still, for fans of the iconic ‘90s sitcom, this most recent excerpt could be the most upsetting of all. It turns out that no one was more annoyed with Chandler Bing’s characteristic misplaced emphasis than Chandler Bing himself. And he would have liked to just speak normally for once, thank you very much.
In case you aren’t one of the billions of people keeping Friends eternally atop Netflix’s list of most viewed shows, here’s a compilation to jog your memory:
We may laugh now, but after being forced to adopt this stilted way of speaking for five seasons, Matthew Perry certainly wasn’t. He apparently “had to beg the producers” to stop writing his lines this way, before taking matters into his own hands. “That particular cadence — could it be more annoying? — had been so played out that if I had to put the emphasis in the wrong place one more time, I thought I’d explode, so I just went back to saying lines normally, for the most part in season six and then beyond,” he writes, per Variety.
He also reveals that he was the unfortunate architect of his own misery. The actor actually created “Chandler speak” himself, back when he was a kid just trying to be a comedian. “I read the words in an unexpected fashion, hitting emphases that no one else had hit. I was back in Ottawa with my childhood friends the Murrays; I got laughs where no one else had,” he explains, per Deadline.
If anything, this should serve as a cautionary tale against over-committing to the bit. Luckily, it has a happy ending. When Perry asked co-creator Marta Kauffman if he could have the last line of the show, she accepted, leading to a final exchange between Rachel and Chandler where Rachel asks if the gang wants to get a coffee and Chandler responds “Sure. Where?” Sarcastically of course, but also—at long last—said completely normally.
Matthew Perry’s memoir Friends, Lovers, And The Big Terrible Thing is available now.