Matthew Perry shares anxiety over Friends studio audience: 'Felt like I was gonna die if they didn’t laugh'
"I felt like that every single night," the actor revealed to his former costars during the Friends reunion special.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Friends: The Reunion.
Could acting in front of a live audience be any more stressful? If you ask Friends star Matthew Perry, the experience of acting in front of a studio audience every day actually gave him intense anxiety.
"To me, I felt like I was gonna die if they didn't laugh," he revealed during the highly-anticipated Friends reunion special to the five other stars on the Central Perk set. "And it's not healthy for sure, but I would sometimes say a line and they wouldn't laugh and I would sweat and just go into convulsions if I didn't get the laugh I was supposed to get. I would freak out."
His costar Lisa Kudrow was shocked to hear that, since Perry never said anything to his costars back then. "Oh yeah, I felt like that every single night," he said.
But the biggest reaction Perry ever got during filming wasn't actually a laugh — it was the moment where his character Chandler and Courteney Cox's Monica were almost caught in bed together by David Schwimmer's Ross after they slept together for the very first time. The audience was appropriately shocked at the twist but the cheers and applause were so overwhelming that it made the creators rethink that entire relationship.
"We realized there's more to this and we need to pay attention," Marta Kauffman said during the reunion. "That was the end of the season so we had time to really ruminate and think about it. But it was such a powerful moment that we knew we had to explore it more." And even though they continued to have Monica and Chandler hook up into the next season, they didn't realize just how far it would go — leading to one of the most iconic TV proposals and weddings of all time.
And that's definitely not a moo point.
The Friends reunion special is now streaming on HBO Max.