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Matt LeBlanc

Matt LeBlanc - Interview (5/2002)

This was the year for Matt LeBlanc to shine on ''Friends.'' But was it a bit frustrating having to wait so long for a juicy arc like the Joey-Rachel-Ross love triangle?
No. I'm perfectly content to be just a part of the group, in the background, come in with the big funny, support the stories.... This thing with Rachel was just -- I mean, it threw a ripple down the core of the show because it was really risky: ''What do you mean he's in love with Rachel? Hey, whoa. Wait a minute. That's inappropriate behavior, Joe. Put your d--- away.''... That story line enabled me to show this new dimension of Joey that I was really reluctant to show.

Why were you reluctant?
Because I'm his biggest fan. I feel like I have his back, you know what I mean? To see him sad and get his heart broken, I don't want to do that. I reluctantly went out on stage and did my job those nights.

But once the story line started clicking, did you want him to end up with Rachel?
No. I want to see Ross and Rachel get together.

Seriously -- you're rooting for the other guy?
They belong together. That's how the show started. And especially going into the next season, it seems appropriate.

So next year truly does feel like the end?
Yeah. I think next year will be the last year. And there's been talk lately of ''So, next year is really the last year? That's it?'' That question resonates through the walls down there. It's going to be really devastating to know that come September [2003], I'm not going to be in Perry's life every day and Schwimmer's life every day and Kudrow's life every day and Courteney's life every day and Jen's life every day. There's going to be a withdrawal period.

Admit it: It felt good to beat ''Survivor'' this year.
Sure. I mean, personally, it didn't matter one way or another. But on some level, yeah, it feels good. If it's going to be a ratings game and it's going to be ''pitted against...,'' then yeah, it feels good to kick their f---in' ass. For us, it was like, ''Oh, finally, a little competition. Right on. Make it interesting over there.'' It's like playing a game of tennis with people who suck and you're good at it. And you play 50 guys and they all suck and you kill 'em in straight sets. Then finally someone shows up and makes a point and you go, ''Heyyy, okay. Nice.'

What's one little hint you can give us about the Rachel-giving-birth finale?
Uhh...nothing. Everybody works really hard to protect the secret at the end of the season and this being our last cliff-hanger, it will not be me that cracks.

Marta told me ''Joey isn't completely out of the picture at the end of this season,'' so...
There you go. There's your tip.

Let's say one of your beloved cars breaks down and you need a lift. Which of the cast members do you call first?
I'll call my friend Tony. I don't call any of them. They're car-illiterate.

Okay, pretend it's a different jam.
Depends on the jam. Courteney's a straight shooter, level head. Slightly psycho, though. Schwimmer, very legal. One of the shrewdest guys I know. Very smart. Perry, shoots from the heart. Jen, shoots from the heart. Lisa is practical.

And you?
I'm the guy who says, ''Look, I would work 10 hours a day digging a ditch for the money they're paying us.'' That's where I come from. My theory is: If the money's the same, gimme the shovel, I'll dig, I'll break rocks, I'll drive railroad spikes. But to make this kind of bread and I don't have to lift anything heavy? Tell a few jokes? Ohhh-hohhh, bubby!


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