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‘Friends’ reunion director wishes people were kind to Matthew Perry

David Schwimmer, left, and Matthew Perry sit together
David Schwimmer, left, and Matthew Perry during HBO Max’s recent “Friends: The Reunion.”
(Terence Patrick / HBO Max)

Matthew Perry is fine, thank you very much. So says the director of “Friends: The Reunion,” who wishes people would stop being “unkind” to the actor.

Fellow “Friends” cast member Matt LeBlanc has also generated a lot of buzz after he went viral for a particular pose he struck during the recent HBO Max special.

Fans raised concerns for Perry’s health after the actor appeared to be slurring his speech during the show, which was filmed over two days in April and began streaming last week. A source later said that Perry had had emergency dental work done right before shooting began.

“He was great,” director Ben Winston told the Hollywood Reporter in an article published Saturday. “People can sometimes just be unkind. I wish they weren’t. I loved working with him. He’s a brilliantly funny man and I thought he had some great one-liners in the show.”

Matthew Perry slurred his words in recent interviews for ‘Friends: The Reunion,’ then quit personalized-video site Cameo. But there’s an explanation.

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Meanwhile, “Friends” fans on Twitter in Ireland and England declared LeBlanc, who played Joey Tribbiani, to be everyone’s uncle — or dad. Seems his crossed arms and striped short-sleeve shirt struck a chord across the pond in Ireland and England.

“Matt LeBlanc is your uncle at a wedding buying you too many beers and getting your name mixed up with your siblings while rolling his eyes lovingly at your aunt drunkenly flailing to Dancing Queen,” an Irish music producer and performer tweeted.

“Who wore it best, #mattleblanc or my Dad??!!,” tweeted one woman from Leitrim, Ireland, who included a crazy-accurate side-by-side comparison of the two men.

A long-awaited reunion, after more than a year of racial reckoning, offered ‘Friends’ a chance to own up to its past failings. It didn’t take it.

“Matt LeBlanc looks like the Dad on Christmas that is happy to see you open your gifts even though he doesn’t know what any of them are cos your Mum got them all,” one Londoner wrote.

Matt le blanc looks like a fella you’d end up having a deep conversation with in the residents bar after a wedding. ten pints deep and he’s giving you the best advice you’ll ever get. you’ll never meet him again but his sage wisdom sticks with you forever. a gentleman,” tweeted a guy who gave his location as both London and Cork.

And yet another tweeted, “Matt LeBlanc looks like a minibus driver sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Westport on the Sunday morning after a stag weekend to ferry the lads back across the country.”

“‘Ye paid HOW much? Ye should’ve called me. I know a fella who would’ve done it for half that.’ #mattleblanc,” a Dublin woman said.

Most but not all of ‘Friends: The Reunion’ is airing in China: LGBTQ references and appearances by BTS, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber have been cut.

Also, one more note from the Hollywood Reporter article: When asked whether the international shots in the reunion were a way to address criticisms of a lack of diversity in “Friends,” which ran from 1994 to 2004, director Winston said a definite no.

“Doing the research for this show, you hear that it was the No. 1 show in India and in Ghana,” he said. “It’s insane to me that a show that was written and performed in 1994, there is a 20-year-old woman in Ghana who says it changed her life. And my 9-year-old niece in London can quote every line from the show.

“It came from that.”


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