Matthew Perry Almost Missed His Chance to Be on Friends

Matthew Perry and Friends cast
Matthew Perry almost didn't appear as Chandler Bing in Friends. Jon Ragel/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

He almost wasn't there for you! Matthew Perry famously played Chandler Bing for 10 seasons on Friends, but the actor revealed on Late Night with Seth Meyers on Tuesday, Feb. 17, that he nearly missed his chance to star in the beloved show.

"My business manager had called me, this was in 1994… This is what a terrible business manager he was, he just called me one day and said, 'Matthew, you have no money,'" Perry, 45, began to host Seth Meyers. "How about a little warning? Yeah, I got rent to pay, how about a little warning?"

"So I called my agent, I said, 'You gotta get me any job, any job you can,'" he continued, explaining how he got into the pickle that almost kept him off Friends. "This happened to be the year that Friends was shot. I was off the market because I had taken a job on a pilot called LAX 2194, that was about baggage handlers at the L.A. airport in the year 2194. I was wearing a futuristic shirt and little people played the aliens, in which I had to sort out the aliens' luggage, and that was basically the show."

Just as Perry was in the early stages of the unsuccessful LAX 2194, casting started on what would become the Emmy-winning NBC series Friends.

"A script came out, at the time it was called Friends Like Us, and it was hilarious and great and there was this part that was perfect for me," Perry said. "It was making me crazy that I couldn't because of the baggage handler show. I was losing my mind."

Thankfully, Perry didn't need to stress for long as he clearly found his way into the role of lovable goof Chandler, alongside costars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer. By the end of the hugely popular show's run in 2004, Perry and his castmates were each grossing $1 million per episode. 

"Finally, somebody at Fox at the time said, 'We've seen this, it's the worst thing we've ever seen in our lives,'" Perry added, impersonating a network exec discussing LAX 2194. "'He is available, you can hire him for your little show called Friends Like Us,' which then become Friends." 

Watch Perry talk Friends and his failed pilot in the video above!

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