Friends Reunion: Matthew Perry says he had ‘sweating and convulsions’ filming original series

Matthew Perry felt like he was ‘going to die’ while shooting every episode of Friends.

The 51-year-old actor — who played Chandler Bing in the hit sitcom from 1994 to 2004 — admitted he was gripped with nerves because the show was shot in front of a live audience, with their reactions driving potential script changes, and he lived in terror of them not finding his performance funny.

While some of his co-stars thrived underneath the bright lights and energy of a live studio audience, Perry was consumed in fear.

Scary: The 51-year-old actor — who played Chandler Bing in the hit sitcom from 1994 to 2004 — admitted he was gripped with nerves because the show was shot in front of a live audience

Scary: The 51-year-old actor — who played Chandler Bing in the hit sitcom from 1994 to 2004 — admitted he was gripped with nerves because the show was shot in front of a live audience

Scary: The 51-year-old actor — who played Chandler Bing in the hit sitcom from 1994 to 2004 — admitted he was gripped with nerves because the show was shot in front of a live audience

After David Schwimmer and Courteney Cox revealed their love for performing during every episode, Matthew admitted he didn’t feel the same way.  

‘To me, I felt like I was going to die if they didn’t laugh,’ he said. ‘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.’

Matthew’s admission shocked his co-stars as Lisa Kudrow replied: ‘You didn’t tell us that. I don’t remember you ever saying that.’

Honest: While some of his co-stars thrived underneath the bright lights and energy of a live studio audience, Perry was consumed in fear

Honest: While some of his co-stars thrived underneath the bright lights and energy of a live studio audience, Perry was consumed in fear

Honest: While some of his co-stars thrived underneath the bright lights and energy of a live studio audience, Perry was consumed in fear

'To me, I felt like I was going to die if they didn't laugh,' he said. '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.'

'To me, I felt like I was going to die if they didn't laugh,' he said. '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.'

‘To me, I felt like I was going to die if they didn’t laugh,’ he said. ‘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.’

Tough: Matthew's admission shocked his co-stars as Lisa Kudrow replied: 'You didn't tell us that. I don't remember you ever saying that'

Tough: Matthew's admission shocked his co-stars as Lisa Kudrow replied: 'You didn't tell us that. I don't remember you ever saying that'

Tough: Matthew’s admission shocked his co-stars as Lisa Kudrow replied: ‘You didn’t tell us that. I don’t remember you ever saying that’

Matthew admitted: ‘I felt that every single night.’

But one person Matthew never had to worry about making laugh was former co-star Maggie Wheeler, who played Chandler’s on/off girlfriend Janice.

The actress confessed that she’d created Janice’s famous honking laugh because she’d have been in ‘big trouble’ otherwise because she found her co-star so funny.

She said: ‘When Matthew started speaking I knew he was going to crack me up. I knew that if Janice couldn’t laugh on set or laugh at that moment, I was going to be in big trouble and that is why that laugh exists.’

Difficult time: Matthew admitted: 'I felt that every single night'

Difficult time: Matthew admitted: 'I felt that every single night'

Difficult time: Matthew admitted: ‘I felt that every single night’

'The special ultimately declines to discuss any of his troubled experience explicitly, but it nonetheless lingers around the margins with palpable unease,' Variety critic Caroline Framke said on Tuesday

'The special ultimately declines to discuss any of his troubled experience explicitly, but it nonetheless lingers around the margins with palpable unease,' Variety critic Caroline Framke said on Tuesday

‘The special ultimately declines to discuss any of his troubled experience explicitly, but it nonetheless lingers around the margins with palpable unease,’ Variety critic Caroline Framke said on Tuesday

In 2002-2003, Matthew earned $24M to portray the ‘executive in statistical analysis and data reconfiguration’ on Friends, which ran for 10 seasons on NBC between 1994-2004. 

Matthew has battled addictions to Vicodin, methadone, amphetamines and alcohol through the years, and also had two stints in rehab.

Critics noted there was ‘palpable unease’ on set of the HBO Max reunion.

‘The special ultimately declines to discuss any of his troubled experience explicitly, but it nonetheless lingers around the margins with palpable unease,’ Variety critic Caroline Framke said on Tuesday.

‘When his castmates talk about staying in touch with each other, he cracks a joke about how he doesn’t hear “from anyone” so dryly that it’s impossible to tell if it’s actually a joke.’ 

Fans also noticed Perry’s slurred speech in reunion promos, which was later addressed as due to an ’emergency tooth procedure’ performed on the day of filming.

'When his castmates talk about staying in touch with each other, he cracks a joke about how he doesn't hear "from anyone" so dryly that it's impossible to tell if it's actually a joke'

'When his castmates talk about staying in touch with each other, he cracks a joke about how he doesn't hear "from anyone" so dryly that it's impossible to tell if it's actually a joke'

‘When his castmates talk about staying in touch with each other, he cracks a joke about how he doesn’t hear “from anyone” so dryly that it’s impossible to tell if it’s actually a joke’

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