'Friends' Actors Post-'Friends' Roles That Will Give You So Much Joey, Chandler, & Ross Déjà Vu
The men of Friends were three wildly different types of guys, each with their own versions of bravado, sexuality, and masculinity. Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer all played these archetypes with comedic specificity (and audiences loved them for it), but how often were the men of Friends able to play outside of their TV personas in other projects? How often were they forced into that type? Some of their roles were almost ridiculously similar to their Friends characters, but some were remarkably different.
When I say they were three different types of men, you know exactly what I mean — Chandler was snarky and sensitive, Joey was masculine and dumb, and Ross was bookish and nerdy. The show thrived on having six unique personalities living, loving, and drinking coffee with each other in spite of their severe differences in personality. LeBlanc, Perry, and Schwimmer all found themselves playing those character traits numerous times throughout their career, but, occasionally, they actually got the chance to break their own mold and try something new.
Here are the characters that the men of Friends played in other movies and television that were most similar — and dissimilar — to their Must-See-TV counterparts.
Most Like Joey Tribbiani: Vinnie Verducci from Married... With Children, Top of the Heap, and Vinnie & Bobby
They really tried to make Vinnie Verducci a thing. The character was a simple, amorous young Italian man who first appeared on Married... With Children as one of Kelly Bundy's love interests. Matt LeBlanc's beautiful eyes landed him a spinoff series featuring the character (Top of the Heap), and then another (Vinnie & Bobby) when the first series failed. Verducci was basically Joey Tribbiani if Joey hung out with lamer people.
Least Like Joey Tribbiani: Matt LeBlanc from Episodes
On the uber-meta Showtime series Episodes, Matt LeBlanc plays... well, Matt LeBlanc. And the truth is, unlike Joey, Matt LeBlanc the character is a pretty smart and savvy guy.
Most Like Chandler Bing: Alex Whitman in Fools Rush In
Matthew Perry's early-Friends attempt at a film career included this rom-com, in which he plays a young urban professional who gets Salma Hayek's character pregnant after a one-night stand. They should have just called the movie "Chandler Gets Salma Hayek Pregnant," because that's basically whole plot.
Least Like Chandler Bing: Matt Albie from Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Unlike Chandler, Matt Albie is a fast talking, hotshot TV producer with the grating confidence and somber introspection of your average Aaron Sorkin lead male character.
Most Like Ross Geller: Tom Thompson from The Pallbearer
First of all — Tom Thompson? Why not Smith Smitherson or Bob Bobley? Second, Tom's nervousness around his crush, and his inability to navigate his way out of shenanigans, are what make him so similar to Ross. The movie's plot, in which Tom is asked to be a pallbearer for the funeral of a classmate he doesn't remember, sounds like just the sort of hijinks you can imagine Ross stumbling into.
Least Like Ross Geller: Greenzo / Jared from 30 Rock
Jared, an unemployed actor who takes a gig as NBC's new mascot in one episode of 30 Rock, is more like Joey than anybody else. He's kind of a loser, desperate for acting work, and gets totally lost in his role once he gets it... Nothing like the grounded, upper middle class archaeologist Ross.
So, while their Friends roles were clearly defining moments in their careers, it wasn't very hard for the actors behind Chandler, Ross, and Joey to find roles that were different or similar to the sitcom that made them famous. It's hard, even now, to avoid comparing their present and future roles to these famous roles of the past, but, hey. That's the price you pay when you work on a show as great and iconic as Friends.
Image: Warner Bros. Television