Matthew Perry has apologized for the insensitive comments about Keanu Reeves he made in his new memoir. Perry is best known for playing the iconic character Chandler Bing on Friends, the classic sitcom that ran for 10 seasons on NBC from 1994 through 2004. Since Friends went off the air, Perry has had stints on various series that haven’t been able to muster the extreme longevity of Friends, including Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Mr. Sunshine, Go On, and the reboot of The Odd Couple.
Perry’s memoir Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing is set to be released on October 28. However, various passages from the book have been shared online ahead of its release, including two different points where he laments the fact that « it always seems to be the really talented guys who go down. » He drew the ire of the Internet when he asked why The Matrix star Keanu Reeves is still alive when people like Heath Ledger and River Phoenix are not, later doubling down when saying the same thing about Chris Farley’s death.
Perry recently made a statement to PEOPLE in response to the backlash to his comments. He reveals that when he was writing he chose a random name and that he’s « actually a big fan of Keanu. » He apologized for his insensitive comments, saying that « I should have used my own name instead. » Read his full quote below:
I’m actually a big fan of Keanu. I just chose a random name, my mistake. I apologize. I should have used my own name instead.
Reeves is a rare celebrity who seems to be loved by the Internet at large, possibly because he spent so much time as Hollywood’s go-to punching bag. His early roles in films like Point Break, Speed, and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure had him typecast as a brainless stoner or meathead action hero. Because of this, when he began to alternate those films with performing in more serious dramas like Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing, he became an easy scapegoat for people to make fun of his performing style.
He was such a common punchline in Hollywood for so long, this is most likely the reason that Matthew Perry referenced him in the first place. However, the pendulum has swung back for Reeves, and his commitment to popular franchises including The Matrix sequels and the John Wick films have garnered him many fans over the years. In addition, many have found him to be a sweet and unproblematic public figure, so the derisive comments toward him have been diminished overall, and many fans have taken to defending him against them when they arise, as they have in this new memoir.