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Rehab Was a Friend to Matthew Perry

The Friends star says his own experiences in recovery are helping him with a new TV role.

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He's been there before. Photo via

By Gabrielle Wuhl

07/25/12

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Rehab was there for Matthew Perry when the rain started to pour—and now that experience is helping inform his new role as the star of NBC's New Comedy Series Go On. The friendly face of Chandler Bing will be playing Ryan King, a sports radio talk show host who joins a support group to help him cope with the death of his wife. "I don't have a lot of experience with grieving, but I have a ton of experience sitting in circles and talking about my problems," says the former Friends star, who famously spent time in-and-out of rehab for painkiller and alcohol addiction. “I've been doing that for a long, long time so I didn't have to do much research." The actor says he believes in the value of twelve-step programs, and his new TV character—although not an addict—can benefit from learning that "people need people. Not being alone with it, that's what he has to learn." But support groups don't have to be a dismal experience, says Perry, and there is humor to be gleaned from the experience. “The interesting thing is that common bond creates a lot of laughter, a lot of jokes, and a lot of funny." Ever since Friends, Perry has found himself attracted to darker comedies, and particularly characters who are broken and on a path to self-betterment. "I get to do both things I really enjoy; comedy and drama. I hope I'm playing him in a sympathetic way while still being funny."

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