Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images North America
I can't promise you that this photo of Matthew Perry taken during his Sunday press tour appearance was snapped during the awkward exchange at issue here, but it could have been.
Matthew Perry appeared on a panel on Sunday to promote his new show, Mr. Sunshine, which won't air until midseason. In addition to Perry, it features Allison Janney (that's The West Wing's C.J. Cregg to you) and Andrea Anders (who just finished her run on the adored but little-watched Better Off Ted).
Right in the middle of the session came an exchange that really underscored the tantalizingly anything-can-happen quality that prevails at press tour. The dialogue here is taken directly from the transcript of the session; the stage directions are my own.
QUESTION: For Matthew. All the Friends are sort of cooking along pretty well these days, except, it seems, for David.
[Matthew Perry gives a trademark Matthew Perry take — the little jolt in the face that means, "Is that what you just said? …Really?"]
[There is nervous laughter. The reporter continues.]
We don't see him very much.
MATTHEW PERRY: Now, if David were here, would you say, "Except, it seems, for Matthew"?
[This is said good-naturedly, with a strong dose of "think carefully about whether you really want to be asking this question in quite this way." The questioner continues.]
QUESTION: It seems as if you and Matt and certainly Lisa and Courteney are all pretty darn successful on TV, and maybe I'm missing something with David in the movies.
MATTHEW PERRY: [Now, he is out of patience, and gives what Friends fans might recognize as The Full Chandler.] Are we anywhere near a question?
[There is laughter. And scattered applause.]
[The questioner, believe it or not, continues.]
QUESTION: Do you ever see David, and does he talk to you about his goals?
MATTHEW PERRY: "Does he talk about his goals?"
QUESTION: Say that again.
MATTHEW PERRY: "Does he talk about his goals?" Is that what you said?
QUESTION: His goals, yes.
MATTHEW PERRY: I have not seen David in a while, but I — I would assume he's doing exactly what he wants to be doing.
JAMES LESURE: [another actor from the pilot (which includes an elephant), trying to help out] He's hanging out with the elephant, I think.
MATTHEW PERRY: You know, he loves directing. He loves the theater. [Here, the tone becomes what can only be called "very pointed."] So he's probably doing a bunch of that lame stuff.