Matthew Perry Makes a Joke About Keanu Reeves, Fun Police Mobilize

The laugh Nazis have come for Chandler Bing. Friends star Matthew Perry has a memoir called Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing coming out next week. In the book, he details his history of drug and alcohol addiction and the long, painful road to recovery. He also talks about his experiences in show business and, at one point, discusses losing some of his friends and colleagues over the years, specifically River Phoenix, Heath Ledger, and Chris Farley. However, he made the current-year mistake of telling a joke, and now everyone hates him.

Here are the offending excerpts, courtesy of Variety:

“River [Phoenix] was a beautiful man, inside and out — too beautiful for this world, it turned out. It always seems to be the really talented guys who go down. Why is it that the original thinkers like River Phoenix and Heath Ledger die, but Keanu Reeves still walks among us?”

“I punched a hole through Jennifer Aniston’s dressing room wall when I found out [that Chris Farley had died]. Keanu Reeves walks among us. I had to promote ‘Almost Heroes’ two weeks after he died; I found myself publicly discussing his death from drugs and alcohol. I was high the entire time.”

The outrage comes over his repeated jab at Keanu Reeves, who has been experiencing a career renaissance of late thanks to John Wick. He’s also a very nice man who does a lot of charity work and seems to wish everyone the best in general. We all love him. But for God’s sake, he’s not above a joke, and that’s clearly what Matthew Perry was doing. The ding here is on Reeves’ acting talent, which, for some reason, the world has decided to pretend is on a De Niro/Nicholson/Peck level. And Perry isn’t the first person to take a crack at this, either:

You know super concerned woke guy Neil Gaiman? One of the entries in his (brilliant) short story collection Smoke and Mirrors, titled “The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories,” features a writer selling his book to a movie studio who is horrified when the executive in the meeting suggests Keanu Reeves for the lead role.

All of this is to say, the idea of Reeves as a less-than-stellar actor has been a running joke for a long time, and Matthew Perry – who became a star in the 90s, like Reeves did, albeit on television – logically defaults to a gag from his era. It’s hard to believe anyone really thinks he hates Reeves or wants him to die. But click this link and look at the unhinged reactions on Twitter. Is it any wonder why comedy movies are all but dead or why titans of the genre like Todd Phillips have abandoned it? The world has a collective stick up its ass, and even a guy making a joke in a book about his struggles with sobriety isn’t safe.

That being said, I’d have gone with Charlie Hunnam for that joke. You want to talk about bad actors…

UPDATE: It didn’t take long, but Matthew Perry has issued an apology for his joke about Keanu Reeves in a statement to People, and it’s done in typical Matthew Perry fashion:

“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.”

Classic. This is how you combat the perpetually offended; you mock them for their outrage. I can’t wait to read his book.

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