Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
At ABC’s TCA panel on his new show Mr. Sunshine, which he stars in, executive produces, and co-writes, Matthew Perry was in fine form. He was sardonic about everything, even his own well-publicized problems with Vicodin addiction in the mid-1990s that made him something less than a Mr. Sunshine. Perry made clear that his character, Ben Donovan, who’s the manager of a second-tier sports arena in San Diego and in Perry’s words a “selfish jerk, was not-so-loosely based on himself. “The reason that my character has only thought about himself is I knew somebody for whom that was the case for a long time.. I’m much nicer now.” Perry, now 40, was asked whether anything specific changed him for the better. “I would say if you want to find out the answer to that, just pick up any newspaper from 1996 or look at any magazine cover.” Perry cracked. “They say, hey, write what you know. I knew if I wrote something, I would like that to be a component of it.”
Quizzed about his former sitcom castmates, one questioner noted how “All the Friends are cooking along pretty well these days except it seems for David Schwimmer. We don’t see him. Where is he?” To which Perry responded, “If we weren’t here, would you say, ‘Except, it seems, for Matthew?’” Perry quipped back. Of his own feature film efforts, Perry said: “You can tell how successful the movies are by the fact that I’m here.”