Matt LeBlanc reveals the real reason Joey wore a sling on Friends

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Kayleigh Dray
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Everyone over a certain age (ahem) remembers sitting down to watch Friends when it first hit our screens all those years ago. Since then, we’ve bought the VHS boxsets, we’ve borrowed the DVDs, and we’ve downloaded it onto our devices – all of which means that we’ve rewatched each and every single episode around… ooh, a million times?

But, while we can recite reams and reams of script from memory, it seems as if everyone’s favourite sitcom still holds some surprises – even for true diehard fans.

Matt LeBlanc (aka Joey Tribbiani) appeared on Jimmy Kimmel’s show recently – and, lucky for us, the actor was more than willing to talk about a TV show that ended 13 years ago. Sort of. After some gentle probing from Kimmel, LeBlanc wearily revealed that, yes, it took a long time to film the opening credits. Yes, the entire cast had “pruny hands” by the end of it. And no, he doesn’t really watch the show anymore, thank you very much.

There was one topic, though, which he was pretty chatty about: Joey’s mysterious blue sling, as seen in The One With The Jam.

As it turns out, the sling was the result of a real-life injury, which LeBlanc sustained while performing a “stunt” on the set of Friends itself.

Addressing the episode, LeBlanc explained that the incident occurred during the making of The One Where No One’s Ready.

We all remember this one, don’t we? Ross (David Schwimmer) is anxious because his friends are taking too long to get ready for a black-tie event at his museum, and he winds up being incredibly rude to his girlfriend, Rachel (Jennifer Aniston).

Elsewhere, Joey and Chandler do battle over a particularly comfy chair at Monica (Courteney Cox)’s apartment, which results in the smooth-talking Italian dressing up in every single item of clothing that Mr Bing owns.

Y’know, barring his underwear.

However, while we all remember this as a fun episode, LeBlanc refers to it as “the one where I ironically dislocated my shoulder”.

He explains to Kimmel: “The audience that night was made up of Diet Coke contest winners, so they’d been flown in from all over the country.

“It was the second scene, Chandler and I are fighting over the big down chair. I’m downstage at the table and he comes in the door. We both look at each other, look at the chair, and neither of us are sitting in it, so we both race to get there first.”

LeBlanc continues: “I have to step over the coffee table and land in this big huge comfortable chair, so I don’t think it qualifies as a stunt. But, somehow, I landed completely upside down, and put my arm out to break my fall.

“Pain just exploded in my shoulder.”

Unfortunately for LeBlanc, though, everyone thought the stunt was just another hilarious script moment – and he didn’t exactly get the sympathy he was hoping for.

“I go upstage into Monica’s bedroom, and I collapse against the wall. I look down at myself and my shoulder’s gone. My arm is sticking out of my ass.

“Basically, I’m like what the heck?”

Things got more surreal when an actor from the television drama, ER, wandered in to check on him.

“I look up and Anthony Edwards from ER was there,” said LeBlanc.

“He comes in, and I’m like, ‘Wow, did I hit my head too, because I know you’re not a real doctor. Get out of here. Get going.”

LeBlanc finished by saying: “The fire department came and we had to shut down the show. All of those competition winners got sent home. And then Warner Brothers had to fly them all back again for another show.

“I did a few episodes in a sling and wrote it into the show as Joey was jumping on the bed.”

Now it all makes so much sense. Anyone else suddenly in the mood to rewatch that episode…?

Images: Friends


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.