Why Friends Cast Didn’t Host Matthew Perry Tribute at Emmys

Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer are always there for Friends costar Matthew Perry, but Emmys producers shared why they weren't part of a tribute.

By Sarah Grossbart Jan 16, 2024 9:37 PMTags
Watch: Why Friends Cast Didn’t Host Matthew Perry Tribute at Emmys

Call it the one where the Emmys honor Matthew Perry's legacy.

Nearly three months after the Friends actor died from the acute effects of ketamine, the 2023 Emmy Awards remembered him with a touching tribute by playing the show's theme song "I'll Be There For You" during the in memoriam segment. The photo montage concluded with an image of Perry.  

However, his Friends cast members—Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer—were not involved in the special segment on the Jan. 15 broadcast.

As Emmys executive producer Jeannae Rouzan-Clay told The Hollywood Reporter Jan. 16, "It's still very fresh for them."

Fellow executive producer Jesse Collins noted that the team had discussed bringing the Friends cast together "early on" in the Emmys planning process.

"But I can imagine, from their side, they're mourning someone who was still very close to them," Collins shared. "I can't speak for them, but we all have to respect that they were their own family. It was probably just a little too soon."

Matthew Perry: A Life in Pictures

Collins also explained that the Emmys wanted the segment to recognize all fallen stars more equitably. 

"Yes, Norman Lear and Matthew Perry, you have to give some special attention to, but you don't want anyone to feel slighted," the producer said. "Everybody's contribution was significant, and this is their moment inside this package."

Of course, Perry's castmates have proved they're still there for him in other ways. 

Following Perry's shocking Oct. 28 death, the NBC series' leads each paid tribute in touching social media posts. 

Warner Bros. Television

"I am so grateful for every moment I had with you Matty and I miss you every day," Cox wrote on Instagram Nov. 14. "When you work with someone as closely as I did with Matthew, there are thousands of moments I wish I could share."

Among the highlights: Filming the pivotal moment when Monica and Chandler hopped in bed together while in London for Ross' wedding. 

"In this scene, before we started rolling, he whispered a funny line for me to say," she revealed. "He often did things like that. He was funny and he was kind."

Christopher Polk/Variety via Getty Images

And deeply, deeply missed

As Aniston put it in her own Nov. 15 tribute, "this one has cut deep... Having to say goodbye to our Matty has been an insane wave of emotions that I've never experienced before."

His dry wit was apparent to anyone who's ever binge-watched the legendary series. "For Matty, he KNEW he loved to make people laugh," Aniston continued. "As he said himself, if he didn't hear the ‘'laugh' he thought he was going to die. His life literally depended on it. And boy did he succeed in doing just that. He made all of us laugh. And laugh hard."

NBCU Photo Bank

The most important piece of his legacy, though, had nothing to do with the character he gave life to for 10 straight seasons. 

As the actor—who detailed his decades-long battle with addiction in his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing—explained his bigger goal was to help others overcome their own struggles. 

"The best thing about me, bar none, is if somebody comes up to me and says, 'I can't stop drinking, can you help me?' I can say yes and follow up and do it," he shared during a Q with Tom Power interview in November 2022. "It's the best thing."

As Perry noted, "And I've said this for a long time; when I die, I don't want Friends to be the first thing that's mentioned. I want that to be the first thing that's mentioned, and I'm going to live the rest of my life proving that."

Ultimately, he continued, "I would like to be remembered as somebody who lived well, loved well, was a seeker. And his paramount thing is that he wants to help people. That's what I want."

Courtesy of HBO Max

While we couldn't be anymore thrilled to see the Friends stars reunite in the future, a slew of other casts were able to get the gang back together for the Emmy Awards. (Check out those stars and other celebs on the red carpet here.) 

Keep reading to see all of the reunions that had us delivering a standing ovation. 

SNL Wekend Update's Tina Fey & Amy Poehler

Emmy Awards

Grey's Anatomy's Chandra Wilson, Justin Chambers, Ellen Pompeo, Katherine Heigl and James Pickens

Emmy Awards

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenney, Kaitlin Olson and Danny DeVito

Emmy Awards

Martin's Tisha Campbell, Martin Lawrence, Tichina Arnold, and Carl Anthony Payne II

Emmy Awards

Community's Ken Jeong & Joel McHale

Emmy Awards

The Soprano's Lorraine Bracco & Michael Imperioli

Emmy Awards

Ted Lasso's Nick Mohammed, Jeremy Swift, Cristo Fernández, Kola Bokinni, James Lance and Billy Harris

Emmy Awards

Cheers' Ted Danson, Rhea Perlman, Kelsey Grammer, John Ratzenberger, George Wendt

Emmy Awards

Ozark's Julia Garner and Jason Bateman

Golden Globes

Suits' Patrick J. Adams and Gabriel Macht

Golden Globes

Friends' and The Morning Show's Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon

Golden Globes

 Mamma Mia's Amanda Seyfried and Meryl Streep

Golden Globes

The Hunger Games' Jennifer Lawrence and Lenny Kravitz

Golden Globes

Only Murders in the Building's Selena Gomez, Meryl Streep and Martin Short

Golden Globes

The Devil Wears Prada's Meryl Streep and Emily Blunt

Golden Globes

Abbott Elementary's Janelle James and Tyler James Williams

Golden Globes

Ted Lasso's Brendan Hunt and Jason Sudeikis

Golden Globes

Barbie's Margot Robbie, America Ferrera, Greta Gerwig and Ariana Greenblatt

Golden Globes

Abbott Elementary's Chris Perfetti and Lisa Ann Walter

Golden Globes

For a full recap of the 75th Emmy Awards, check out E! Online's Emmys homepage here.