A lot of questions.
Among them: What’s it like going back to broadcast comedy? Is the Man with a Plan studio audience different than the Friends studio audience? Have you seen Matthew Perry?
In this context, Showtime’s comedy Episodes, in which LeBlanc stars became that thing he did as his first foray back to work after playing Joey on Friends and its short-lived spinoff Joey. Man with a Plan was a conscious decision to return to multi-cam comedy, like Friends, “because I have a family, and the hours.”
Man with a Plan stars LeBlanc as Adam, a contractor who learns that raising his kids is more challenging than expected when his wife goes back her career as a medical lab technician. Liza Snyder plays his wife, and Kevin Nealon plays Don, Adam’s older brother and business partner in their contracting business. It’s written by Jeff and Jackie Filgos.
Man with a Plan is unlike Friends, LeBlanc explained patiently when asked, in that it’s a family comedy to which he wanted to migrate because he is not as young as he was when he did Friends and is a father in real life.
Man with a Plan is like Friends, on the other hand, LeBlanc explained later, in that he’s working for Leslie Moonves, now CEO of CBS Corp, who developed Friends all those years ago when he was heading Warner Bros TV. People who cover TV just could not, all these years later, let go of Joey, and LeBlanc was a very good sport as he patiently answered their questions.
As to his approach to his work since Friends and his expectations as to Friends-ish hit status in his career going forward, LeBlanc said: “They can’t all be hits. Joey was what Joey was. There was a lot of pressure on that” show, he noted, but added, “we can leave that alone.” Trying to turn TV critics’ attention back to the new show, LeBlanc said, “This is a whole new side of me, and I’m looking forward to it.”
So he got asked whether, as he’s working on Man With a Plan, if he has seen his former Friends castmate Perry, who now stars in CBS’ comedy The Odd Couple. “I saw him yesterday,” LeBlanc said, noting his series is shot one stage away. “He’s great. I love that guy.”
With regard to whether they still are close, LeBlanc said if he did not see Perry for five years and was put in a room with him, it would be “like I saw him yesterday. We have a shorthand. Ten years in a building with no windows and the door locked, we got to know each other pretty well.”