What’s On TV met up with Matt Le Blanc, who revealed some secrets about the downhill spiral for his ridiculous character – also called Matt Le Blanc – in the third series of BBC2 comedy Episodes (Wednesday, May 14)…
It must be odd playing a character called Matt Le Blanc that is you but not you, so to speak…
“It’s an exaggeration thankfully, but Matt in Episodes is based on all the crazy stuff that viewers would read and hear about celebrities in general, all kind of wrapped up into a character they’ve slapped my name on. I guess Episodes’ Matt is mostly based on my career, but with all kinds of things that really have nothing to do with me added in. People don’t assume I’m like him though. They’re smart enough to know it’s all scripted. It’s not a documentary – can you imagine if it was?”
What do those caught up in the Hollywood showbiz world think of the show?
“Within the industry you meet people who say: ‘Oh I know who THAT character is based on!’ – and you’re looking at them and you know it’s based right on them! So yeah the industry finds it funny. It’s a narcissistic industry so anything for them by them about them they’re going to enjoy.”
Matt still finds himself in a lot of hot water in this third series…
“Everything just gets worse for Matt – it’s a downhill spiral that just keeps going down. He’s in big trouble with the police for a driving offence, he still in trouble with the ex wife, and there’s a situation with a young girl… There’s nothing nice to say about him in this series.”
Was it fun to have Matt’s dad show up later in this series?
“Oh yes and ‘Dad’ has a very sweary, foul-mouthed older girlfriend! It’s fun, because they’re new characters to spar with. Alex Rocco plays Matt’s dad. He was Vegas gangster Moe Greene in the Godfather films many years ago and was brilliant.”
Legendary US chat show host Jay Leno turns up later on, too…
“Yep Matt appears on Jay’s Tonight Show, but has issues because he’s second guest on, behind Zak Efron. I’ve been a friend of Jay a long time. He’s a car guy, I’m a car guy, so we’re for ever talking cars – and he was thrilled to do it. Jay’s not really known for using foul language, so we gave him a great new swear word. People who know him might be shocked!”
Has working on Episodes with Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Grieg helped you see differences between US and British humour?
“Yep, when they play writers Sean and Beverly they have a dry British sense of humour. This allows my Matt to go bigger, broader and louder, plus he’s a lot more stupid. Stephen and Tamsin have a better work ethic when we’re on set – they’re much more prepared than me! I have a lighter approach and fool around a lot. Hanging around with them has been great, but I haven’t picked up any British habits yet, like drinking tea all the time.”
The other stars of Friends are often talked about on Episodes. Do you think they might want to appear?
“You know, they probably would, but we haven’t really asked them. The way the rest of the Friends cast has been written into it, without using them, was extremely efficient budget wise – it didn’t cost a dime! They all thought it was really funny because the only one being made fun of in Episodes is me! Everyone else came up smelling of roses!”
Are there any glimmers of hope for Episodes’ Matt at all…?
“Well, that’s what I’m hoping. I’m hoping that they’ve taken him to his rock bottom so he can take a real good look at himself. And I’ve heard some rumblings about what might be coming next. Season four has been commissioned, so I think in that one he may be taking a look at his behaviour. I’m not too sure so I maybe shouldn’t elaborate on that futher.”