D.L. Hughley reflects on the generosity of spirit displayed by Matthew Perry upon learning about the tragic passing of his former co-star. Together, they co-starred in Aaron Sorkin‘s short-lived dramedy “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” where Hughley played comedian Simon Stiles alongside Perry’s co-executive producer Matt Albie.
He told The Post: “I was on the road and I instantly flashed right back. It was a very late Friday night and my son had turned 18, so I was going to take him out and we were going to hang out all night.”
“But we were running over and we got behind,” he said. “And Matthew let me leave — he did something I would never do, he switched the order of things so I could leave early and be with my son.”
Hughley continued: “I didn’t ask him, but he found out about it and did that, and he had to shoot his scenes like 2 or 3 in the morning. So when I heard he had died I flashed back to that moment.”
Following the conclusion of the iconic “Friends” series, Matthew Perry ventured into “Studio 60,” a high-expectation show created by Aaron Sorkin. Starring alongside Bradley Whitford, Amanda Peet, Sarah Paulson, and Nate Corddry, the hourlong series delved into the behind-the-scenes dynamics of a network sketch-comedy show. Despite a promising start with over 13 million viewers, the show faced a decline, leading to NBC’s decision to cancel it after 22 episodes.
D.L. Hughley mentioned that Matthew Perry consistently maintained positive relationships with the cast and crew, unaffected by any external pressures.
He said: “It was a tough situation and Matthew was the lead and it was the first time I understood what being No. 1 on the call sheet meant. Matthew led by example. We had to remember all the lines and had to be exact, and though it was a lot of fun and interesting it was also very challenging — and he just made it so much easier. This was a big project with pressure all its own but you would never know that by the way he comported himself and by the way he interacted with us.”
“I remember Matthew coming to my dressing room a number of times because those walk-and-talks were something I never experienced before,” Hughley recalled. “So he would literally not take lunch and come to my dressing room and work with me so I got it. He was very funny and very gracious and really taught me what being the lead of such a big production could be.”
D.L. Hughley knew about Matthew Perry’s widely reported struggles with addiction before starting the project. However, during production, he observed that these issues did not manifest, at least as far as he could discern.
“I knew, of course, of the stuff he’d gone through. We have an expression, ‘He didn’t look like what he’d been through’ and that was true in his case. The light wasn’t out of his eyes and he didn’t look like he’d succumbed to it and was going through the motions,” expressed D.L. Hughley.
D.L. Hughley concluded: “I was kind of pleasantly surprised that wasn’t the case. For a guy that had all those demons, and that level of success, it could have gone a lot differently. In my world, in comedy, we say, ‘He still has dates on the books,’ meaning someone is still relevant, still in the fight, toeing the line. Matthew could still do it,. He could still make things happen.”