Legacy, or even on a smaller scale the simple sharing of one’s story, can leave an impression on those who encounter it regardless of if they ever get to meet the person whose life journey they identify with. That’s true for those of us moving through life outside of the spotlight as well as known figures whose work is celebrated, critiqued, and consumed by the masses. For instance, even though John Mulaney never met Matthew Perry, the late actor’s memoir Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing affected the comedian.
The book, which traverses the arc of Perry’s life, covers the star’s addiction and recovery. Mulaney, who has talked openly about his own struggle with addiction in interviews and on stage through his work, can identify with Perry’s story. Mulaney began abusing substances at 13 years old, seeing it as a means of socializing and remaining the funny one when his outgoing personality began to wane in his adolescence.
The comedian stayed on this trajectory into his 20s until a wild weekend when he was 23 years old shook him up enough to want to stop, take account of his life and choices, and combat his addiction. Mulaney relapsed in 2020 and sought treatment for alcohol and cocaine addiction in December of that year after an intervention by his loved ones. He checked himself into rehab and has been sober for going on three years.
In an interview with Variety, Mulaney shared the following about addiction and Perry:
"“Addiction is just a disaster. Life is like a wobbly table at a restaurant and you pile all this sh–t on it, and it gets wobblier and wobblier and more unstable. Then drugs just kick the f–ing legs out from under the table. I really identified with his story. I’m thinking about him a lot.”"
It’s hard not to think about Matthew Perry and the mark he left on people through his acting, philanthropy, and openness about his personal struggles. He touched a lot of people’s hearts in his 54 years on this Earth and he will continue to do so through his legacy which lives on.