The Wildest Place Matt Leblanc Ever Got Recognized Because Of Friends

friends joey surprised

By far one of the most popular sitcoms of all time by any metric, Friends is still a force to be reckoned with when it comes to how widespread its reach has gone over the years. In fact, star Matt LeBlanc recently-ish went through an experience with a Friends fan that ranks among the strangest he'd ever had, as it was about as far from a New York City apartment as you can get. Here's how he put it.

I was in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, shooting a thing for Top Gear. I mean, we were far away from civilization. And these people were wearing robes, and they live in caves and stuff. They called me Joey and said, 'How you doin'?' in a really butchered accent. It was like, 'Oh wow. Did not see that one coming.'... The show is everywhere. It still holds up.

My favorite part of life is having surreal experiences like this, although I obviously have nothing that compares specifically, as I'm not the former star of a hit NBC sitcom. (And my name doesn't rhyme with Scratthew Scary.) What a strange thing it must have been getting to work in such an unfamiliar setting and not only finding something in common with the people that live there, but actually BEING the connecting element. I wouldn't be surprised if The Tao of Joey existed somewhere, with sandwich stains on the pages.

So much about that story is great from a visual standpoint. I picture LeBlanc standing around drinking some water while the Top Gear crew sets up a shot, and a small group of solemn people in robes come walking out of a nearby cave, perfectly silent until they are right outside of the actor's personal bubble. And then they just start piling on the Friends references. "How you doin'?" is obviously the best example, but the judges would have also accepted someone pretending to put on Ichiban lipstick for men, mentioning a point being "moo," or loudly declaring they don't share food.

The Top Gear episode that Matt LeBlanc was filming in Morocco involved him zipping around the desert in the Ariel Nomad, an offroad vehicle that gave the actor a bit of trouble when he was attempting to figure out how to get inside of it. Without any windows or doors or curtains around, the Ariel Nomad does not allow one to travel cleanly in such dusty settings, and LeBlanc was a dirty mess when he was finished riding around. Had someone asked him at that point "How you doin'?" I imagine he would have said, "Great, because of all the sand which is here." Get it? Sandwiches! Joey Tribbiani! Thank you and good night!

I can never get enough Friends factoids, since they end up offering new information that watching episodes for the 100th time can't. Matt LeBlanc is heading back to network TV for the first time since Joey, now that Episodes has been cancelled, so he'll hopefully be telling stories in 20 years about going to Mars and having some alien quote his new character's best lines. Science!

Man with a Plan will debut on CBS on Monday, October 24, at 8:30 p.m. ET. To see when everything else is heading to TV later this year, check out our fall premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.