TCA: Perry not afraid to take shots — at himself

Though Sunday, Matthew Perry is the TCA leader in self-deprication.

Star and co-writer of ABC midseason entry “Mr. Sunshine,” Perry said the show is a sort of catharsis of turning his own life around from self-centered jerk to actually being kind to people.Perry

On the sitcom, Perry plays the manager of a sports arena who can’t figure out why his girlfriend is leaving him, nor why his he can’t get the respect of his colleagues. He realizes he needs to get his act together or end up a lonely and forgotten nobody.

“This character was my life five years ago,” he said. “I’m very in touch with that kind of selfish guy who wants a better life.”

So how bad was it back when the money from “Friends” was pouring in, he was addicted to prescription medication and his weight was ballooning to National Enquirer front page levels?

“Just pick up any newspaper from 1996 (to find out),” said Perry. “They say write what you know. It’s about changing terrible behavior to being a better guy. I’m much nicer these days.”

Perry, of course, will forever be known best for playing Chandler Bing on “Friends,” but like co-star Jennifer Aniston, tried to translate that success to the bigscreen. Didn’t work out too well him — “Fools Rush In” was denied any kudos attention — and he’s well aware of those limitations.

Sticking to television should suit him best. He showed some nice drama chops in Aaron Sorkin vehicles “The West Wing” and “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” but is now going back to comedy.

“You can tell how successful my movies have been by the fact that I’m here,” he joked.

Poking fun at yourself can play well at TCA. Whether that translates to national audience by including it your character remains to be seen.

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