ABC’s Modern Family has been around for so long that it’s hard to imagine any other actors playing members of the show’s eccentric family. Although the show may not be as popular as it was in its early years, it’s still up for Outstanding Comedy Series at the Emmys this September. Playing dorky dad Phil Dunphy, Ty Burrell is also nominated for Supporting Actor in a Comedy for the eighth year in a row. Given his success, it’s so weird to think of someone else being Phil, but Friends’ Matt LeBlanc just revealed that he was offered the role back in 2009. Can you picture Joey Tribbiani as a family man?
Entertainment Weekly reports that LeBlanc talked about his past with the show in an interview with USA Today. Modern Family’s pilot script made its way to him after ABC was hesitant to hire Burrell, the producers’ top pick for the role.
“I remember reading it thinking, this is a really good script, [but] I’m not the guy for this,” LeBlanc said. “I’d be doing the project an injustice to take this. I know what I can do, I know what I can’t do. Plus, I’m having too much fun laying on the couch.”
Well, it’s good to know that LeBlanc really is Joey at heart and loves his couch time.
Although he wasn’t meant to be a Dunphy, LeBlanc later contributed to the show in a special way. According to USA Today, in 2012, the cast was struggling with salary negotiations. Back in the day, the cast of Friendsmade headlines for successfully insisting that all six of them were paid the same salary. When he and his Modern Family castmates wanted salary leverage, Jesse Tyler Ferguson called LeBlanc for advice (anyone else just picturing Ferguson’s Mitchell talking to Joey now?).
LeBlanc said he told Ferguson, “You have to walk out, or they won’t take you seriously. If you stick together, you have power.”
My mind’s blown at the thought of Joey settling down and becoming a suburban dad, and I'm not the only one shaken about this news.
Nope. He's Joey forever.
— Walds (@ralphrealisan) August 20, 2017
Couldn't see anyone else playing that role except for the guy that has it! He's great in that role.
— LS Craig Thomas (@ls_ia_craigt72) August 20, 2017
However, I think it's adorable that LeBlanc was still able to help the Modern Family cast that way.