Matt LeBlanc had $11 in the bank when he landed Friends


Actors love to tell you how broke they were before they landed their big break. Even though I know it turns out okay, because it’s always a very successful actor telling the story, it really stresses me out to hear about getting down to double digits in their bank accounts. I know I’m supposed to be inspired but I just get flashbacks. The latest rags to riches story is Matt LeBlanc, who is starring in his fourth sitcom, Man with a Plan and comfortably sitting on top of Friends money now. Before he booked Friends, he was broke. Matt told Conan O’Brien that he was down to $11 in his bank account when he got his big break.

You know when you think, ‘I’ve got a little money in the bank, I can hold out until the next gig?’ I had, I think, I was down to $11. Now that’s holding out too long. Because even if I’d said, at that point, alright, I’m going to go get like a waiter job, by the time that $11 ran out would have been before the first paycheck on the job. I would have starved

I appreciate that Matt points out how lucky he was. As he mentions, if he hadn’t booked Friends, the money wouldn’t have lasted to his first paycheck. This is where I get stressed out. Even if he had waited tables, the first week is usually a training period and the trainer gets the tips. We hear these stories from people like Matt who got their break, but what about those who didn’t?

Matt had to economize on his way up as well. A lot of outlets are talking about this story of Matt doing his own dental work. He said that when he went to get his headshot, the photographer noticed he had one tooth longer than the other. He suggested Matt fix it before he took the photo. But Matt balked at the price the dentist gave him and ended up filing the tooth himself:

So, I look up a dentist, no insurance, I go to see the guy and he says, ‘yeah, I can file that for you. It will be about 80 bucks.’ I go, ‘80 bucks? What?’ I go, ‘What are you going to do?’ He goes, ‘I’ll just file it.’ I go, ‘let me see the file.’ So he shows it to me and I go, ah, forget it. I’m not worried about it.’ So I went to the drugstore and bought, like a three-pack of emery boards and (makes filing motion)

Matt went on to say the photographer told Matt the dentist had done a good job. For those that watched Friends, this reminds me of the episode in which Joey had a hernia and needed to book a job to renew his SAG insurance so he could afford treatment for it. It was funny but also close to the truth for some struggling actors. And just to be clear, nobody should do their own dental work or any other work, even if it’s just cosmetic. Disclaimer aside, if I had $11 in my account and I have to choose between a hamburger and a snaggle tooth? I’d totally file my own tooth with an emery board.




Photo credit: WENN Photo and YouTube

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26 Responses to “Matt LeBlanc had $11 in the bank when he landed Friends”

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  1. Lucy2 says:

    You spelled hamberder wrong. 🙂

    I can’t imagine getting down to that little money before looking for a job! He lucked out.
    I liked Episodes, but the commercials for Matt’s new show don’t appeal to me.

    • jan90067 says:

      Man With a Plan is actually pretty funny. At least it was the last few seasons. Last night’s return was not. But I like Matt (and I LOVED Episodes! Anything with Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig!!! And John Pankow! They all had great chemistry, and it was a really funny show!)

  2. Elena says:

    Save your money people! I will never be wealthy but I don’t want to have to choose between food or medical care. I put $100 away every month

    • Muffy says:

      That’s great for you, but $100 a month isn’t happening for a lot of people.

    • Slowsnow says:

      Good for you. Have an extra $100 to spare? So I can follow your advice… 😉
      I know you mean well but many people don’t have enough to save.

      • Elena says:

        It is not easy. I had school debt. 🙁 There are ways to find an extra $10 here and there.

        I don’t go out to eat often, I don’t buy coffee like I used to, and I don’t buy clothes often. We have not been on a vacation since 2016, but I had to dig myself out of my own (self-created) hole.

    • Brittney says:

      Do you seriously think everyone has an extra $100 every month?

    • Bebe says:

      So tone-deaf. Do you know how many people can barely pay for food and rent?

      • Elena says:

        Bebe, I’m sorry. I don’t want to come across as tone-deaf. I live a pretty minimal lifestyle to save money.

      • PhillyGal says:

        Elena – Good for you to be able to save.
        Bebe – Really??? Elena never criticized anyone. She just told her story and told people to save. She meant no harm. Leave her alone.

    • Lala11_7 says:

      If your work wages don’t pay you enough to cover your basic living expenses…it doesn’t matter how minimal of a lifestyle you’re living…you won’t be able to save…because you never make enough in the first place…THAT is the reality of far too many people in this country due to almost 40 years of wage stagnation…robbing Peter to pay Paul…and then ignoring Paul as you sort of pay off Peter…it’s exhausting…and it’s soul destroying…and it wrecks havoc on your health…that you will ignore…because who can afford the thousands you have to spend out of pocket…

      • PhillyGal says:

        The fact that many companies don’t pay living wages to employees AND don’t offer raises to at least cover the increase in the cost of living, is both immoral and dispicable. However, it must be mentioned that there are also people who could save some if they were willing to forego immediate gratification, and choose not to. I know a number of families who make choices like constantly eating out, or buying stuff they don’t need, and then freak out when they have an unexpected expense like an auto repair. There are all kinds of people and situations out there.

    • Mash says:

      Im fortunate to be able to put a grand or a grand and a half away a month.

      i was evicted and lost a job and the eviction held up my security clearance for a future job, had to take a former employer to court for lost wages—all this happening 2013-2015 kicking off with the gov shutdown in 2013— as a contractor that ISH WAS ROUGH. Car engine died and just broke —so depressed

      anyways when i got back to a super high income …i was like fck this noise im saving like im dying. if i make over six figures i live like i make 40,000 a year. Scrimping and saving my azz off, taking no trips and a whole list of other boring stuff. Thrifting, never buying myself nice things, doing my own hair, free gym at the job, ramen noodles for lunch sometimes, repurposing ish, getting a rescue dog instead of a breeder customized dog like my colleagues.

      I bought a house but hey its a small city house and furnished with eclectic goodwill salvation army ish (LOL) and bought a basic factory version car super cheap on gas, but I mostly using public transit.

      i mention all this because Matt’s story and these comments hopefully continue a discussion on frugality and hardships that are real discussion —- like filing your own tooth, and whatnot in hopes for whatever job. I meant (even if exaggerated) somebody is going through it and needs to talk about it.

    • thaliasghost says:

      @Elena: You ARE seriously not thinking beyond your own experiences though. I’m writing this from a very old pc at home and wifi is a necessity without which I wouldn’t be employable and that is pretty much the only luxury I have. I work full time, I work additionally as often as I have opportunities and collect recycle bottles during the weekend.

      Let me see:

      – I never buy coffee to go or ANYTHING else to go like water whatsoever and have never done that. If I’m hungry or thirsty, that can wait until I am home.
      – I never go out to eat. When I meet up with friends I straight up say that I don’t have money, we hang out at home and go for walks. That is my one activity for entertainment.
      – I need to dress nice for work, I buy ALL 8except for underwear) my clothes at the flea market and have done so for the last 15 years. Very rarely I will buy something cheap from a sale. The second I am home from work, I change into literal rags, holes in them and all to protect my ‘good clothes’, I wear clothes until they fall apart. When my jeans is threadbare and starts getting the first holes in the crotch area, I wear that one in my private life, but not at work. I will, however, still wear it.
      – I am 34. I can count the number of “vacations” which involved leaving the outer city limits of the city I was born, raised in and still live on ONE hand.
      – I also work hard every day, most days longer than I am paid for, I work extra jobs and still I simply don’t have money to “stash away” just not getting an Iced Latte once in a while. Look beyond your own world and understand that your lens is limited.

      • Elena says:

        I’m sorry if I came across as rude. I understand everyone’s scenario is different and it’s not possible for everyone.

  3. Loopy says:

    They always exagerrate.

  4. Shrute’s beet farm says:

    He’s told this story (or something close to it) for years. I remember him saying his first purchase after getting Friends money was a hot meal. I couldn’t imagine being so broke. I would definitely have found some kind of work before things got so desperate.

  5. CatWomen says:

    He’s a pretty humble, nice guy (what do I know). Lol

  6. Rhys says:

    I still don’t understand how this works: I lived in LA and was going on auditions, trying out the acting thing. Unless someone else is paying your rent, I don’t know how people not have a real job (as Matt clearly states here it was to be his last resort, so he wasn’t working at the time) while they are pursuing acting? Rent is due every month and in the mid 00s just a room in a decent neighborhood in LA would have cost you minimum $700-800. That’s just a room and that’s before utilities, car payments and expenses, food, clothes, etc. The math never adds up when I hear these “lucky break!” stories.

    Actually, when I think of how much you have to juggle while trying to make it I see that people like Meghan Markle aren’t entirely self-made. If your parents help you out (as hers was filling up her gas tank and offered connections in the biz) you are already way ahead of many others.

    • Bella DuPont says:

      There just had to be a Meghan Markle dig in there.

      In a Matt Leblanc post.


    • Mash says:


      sans the MM reference (YOU TRIED IT). I think sometimes the math doesnt work because they may have had a benefactor either parents/family/ couch surfing or______ hooking honestly. I remember the guy who had that hit show HUNG on showtime/hbo or something. He said that he would go do to whatev blvd and “let” older men “buy” him dinner… come on I knew what he meant, and he was just the person who was honest. Imagine the amt of ppl in the industry that arent.

      Also coupled with the weird predatory nature of hollywood —- maybe Matt did some things. But it doesnt negate that he was sooooo damn broke he had to file his own tooth to get into his career i guess…. like what I’m saying is i can imagine its hard to reveal something (smh) but i still thing him and a lot of hollywood ppl came into the industry desperate and broke as FK

    • lucy2 says:

      Maybe he was staying with a friend for free, or had just paid his rent and that’s why he was down to $11?

    • Quietus says:

      I remember Ashley Greene, the girl from Twilight, saying she lived on credit cards until she got her big break. So maybe he had $11 in savings whilst living on credit card debt.

    • bek says:

      My understanding is that Meghan did work, she ran her own calligraphy business. Kind of like how I run a marketing business than brings in multiple 6 figures while I wait for my big break as an artist.