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