Matthew Perry strikes ironic note in "Mr. Sunshine"


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Matthew Perry's new TV comedy is called "Mr. Sunshine", but like a lot of things in the life of the former "Friends" star, the title is ironic.

"Mr. Sunshine", making its debut on the ABC television network on Wednesday, features Perry as a 40 year-old bachelor who is trying not to be a self-obsessed jerk.

It's a character that Perry, 41, who stars, co-writes and executive produces the show, says he knows well.

"Ben has just pretty much been thinking about himself his entire life, and he's whistling in the dark and thinks he's a happy guy, and learns...that the secret to being happy and maybe gaining some inner peace is to care about others," Perry said.

"I think I spent a great deal of my 20s certainly -- and the bulk of my 30s -- a little self-obsessed. And it was in changing that, in my own life, that I thought it would make an interesting character -- sort of watching the 9,000 mistakes a man like that will make trying to transition himself from being a selfish guy to a nice, normal person," he told reporters.

Farewell then, wisecracking, well-intentioned Chandler Bing -- the character for which Perry is still best known to "Friends" fans around the world in endless TV reruns.

And welcome Ben Donovan, manager of a California sports arena, who realizes -- as his friend-with-benefits dumps him on his 40th birthday -- that he doesn't really want to be alone and must change.

During the 10-year run of "Friends," Perry made two trips to rehab for addiction to alcohol and prescription painkillers, and in his career since the show ended, he has struggled to find the kind of success enjoyed by some of his co-stars.