There was a conversation I had early on, when the show was just starting to take shape, and I remember standing back and being as objective as I could about Joey and thinking, This thing could go a long time. Does my character fit if it goes a long time? Because in the beginning I was hitting on the girls all the time.Strictly out of self-preservation, I went to Marta and David and said, “Can I ask you guys something? I have an idea.”They said, “Yeah, sure.”I said, “What if Joey hits on every girl in New York but these three? What if I’m like a big brother to these three?” Of course, I didn’t say, “Because I’m afraid that you’re going to run out of stories for me. I’m going to have to move out from across the hall.”We went in that direction, and then my guy fit in more. He became this sort of big brother to the group.
Vanity Fair has an extensive oral history of Friends, in which they talk to the folks responsible for the show about its entire life. They didn’t talk to the whole case — Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox and Matthew Perry are absent — but it’s a pretty fascinating look at one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. Here’s Matt LeBlanc on developing Joey as a character:If you’re a fan of the show, the entire thing is definitely worth checking out.