Joey Tribbiani’s Best Acting Roles That Aren’t Dr. Drake Ramoray
Joey Tribbiani’s acting career has been a smorgasbord of the bizarre. The career section of his Wikipedia page could easily lead with “best known for playing Dr. Drake Ramoray on Days of Our Lives,” then promptly mention how he famously got fired while playing Al Pacino’s butt. The Central Perk gang’s most juvenile character has done everything from Off-Broadway shows to war epics to Japanese commercials selling lipstick for men.
All of which is to say, we’ve put on our Critic Hats and taken a closer look at the roles he portrayed that were not Dr. Drake Ramoray and not as bad as that time he worked as a Gladiator in Las Vegas...
Guy Dying in ‘Outbreak 2’
When Ross and the gang visit Marcel the monkey on the capuchin’s first movie set, Joey manages to land a part as a guy on a gurney who is not having a great day. As Jean-Claude Van Damme says, “This man is dying,” Joey is supposed to make some kind of dying noise, but the actor — who would later fit right in with the soap opera crowd — kept overplaying his part, leading to his character going from Guy Dying to Guy Very Much Dead.
Cowboy Cologne Spritzer
Like so many struggling actors who came before (and after) him, Joey had to get a day job in Season Two to make ends meet, which here means being able to buy half a dozen sandwiches a day. He starts working as a cowboy cologne spritzer in a retail store, where he soon gets overshadowed by “The Hombre Man,” a guy who’s as territorial as an actual rancher. It’s not Joey’s finest character — he hardly passes for a cowboy with that clean shave — but we’ll give him props for doing a solid Western staredown.
Kevin in ‘The Milk Master 2000’ Infomercial
It’s hard to know just how much acting really went into Joey’s performance of Kevin, the guy who can’t open a carton of milk. For the most part, he looks like he’s genuinely perplexed as to how he’s supposed to get to the milk, although his line delivery sounds over-rehearsed. It doesn’t matter, though, because we’re pretty sure no one has gotten their big break by appearing in an infomercial. Get that money, Joe.
Victor in ‘Boxing Day’
Famous for starring in the strangest stage plays this side of Cats, Joey once played the role of Victor in Boxing Day, a drama directed by the most unhinged theater director this side of whoever probably chooses to direct something like Cats.
While Joey certainly doesn’t carry the play, he’s definitely not the worst part since the ending sees his character boarding a spaceship and turning into a cross between Earth’s savior and Peter Pan. His goodbye speech to Kate could also be deemed unprofessional, but hey, at least it had heart.
Sigmund Freud in ‘Freud!’
The writers clearly asked themselves, “What would be the worst, most unlikely character turned into a stage musical?” because Freud is most definitely the answer to that question. Joey’s German accent is hilarious, even though it renders some of his singing inaudible. Also, was Freud a good dancer? Because Joey sure isn’t. Then again, a Michael Flatley tap-dancing Freud would be too unsettling to watch.
Al Pacino’s Butt Double
One of the first episodes focused on Joey and his struggling acting career, “The One with the Butt,” gave us that marvelous plot where the aspiring actor lands his first big movie playing Pacino’s butt-double. Unfortunately, Joey’s ass-acting is a little too sophisticated, and he ends up getting fired and replaced by, and we’re just guessing here, someone who wasn’t too concerned over butt emoting.
Joseph the Processing Guy
Technically not an acting job, but the actor-slash-hustler got paid for the gig where he ended up playing a character, so we’re making it count. When Chandler gets Joey a job at his data processing firm because it’s nice having friends in mid places, Joey decides to play a character which, to be fair, was probably a good idea because it kept him from “How you doin’?” every female co-worker.
He changes his name quite dramatically to Joseph, a family man who has a loving wife named Karen and a bunch of kids he invents on a whim. Joseph is also the office backstabber who will throw his best buddy under the bus to cover for his own incompetence. The whole bit is hilarious, and kudos to Joey for committing to such a wholly unnecessary character, even though Joseph is simply a version of Joey all grown up.
Mac in ‘Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E.’
The delightfully quirky show might’ve been purposely poorly written, but it’s become one of those “so bad it’s good” properties because who wouldn’t watch a buddy cop comedy starring Joey as a detective and a ridiculous-looking robot as his sidekick? It’s a pity the show was canceled halfway through its first season because it might be the most chemistry Joey’s ever had with someone that’s not a soap actor.
‘Ichiban! Lipstick for Men’ Commercial
When Joey asks Chandler to show his commercial reel to Chandler’s new ad agency, Chandler lies about seeing it, and Joey knows it — because no universe exists in which the sarcastic friend would pass on the opportunity to mock Joey’s “Ichiban!” ad. It is simultaneously the most cringe and most wonderful Japanese commercial in television history. Moreover, it shows that Joey would do just about anything for a part, even when he knows his friends will give him endless grief about it.
A Soldier in a World War I Movie
By the end of Season Seven, Joey finally lands himself a part in a serious film called Over There, Private Tony, where he gets to act opposite famous fictional thespian Richard Crosby (Gary Oldman) as the two of them literally spit on each other like they graduated from the Daffy Duck School of Acting. The performance is more suited for the stage than film, and Joey at one point goes full Days of Our Lives, but one thing is certain: His annunciation is faultless.
Dr. Drake Ramoray But With Jessica Lockhart’s Brain
While Joey was hilariously sidelined when Days of Our Lives had to cast his evil twin brother, Stryker, he did get to play Dr. Drake Ramoray again, only this time with someone else’s brain in his body that somehow leads to him absorbing their personality. When Jessica Lockhart (Susan Sarandon) gets offed by her spoiled, bratty daughter on the show, Dr. Drake Ramoray becomes the recipient of Lockhart’s brain, only to turn into the woman who couldn’t stop slapping everybody.
Approaching this from an objective point-of-view, we cannot fault Joey’s performance in the scene below, and it’s no wonder he got nominated for a Soapie Award soon thereafter. Dr. Drake Ramoray as Jessica Lockhart is a character as dramatic as they come, and his delivery is nothing short of captivating. No notes. Practically flawless.