Joseph Francis "Joey" Tribbiani, Jr. is a fictional character from the NBC sitcoms Friends and its spin-off Joey, portrayed by Matt LeBlanc.
Joey comes from an Italian American family of eight children. His father Joseph Tribbiani, Sr. (Robert Costanzo), after whom Joey is named, is a pipefitter and his mother's name is Gloria (Brenda Vaccaro). Joey has seven sisters: Mary Therese (Christina Ricci), Mary Angela (Holly Gagnier, with whom Chandler had sexual relations at Joey's birthday party), Dina (Marla Sokoloff), Gina (Drea de Matteo), Tina, Veronica, and Cookie (Alex Meneses). Joey is from, and was presumably born in Queens, New York. As a child, he was extremely accident prone. He also had an imaginary friend, Maurice, who was a space cowboy.
Joey is portrayed as promiscuous and dim-witted, but very loyal and protective of his friends. As a struggling actor, he is constantly looking for work. He was ordained as a minister in "The One with the Truth About London", and officiated at both Monica and Chandler and Phoebe and Mike's weddings. It is revealed in The One After "I Do" that Joey has size seven feet, which he is secretive and defensive about. He also has a soft toy penguin named Hugsy (his "bedtime penguin pal"), whom he is very fond of and does not like to share. He also doesn't like sharing food and has difficulty with simple mathematics (evidenced by his using a calculator to add together 500+500). In sports, Joey likes the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, and briefly the New York Mets in baseball, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks in basketball, New York Giants and New York Jets in football, and the Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers in hockey.
Joey is characterized as a simple-minded but good-natured womanizer who loves food. He particularly loves meatball sub sandwiches. When asked if he would give up sex or food he had trouble deciding and kept blurting out sex or food, eventually yelling "I want girls on bread!". In The One with the Ride Along, he appears to be saving Ross from a putative gunshot, when it was actually his meatball sandwich that he was trying to save; it just happened to be next to Ross. He also loves the "Joey Special" — two pizzas. He is something of an idiot savant in general, but capable of good ideas when the situation arises; this is alluded to in the episode "The One Where Ross Dates a Student", when Chandler, referring to Joey, says "A hot girl's at stake and suddenly he's Rain Man" when Joey suggested Ross work out who among his students called him the 'hottie of the paleontology department' by comparing the handwriting of the note to the handwriting in the class essays. In another example, Joey made up an anecdote referred to as the "Europe story" or the "magic story"; apparently, anyone who hears it will immediately want to have sex with the teller. This was proven to be effective in "The One With the Videotape", when it was discovered that Rachel successfully used the story on Ross (although, as Ross was aware of the story beforehand, the mere fact of Rachel using it would have been enough to imply that she was hitting on him). He is also clever at other times, for example, in "The One With Ross’s Teeth", while the other five friends sat around at Central Perk pondering why their bosses don't like them, it was Joey who pointed out, "Maybe it's because you're all sitting around here at 11:30 on a Wednesday."
Joey is extremely promiscuous with women, often relying on his catchphrase pickup line "How you doin'?". In "The One with Monica's Thunder", Chandler asks Joey, "You've had a lot of sex, right?", to which Joey replies, "Today? Some ... not a lot." He sleeps with many of the interns and extras on shows on which he works (Although he was prepared to decline an offer to have sex with a casting agent because he wanted to be cast for his acting skills rather than his sexual performance; his integrity prompted the agent to give him a bigger part than the one he originally auditioned for, but he still slept with her to get it). He has apparently been sexually active for a very long time; he undid a 16-year-old girl's bra when he was nine, slept with his teacher in the seventh grade, and had a wild spring break when he was 13. However, in the episode "The One with Ross's Sandwich", Chandler and Monica attempted to cover up their fling by claiming Joey was a sex addict, and Joey was outraged at the accusation. He is very charming to all women but can never seem to get into a committed relationship - judging from a conversation he had with Chandler at the latter's bachelor party he seems to regard marriage as depressing and restrictive.
Despite his unintelligent nature, Joey is repeatedly shown as a caring and kindhearted person. He let Rachel live with him when she was fighting with Ross, financially supported Monica and Chandler, and helped Phoebe find work when she was unemployed. He was willing to marry Phoebe and Rachel on the separate occasions he found out that each was pregnant. Joey is also the most physically powerful of the group, being able to easily push Ross over a couch with only one hand, and offering to go to the coffee house to intimidate two bullies into leaving Ross and Chandler alone.
He is also shown to be something of a Stephen King fan, stating he reads The Shining over and over again, as well as being a fan of a film adaptation of one of his novels, Cujo. He also became a fan of the classic novel, Little Women after Rachel asked him to read it to see if it was better than The Shining. Joey grew to love the novel and became grief-stricken when one of the main characters was dying. Despite this, later in the series Joey was inconsistently shown to be disdainful of reading.
Joey briefly mentions to the gang that Al Pacino is his idol. Joey has the poster for the 1983 Al Pacino film Scarface in his bedroom and the same poster is seen in his house in Joey. It is also implied that his (as well as Chandler's and Ross') favorite movies are among the Die Hard series.
Joey is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, having refused to become a pipefitter. Like a typical actor, he started his acting profession doing stage work, introduced in the show's pilot episode by Monica and Chandler having seen Joey in a remake of Pinocchio. Sometime prior to the start of the series, Joey also had appeared in a porn film, as a fully clothed extra. Joey also mentioned appearing in a play with trolls before getting the leading role of Sigmund Freud in the musical play Freud! where he was first spotted by his talent agent Estelle Leonard. She immediately got him a film role in the same episode as Al Pacino's "butt double" — a speechless role he later lost due to taking the part too seriously. Monica and Chandler also once discussed having seen Joey in a version of Macbeth.
As a struggling actor, Joey became an "actor-slash-model" when he appeared on print ads for the NYC Free Clinic, as a man named "Mario" who had Venereal disease. He also did an infomercial for a device that lets you pour milk out of milk cartons; he played "Kevin", a man who had extreme difficulty opening the cartons without the use of the device. ("Kevin" also inadvertently choked on a cookie during the show.)
In Season Two, Joey continued his stage work, appearing as "The King" in a poorly reviewed (and never-named) play. Published reviews of his performance claimed he was "disturbingly unskilled" and that he achieved "brilliant new levels of sucking" in a "mediocre play" with "mindless, adolescent direction".
Only days after these reviews came out, Joey got his big break when he landed his first major role as Dr. Drake Ramoray on the soap opera Days of our Lives. He had initially gone in to read for a one-shot role as a cabdriver; it is implied that he got the recurring role of Ramoray by sleeping with the casting director. While still playing Ramoray, he also appeared in a bit role as a dead man in the film Outbreak 2: The Virus Takes Manhattan, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Several episodes later in "The One Where Dr. Ramoray Dies", Joey costs himself the Days Of Our Lives gig when during an interview with Soap Opera Digest, he lies claiming that he makes up his own lines. This angers the show's writers, who out of spite, "kill off" his character by having Dr. Ramoray fall down an elevator shaft. Ironically, the character's brain was so smashed in that the only doctor who could have saved him was himself. Joey takes this very hard and admits that his role on Days "was the best thing that ever happened to me."
He went back to stage acting in Season Three appearing in a play called Boxing Day opposite love interest Kate Miller. The play, which is said to have been written by one Jennifer Banberry, seems to start out as a conventional drama, but ends with Joey's character "Victor" being taken from his apartment by aliens from the planet Blargon-7. In Season Four, he landed a small one-scene movie role as a cop, playing his scene opposite Charlton Heston.
Joey had some bad luck in terms of his acting career. In Season Five, he was cast in the independent film Shutter Speed, but it was shut down before filming began in Las Vegas. He was also fired from a Burger King commercial. He filmed a role in a Law & Order episode that was cut from the completed episode—Joey was only "seen" as a corpse in a body bag.
In seasons 6 & 7, he landed a starring role as Detective 'Mac' Machiavelli in a very short-lived, and very bad cop show called Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E, which was cancelled halfway through its first season. C.H.E.E.S.E, or Computerized Humanoid Electronically Enhanced Secret Enforcer, was Mac's robot partner.
Eventually, Joey's luck turns when he gets back his role as Dr. Drake Ramoray in Season Seven, first as a character in coma in Ep.7.04 "The One with Rachel's Assistant", then revived through a brain transplant with another character Jessica Lockhart, played by Susan Sarandon) in Ep.7.15 "The One With Joey's New Brain". This time he kept the soap opera role through the remainder of the shows run.
Joey was up for a starring role in a film in which he had to play a Catholic immigrant in season seven. The film called for a nude sex scene, but Joey didn't realize until after he landed a casting call that he lacked an essential piece of equipment for the role. When Joey explained the situation to Monica, they frantically tried to artificially create one using Silly putty. All seemed to go well until Joey stripped nude at the casting call and his 'foreskin' fell off, prompting him to respond, "Well, that's never happened before."
Later in season 7, Joey landed a supporting role as "Tony", a soldier, in a major film opposite an Oscar-nominated actor named Richard Crosby (Gary Oldman). The film was a World War I period film entitled Over There.
In the season's 10 episode "The One With Ross' Grant", it is revealed that Joey has starred in a commercial called "Ichiban Lip Stick For Men". The commercial only aired in Japan.
Joey was also briefly employed at Central Perk as a waiter. Facing a dry spell in his career as an actor, Joey was persuaded by Gunther, the manager, to take a job serving coffee. At first Joey tried to hide his new job from his friends, but they eventually figured it out. He did not like the work but, true to his nature, soon found a way to use his position to meet and ingratiate himself to attractive women by giving them free food, a practice to which Gunther quickly put a stop. Joey didn't take his job very seriously and spent a lot of his working hours sitting and talking to his friends. Eventually he was fired for closing the coffeehouse in the middle of the day to go to an audition while Gunther was running a personal errand. Rachel later persuaded Gunther to give Joey back his job, but once Joey found more steady acting jobs he eventually just stopped showing up. His absence was barely noticed. In a later episode, Joey realizes he forgot to tell Gunther he quit to which Gunther replied that he would have eventually fired him anyway.
Another one of Joey's jobs when he was low on money was as a sperm donor for an experiment that a hospital was conducting; at the end, the hospital would pay any donor $700. This was later mentioned when Monica was trying to get over her breakup with Richard Burke. She decided that she wanted a baby so she was looking for sperm donors and realized that one of the anonymous donors was Joey. Joey was later very offended when he learned that his sperm had not been very popular.
Some of Joey's other jobs have included selling Christmas trees, dressing as Santa Claus and as a Christmas elf, working as a tour guide at the Museum of Natural History where Ross worked, offering perfume samples to customers at a department store, and as a Roman warrior at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.
He also worked at the restaurant "Alessandro's" where Monica was head chef, nicknaming himself "Dragon" while on the job. Monica hired him just so she could fire him to intimidate the other employees who paid Monica no respect, but he made a lot of tips and backed out of the deal, only to realize how important his getting fired was to Monica. He then set himself up to be fired the next day.
He spent one episode working with Chandler as an entry-level processor. He treated the job like another acting role where he was "Joseph the Processing Guy" and created a complex back-story for the character. Chandler began to dislike the Joseph character when he started showing up Chandler while working. Joey eventually left after Chandler pretended to sleep with Joey's pretend wife and he realized that Chandler disliked the Joseph character.
Prior to Monica and Chandler's wedding, when the two admitted that they were having trouble finding someone to perform the ceremony, Joey volunteered for the role, subsequently getting himself ordained over the Internet to entitle him to perform the marriage. He has apparently retained this role until Season Ten, when he performed the ceremony for Phoebe and Mike's wedding, claiming that priests are allowed to ride the subway for free (Although he states that the Bible must be read very carefully to identify the passage that permits this).
He moved apartments four times in the series. The first time, he moved to his own lavish apartment away from Chandler (with whom the psychotic Eddie moved in) after he got the role as Dr. Drake Ramoray on Days of our Lives, though he moved back soon afterward due to his loss of the role. The other times were when he and Chandler moved into what is usually Monica's apartment, after winning it from her in a game in "The One with the Embryos". They were later forced back to their own apartment by the girls.
Joey was originally shunned by Chandler when he came in for a roommate interview, and Joey thought Chandler was gay. However, Mr. Heckles, another building resident, interfered with Chandler's originally selected roommate, allowing Joey to move in (In "The One with the Flashback" set in 1993, Joey moved in 3 years before although in "The One with All the Thanksgivings" it shows that the gang knew Joey was Chandler's roommate in 1992 and he would have been his roommate for quite some time). Joey's first couple of days involved a brief, mutual attraction with Monica. This subsided and Chandler and Joey began to grow close and become best friends, as Joey's carefree lifestyle began to grow on Chandler. Later in the series, they bought a chick and a duck together, whom Chandler had named Yasmine and Dick, respectively. A long-running gag depicted Joey and Chandler occasionally fighting with each other like an old married couple, with Chandler often assuming the wife's role—this eventually ended when Chandler became permanently paired with Monica. Joey moved out temporarily when he found success playing Dr. Drake Ramoray on a soap opera, but soon moved back in. At the end of the series, Chandler and Monica made it clear to Joey that their new house outside of the city would have a room for him.
Joey's relationships with the other friends have always been very friendly. He is best friends with Chandler, and Ross is a close second (although Ross has been referred to as his best friend several times). At a time when Joey and Chandler had problems, when Chandler had kissed Joey's girlfriend, Joey had stopped acting as Chandler's best friend and replaced him with Ross although this only lasted until Chandler spent Thanksgiving in a box in order to show his remorse and apology towards him. Joey and Chandler had remained best friends ever since.
Furthermore, Joey and Ross shared a moment in an episode after watching Die Hard all night. They fall asleep on Ross' couch, which is evidently enjoyed by Joey, as he tries to coerce Ross into more nap sessions with him. Also, earlier in the series, after much persuading by Joey, Ross gives in and kisses him to help him practice kissing men. In response, Joey replies that the audition was already over, he hadn't gotten the part, but the kiss was very well received.
The major development of their relationship outside the realm of normal male interaction was when Joey fell in love with Rachel, Ross's ex-girlfriend and the object of Ross's affections since ninth grade. When Joey goes on to tell Ross about it, he can't say it in his face and instead says that he loves his "friend's" ex-girlfriend. When asked if that "friend" (Ross) is a good guy, Joey honestly answers "Yeah... He's the best". Initially it causes a major rift, with Joey being apologetic, but when Ross sees Joey truly in love with Rachel he gives him the go ahead. Ross basically says that he's not okay with it but he wants to be, and the two's friendship deepens due to Joey's refusal to date Rachel unless Ross okays the deal. However, Joey and Rachel do not date long and later Joey encourages Ross to pursue Rachel in the season finale.
Joey allowed Monica to hire and fire him to prove to her employees that she was not a pushover. When he discovered that Monica and Chandler had developed a romantic relationship, he agreed to keep it secret until the two were ready to reveal it to the rest of their group. In an episode where he sees how close Chandler and Monica are, he dreams of himself and Monica in the same way. This later causes him to act weird around Monica. Finally he reveals this to Chandler and Monica, its that he wants a relationship like that, but Monica finds it nice thinking Joey thought of them two together. He also called Chandler moments after suspecting Monica of having an affair with a mystery male he had heard in her apartment. When Monica and Chandler needed their Engagement Picture taken, Chandler could not smile. In the newspaper announcement, it showed the photo was of Monica and Joey.
Rachel and the other women on the show have been the object of many sexist comments from Joey, especially Monica. Chandler once put it, "Your long-standing offer to have sex with my wife is much appreciated." This apparent boorishness notwithstanding, however, he always enjoyed a close relationship with Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe; LeBlanc once speculated that Joey saw the girls as sisters more than potential romantic interests. However, the tension between Monica and Joey is at times fairly obvious and it is made clear that the two have a very close, almost intimate, relationship, though it is never consummated on the show.
According to DVD commentary of the pilot episode, Joey and Monica were initially meant to be the principal love connection of the show but was overshadowed by the Ross-Rachel relationship. In Episode 1.07 "The One with the Blackout", Phoebe blurted to Joey that Monica has a crush on him when he was moving in with Chandler. This idea was revisited in Season 7 when it is revealed that Monica initially meant to hit on Joey in London, and not Chandler. She states that it was because she was looking for something meaningless, never expecting to have found Chandler and fall in love with him. The concept of what their marriage would have been like was then envisioned by Phoebe and it consisted of Monica cooking all the time for a very fat Joey.
Phoebe is Joey's female best friend. They appear to understand each other. They are the only members of the group who lack a college education. Joey is Phoebe's best male friend; they have dinner together once a month to talk about the rest of the group. Both characters show a softness for each other, even when joking or when they are upset with the others. In "The One with the Race Car Bed", it is implied that Phoebe can hear Joey's thoughts. In "The One With the Ride Along", she explains that "when the revolution comes, I will have to destroy you all...not you, Joey". In the episode "The One in Vegas", after Joey has said that no one will live in his hand shaped mansion, he adds "Except you Pheebs... You can live in the thumb."
When she was a surrogate mother for her brother's triplets and suddenly craved meat, Joey offered to eat no meat until the babies were born, to compensate for her consumption and, in a way, preserve her vegetarianism (no extra animals would have to be killed). In The One With All the Cheesecakes, it is shown that the two tried to meet once a month for dinner in order to discuss the other Friends. When Phoebe was upset because she'd turned thirty-one without having had the perfect kiss, Joey kissed her so that she could cross that off her list (also adding that he was one-sixteenth Portuguese when she mentioned that she hadn't met any Portuguese people).
Interestingly, Joey did not have romantic feelings for Phoebe. Joey dates Phoebe's twin sister Ursula, which upsets Phoebe. According to Joey, "Phoebe is Phoebe, Ursula is Hot".
When Monica finds out that Joey "sees a friend in a different way", she assumes it to be Phoebe. Phoebe, overwhelmed by the news, approaches Joey, only to find that it is Rachel. Phoebe also has Joey locked in as a backup for her marriage.
When the Friends believe that the group may have to split up, Phoebe and Rachel conspire to form a separate group by themselves, but Phoebe insists that Joey be invited to their new group as well. Phoebe's loyalty is proved again when she states that she could live in Las Vegas, since it has everything she needs, "Including Joey!". He, in turn, invites her to live with him in the mansion he expected to own when he becomes rich from having a hand twin.
When Joey learned from a customer at Central Perk that Phoebe was apparently a porn star, although he subsequently rented some of "Phoebe's" movies to reveal his latest news to the others, he refused to watch the movies even when the other four decided to do so, although he showed a new interest in them when he learned that it was actually Ursula rather than Phoebe.
In The One With the Red Sweater, when Joey believed Phoebe to be pregnant, he proposed, claiming the world is too scary for a single mother. This proposal was apparently made entirely without romantic intentions. Phoebe says yes and accepts his ring, but Monica tells Joey that it is Rachel who is pregnant, so Joey proposes to Rachel and must retrieve the ring from a reluctant Phoebe.
Phoebe also sets up Joey with many of her friends. On a double date, Joey sets her up with a stranger, Mike (Paul Rudd), whom she eventually marries.
In one episode, after persuasion from Rachel, he reads Little Women and she reads The Shining. She finds out that whenever he gets scared whilst reading he puts the book in the freezer. At the end of the episode, Joey is afraid that one of the characters is going to die and Rachel says 'Do you want to put it in the freezer?' Their close friendship continues and when a fire destroys Rachel and Phoebe's apartment, Rachel moves in with Joey and stays there, even after her apartment has been repaired.
Halfway through season 8, Joey and Rachel go out on a date, so that Rachel can have one night of fun before it becomes too obvious that she's pregnant. They have a great time, and afterwards, Joey starts developing feelings for Rachel unbeknown to her. He does not act on his feelings because he is too loyal to Ross and feels like it would betray him to have a possible relationship with Rachel. However, upon discovering that Joey's not just having a crush on Rachel, but is in fact in love with her, Ross encourages his friend to talk to her. Joey tells Rachel about his feelings, but she does not return them, and things are awkward between them for a while.
In late season 9, Rachel starts developing feelings for Joey, but fears he does not feel the same way anymore and has already moved on, especially when he starts dating Charlie. When the gang goes to Barbados for a convention from Ross' work, Joey finds out about Rachel's feelings, and even though he first says nothing can happen, he changes his mind when he sees Charlie and Ross kiss, and he goes back to Rachel's room to be with her. They continue their relationship for several episodes and gain Ross' approval after he realizes it's been six years since his relationship with Rachel ended, and he should move on from that. When Rachel and Joey prepare for their first night together, however, they realize they're too close as friends to make their relationship work, with Rachel instinctively slapping Joey away when he tries to touch her as she suddenly finds herself unable to get past the fact that it's Joey touching her. After Chandler mentions how natural it was for him and Monica to make the transition from friends to lovers, Joey and Rachel realize they aren't on the same path and go back to being friends.
After the 2003/2004 final season of Friends, Joey Tribbiani became the main character of Joey, a spin-off TV series, where he moved to L.A. to polish his acting career. His sister Gina Tribbiani and her son Michael (Paulo Costanzo) were two other central characters of the show.
On the show Joey, Joey turned down a role in a sitcom called Nurses to star in a different series pilot. His pilot did not get picked up, while Nurses became a huge hit.
However, his acting career has had some better moments. In Joey, it is revealed that Joey's character of Dr. Drake Ramoray died again on Days of our Lives when he falls down an elevator shaft ("Joey and the Wrong Name"). He won a Daytime Soap Award for "Best Death Scene". In later Joey episodes, Joey landed a starring role on the prime time soap Deep Powder. When he got fired from that job, he almost immediately bounced back by snagging a leading role in the big-budget action picture Captured.