Lisa Kudrow Reflects on ‘Friends,’ Pays Tribute to Matthew Perry, and Teases ‘Time Bandits’ Role

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Lisa Kudrow, renowned for her role as the eccentric Phoebe Buffay on the iconic NBC sitcom Friends, has recently opened up about her evolving relationship with the show and her late co-star Matthew Perry.

For years, Kudrow had refrained from watching reruns of Friends, fearing she might not appreciate her own performance. However, in a candid interview with The Hollywood Reporter to promote her upcoming Apple TV+ series Time Bandits, Kudrow revealed a change of heart, driven largely by a desire to honor Perry’s memory following his untimely death in October 2023 at age 54.

“Honestly, I wasn’t able to watch it because it’s too embarrassing to watch yourself. But if I make it about Matthew, then that’s OK,” Kudrow explained. “And it’s just celebrating how hilarious he was — and that is what I want to remember [about him].”

Friends, which debuted on Sept. 22, 1994, catapulted Kudrow, Perry, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer to global stardom as six friends navigating life in New York City. The series aired for 10 seasons and concluded with its 236th episode 20 years ago last month.

Reflecting on her recent viewings of the show, Kudrow expressed genuine amusement at the comedic talents of her former co-stars. “I’m laughing out loud, and everyone is hilarious,” she said. “I’m blown away by Courteney Cox. I’m blown away by Jen. Matthew, obviously, is just uniquely hilarious. No one ever knew that cadence or comedic rhythm before him. Matt LeBlanc is hilarious. And David Schwimmer, too. Sometimes I even laugh at what I’ve done.”

Despite her enjoyment, Kudrow admitted feeling a bit self-conscious about watching herself on screen. “At home, if anyone walks in the room and I’m watching Friends, that’s a horrible look, I think, don’t you?” she mused with a self-deprecating laugh.

One of the standout episodes for Kudrow remains “The One Where Everybody Finds Out,” where Phoebe hilariously discovers Chandler and Monica’s secret relationship. Recalling the behind-the-scenes antics, Kudrow shared how LeBlanc’s suggestion injected humor into the storyline. “It’s like, ‘We’ve got to come up with something to up the stakes.’ And I think it was him that went, ‘What if he just [imitates unbuttoning a shirt with one hand] … and the shirt flies open?’” she recounted with amusement.


The camaraderie and laughter among the Friends cast are what Kudrow cherishes most about her time on the show. “You’re just laughing all day long, basically, in between the scenes, because these are funny people,” she recalled fondly. “Especially someone like Matthew, whose goal was: How many laughs can I get in real life every day? So we were always laughing so hard, tears were flying out of our faces.”

Regarding Perry’s legacy, Kudrow expressed confidence that the world remembers him as he wished. “I think the world is remembering him the way he wanted to be remembered. I think that’s happening [already],” she reflected.

Looking ahead, Kudrow is set to star in Time Bandits, an Apple TV+ series adaptation of Terry Gilliam’s 1981 fantasy classic, alongside an ensemble cast. Her role as Penelope, a comedic leader among time-traveling thieves, continues her tradition of portraying endearing characters with a knack for humor and obliviousness.

Time Bandits premieres July 24 on Apple TV+, promising to showcase Kudrow’s comedic prowess in a new and imaginative setting. As she navigates her career post-Friends, Kudrow remains a beloved figure in entertainment, with fans eagerly anticipating her latest venture into the fantastical realms of time and space.

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