This Is the ‘Friends’ Star Who Everybody Forgot Was on ‘Seinfeld,’ Too
When you start talking about Friends, it’s easy to forget that the actors and actresses who played Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Ross, and Joey ever did anything else. After all, they were synonymous with their iconic characters for so long that they’ll always be the Central Perk crew to fans.
Friends may have made its stars famous. But one of the show’s main cast members actually had a part on another hit sitcom that still has a cult following: Seinfeld. Ahead, find out who it was that guest-starred alongside Jerry.
Courteney Cox guest-starred on Seinfeld
Before Monica met Chandler, she had a brief fling with Jerry — sort of. Courteney Cox guest-starred on a 1994 episode of Seinfeld called “The Wife.” As IMDB summarizes it, “Jerry gets a permanent discount at his local dry cleaners after returning a locket he found in a jacket pocket. His new girlfriend Meryl also claims the discount, claiming to be Jerry’s wife. It all gets out of hand when Jerry’s Uncle Leo hears he’s married.” Courteney Cox got the role of Meryl. So during her time on the Seinfeld set, she played Jerry’s pretend-wife.
Zimbio reports that later, “Jerry eventually gets engaged (to Janeane Garofalo) during the show’s nine-season run, but the closest he ever came to being a husband was when he and Courteney Cox’s character pretended to be married for a dry cleaning discount.” The episode aired in 1994. And Cox stayed in the NBC with Friends, which premiered the same year as her guest spot on Seinfeld.
She seemed to like the atmosphere on Seinfeld
Courteney Cox seemed to learn from and appreciate the way the cast worked together on the set of Seinfeld. As Vanity Fair reports, the Friends cast decided from the beginning that they had each other’s backs. Lisa Kudrow recalls, “Courteney Cox was the best known of all of us, and she had done a guest star on Seinfeld. She said, ‘Listen, I just did a Seinfeld, and they all help each other. They say, “Try this,” and “This would be funny.”'”
Kudrow added that Cox added, “And she said, ‘You guys, feel free to tell me. If I could do anything funnier, I want to do it.’ There’s a code with actors. Actors don’t give each other notes under any circumstances. So she was giving us permission to give her notes, and we all agreed that that would be great. Why not?” Plus, according to Kudrow, Cox “also said, ‘Listen, you know, we all need to make this thing great.’ She just set the stage with: ‘I know I’m the one who’s been on TV, but this is all of us.’ She was the one who set that tone and made it a real group that way. And I thought that was a real turning point.”
The real-life Jerry Seinfeld seems bitter about Friends
When Courteney Cox went on to achieve major success on Friends, Jerry Seinfeld may or may not have been there to congratulate her. As The Hollywood Reporter notes, the comedian seems to have an “aversion to post-Seinfeld comedy series.” The reason why? When you watch those shows, at least according to Seinfeld, “so many seem to be lesser versions of Seinfeld.”
Seinfeld shared his opinion of Friends with The Hollywood Reporter. “We thought, ‘They wanna do our show with better-looking people. That’s what they’re doing here.’ And we thought, ‘That should work.'” And Friends isn’t the only sitcom that Seinfeld considers derivative of the show he developed with Larry David. The Big Bang Theory, for instance, is “sort of like Seinfeld with intellectually gifted characters,” The Hollywood Reporter notes.
He even accused Friends of ripping off Seinfeld
Jerry Seinfeld’s recent comments weren’t the first time he took aim at Friends. The New York Post reported back in 2003 that the comedian “implied that the creators of Friends stole their concept of a group of friends in New York City from his old show.”
During Seinfeld’s appearance on an episode of On the Record With Bob Costas, Costas asked Seinfeld if he thought that his show would have gotten the time it needed to succeed had it premiered in the early 2000s instead of in 1990. “Has Friends been on too?” Seinfeld asked Costas. “Yeah, Friends has been on,” Costas responded. “Really,” Seinfeld answered, “so they managed to steal it without seeing it!”
After the interview aired, Larry David weighed in, too. “He said that?” David asked when told about Seinfeld’s comments, Fox News reports. “He’s right. We all knew it. Just look at it — a group of friends in New York.”
Cox wasn’t the only future star to appear on Seinfeld before becoming famous
Courteney Cox isn’t the only big-name star who appeared on Seinfeld before becoming famous. As Mental Floss reports, “Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Michael Richards weren’t the only actors to get their break on the show about nothing.” Peter Krause played a white supremacist on the show before appearing on Six Feet Under and Parenthood. Jeremy Piven — now synonymous with Entourage — played an actor who auditioned for the role of George in “The Pilot.”
Lauren Graham got dumped by Jerry before going on to Gilmore Girls. Patton Oswalt played a video store clerk in his first-ever TV appearance. Sarah Silverman played Kramer’s girlfriend, Emily, before she had her own show. Debra Messing played Jerry’s date before starring in Will & Grace. The list goes on and on. Seinfeld had a pretty impressive cast of guest stars when you look back on it.
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