Lisa Kudrow Says After ‘Friends’ Ended ‘Part of Me Died’

Friends fans have a little something to tide them over until HBO Max can produce its reunion show. The reunion special was supposed to premiere at the launch of the streaming service on May 27. However, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic halted productions, so they were not able to shoot it before the lockdown. Variety was able to get Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow together though.

L-R: Matthew Perry, Courteney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow | NBC/Getty Images

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Kudrow and Aniston spoke with each other for Variety’s Actors on Actors series. They mainly talked about their recent shows, like Aniston’s The Morning Show and Kudrow’s Space Force, but they asked each other some questions about Friends too.

‘Friends’ was Lisa Kudrow’s longest job

Friends ran 10 seasons from 1994 – 2004. She recurred on Mad About You as Phoebe Buffay’s twin sister Ursula, and had done guest appearances on shows like Cheers, Newhart, Life Goes On and Coach.

Friends weddings
L-R: Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox | Gary Null/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

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Since Friends, Kudrow did one season of The Comeback on HBO, and another season nine years later. She has done six seasons of Web Therapy and guested on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Grace and Frankie, Scandal, Angie Tribeca and Bojack Horseman. She has also appeared in the Neighbors films, Booksmart, The Girl on the Train, Table 19 and more. 

Did ‘Friends’ ruin Lisa Kudrow for television?

Kudrow told Aniston that she is reluctant to take another lead role in an ensemble like Friends. She prefers playing a recurring role like on Space Force or guest starring on someone else’s show.

I like being the guest family member for the time,” Kudrow said. “When I’m producing my own thing, that’s different, but I have a commitment issue since Friends, to be honest with you.”

Lisa Kudrow never really got over ‘Friends’

A decade of one’s life is a significant time to be playing one role, with the same ensemble cast. When it ended, Kudrow never completely recovered.

Lisa Kudrow
Lisa Kudrow | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

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“It’s not like, ‘Oh, it was such hard work for 10 years,’” Kudrow said. “It’s not that. It was that I know that show worked because we all committed to each other too. It wasn’t just committing to a role, committing to a contract. We all still love each other. Our cast is like that, and that’s why that worked. I think part of me died. I can’t do that again.”

Creating ‘The Comeback’ and ‘Web Therapy’ were healing

Kudrow joined Friends as an actor for hire in David Crane and Marta Kaufman’s show. When she created her own shows, she felt a little better about starting something new again. It still wasn’t the same though. 

Lisa Kudrow and Jennifer Aniston
L-R: Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow | Gary Null/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

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“When I’ve created something myself — which I have only two shows that I’ve done that with — then I feel like it’s OK,” Kudrow said. “Because I have all the people around, and that makes it OK. Maybe I’m just becoming a f*cking nut as I grow older. That’s possible.”

Aniston enjoyed Kudrow’s reasoning. 

I love it,” Aniston said. “I just love your brain. It may be my happy place.”