This ‘Friends’ Cameo by Two Mega Stars Wasn’t in the Original Script
Throughout the entire run of NBC’s Friends, plenty of celebrities guest-starred in a one-off episode or as a temporary recurring character. There are two big names, however, that no one could’ve suspected would ever appear on the sitcom. Reportedly, they were never even part of the script.
A lot of A-listers appeared on ‘Friends’
The Friends ensemble cast — Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, and Matthew Perry — definitely made the show what it remains today.
Still, the cameos added a little extra something to the episodes. Through 10 seasons, many faces have come and gone. Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, Christina Applegate, David Arquette, Julia Roberts, and Bruce Willis are just a few of Hollywood’s finest to grace the sound stage.
Other favorites include Susan Sarandon, Charlie Sheen, Danny DeVito, and Paul Rudd. Two big names appeared briefly during the intro to an episode for an interesting reason.
This ‘Friends’ cameo wasn’t planned
In 1997 — at the height of Friends fame — actor and comedian Robin Williams happened to be in the right place at the right time with pal and co-star of their new film, Father’s Day, Billy Crystal.
Williams played a man named Tomas, while Crystal played Tim. The two men, who are deep in a conversation, ask the six friends to make room on the infamous Central Perk couch in the season 3 episode.
Through the conversation, it’s revealed that Tim is sleeping with Tomas’ wife — and then the two men leave. Monica forgets what she was going to say before all of that, and then the credits and theme song roll in.
The entire scene, as many die-hard fans complained, didn’t fit the typical Friends aesthetic and felt oddly out-of-place despite the talents of Williams and Crystal.
The two got the last-minute gig because the two were working on a nearby set at the time. Screen Rant reported that they walked over and asked if they could appear. With no time to figure things out, Williams and Crystal were thrown into the opening then and there, ad-libbing their bit.
LeBlanc and Cox also ad-libbed their lines. Still, not everyone was a fan. According to a Reddit thread, a few viewers thought the cameo was misplaced; only there to promote their new movie and didn’t fit the Friends tone fans knew and loved.
“This is possibly my least favorite Friends celebrity cameo. The whole thing is very forced and awkward and is clearly only there in order for them to promote a movie they did. Robin Williams is great but this cameo is awful and unfunny,” one viewer commented.
“The whole scene probably would be funny on a sketch show, or something, but on Friends, it was just a pointless celebrity cameo. I don’t watch Friends to see Robin Williams or Billy Crystal, so I don’t need, nor want, these types of meaningless throwaway cameos,” another added.
“I think because I watched the episode when it originally aired, I remember all the promotion for the Father’s Day movie, and it clouds my enjoyment of the scene. I think I would have enjoyed their cameo more if I didn’t remember that,” another stated.
Whether you loved it or hated it, the episode is that much more important since the 2014 passing of Williams.
Crystal reflected on Williams four years after his death
Years after that sporadic cameo, a documentary — Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind — premiered.
“It’s gonna be four years in August and it just– it feels like a second ago, but I just hope that people will come and see this movie and understand a little bit more about the man and what made him this explosively funny genius,” Crystal said at the premiere via Entertainment Tonight.
“Well, you know, when they see somebody in a movie, or in a concert or in six minutes on a talk show or whatever, that’s what they get. And this film gets you behind that and lets you get to understand how that happened. You know, how that kind of mind was created.”
In regards to William’s mental health and death, Crystal preferred to keep it brief and respectful.
“You know, that’s really stuff I don’t talk about. Incredibly difficult times,” he said. “You know, friends trusting each other with the darkest of secrets that I’ll keep that way.”