Friends Star Lisa Kudrow Explains Why She Found The Show's First Three Series A 'Struggle'

She played Phoebe Buffay in the hit 90s sitcom, which recently found a new audience on Netflix.

Friends actress Lisa Kudrow has admitted she really “struggled” with playing Phoebe in the first few years of the show.

Lisa played masseuse and amateur guitarist Phoebe Buffay for 10 years, and the character became one of the series’ most recognisable thanks to her unique take on the world, dark back story and songwriting abilities (who doesn’t still find themselves humming Smelly Cat from time to time?).

However, one person who apparently wasn’t immediately taken in by Phoebe was the actress who played her, admitting she had difficulty relating to her in the first few years of the show.

Lisa Kudrow
Lisa Kudrow
Paul Archuleta via Getty Images

Appearing in an episode of comedian Kevin Nealon’s YouTube series Hiking With Kevin, Lisa said: “I had played dumb girls [before Friends], sure. But it wasn’t really me.

“I feel like ‘shit, I tricked [the producers]’. At the audition, I was the only one who could cope with the audition process and that’s how I got it, I think. So I had to work hard at being Phoebe, you know.”

She went on to see that by her third year playing the character, she was “struggling so much”.

“Matt LeBlanc was like, ‘What’s going on with you?’ And I said, ‘I can’t, I don’t think I have it. I mean, I don’t know what I’m doing.’ And he went, ’You’re her, relax, you got it.

“‘You’ve been doing this fucking character for three years. You’re working too hard. That’s your problem. You don’t need to work this hard. Relax.’ And he was right.”

Lisa as Phoebe in the second series of Friends
Lisa as Phoebe in the second series of Friends
NBC via Getty Images

During the same interview, Lisa revealed that she’s also never watched an episode of Friends.

Apparently she’s in the minority, though, as the show was recently revealed to be the favourite programme of five-to-16-year-olds in the UK, despite most of them not even being alive while the show was on the air.

Friends garnered a new audience after debuting on Netflix, but this also led to a new level of scrutiny for the show, with many pointing out problematic aspects when it was viewed through a modern lens.

Watch Lisa’s entire interview below:

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