Since its television debut in 1994, Friends has become a cultural phenomenon. Die-hard fans have memorized lines from their favorite episodes out of the 10 seasons that the show lasted; people were influenced by Rachel’s hair and Chandler’s sarcastic humor, and even though it’s been 12 years since the last episode was made, people all around the world are still talking about the loved show even though we only have re-runs to view now.
What is interesting is that even though we felt like we knew the characters inside and out, how well do any of us know the actors? There are some weird facts about the cast that even hardcore Friends fans might not know, so here are 15 of them and please, let us know which one surprised you the most!
15. Lisa Didn’t Like Playing The Guitar
In Friends, Phoebe (played by Lisa Kudrow) sure had a passion for playing the guitar and singing songs about a smelly cat but in reality, Lisa wasn’t too fond of the guitar. She had guitar lessons but got fed up with it because she wasn’t getting the hang of it. At one point she even suggested that Phoebe play the bongos instead! It’s actually not that hard to imagine the Central Perk with its lights dimmed, and Phoebe hitting the bongos while reciting poetry. Eventually, she learned a couple of chords and decided that that would be the end of it. That explains why Phoebe played the same chords over and over again. We’re not complaining though, she sure gave us some memorable hits.
14. Lisa Was Afraid Of The Duck
Phoebe is a character who loves all creatures, from the rats in her cupboard to the cat that she believed was the reincarnation of her mother. Lisa Kudrow, however, was surprisingly afraid of Joey and Chandler’s pet duck which appeared in Season 3. She sure did a great job of looking comfortable around it, though! It just goes to show how much self control she has as an actress.
13. They Had Group Hugs Before Filming
It’s not unusual for sports teams to huddle together before a big game, but it seems a bit weird for a cast to do so before filming. We can’t really be too surprised that our favorite group of friends huddled together every week before filming began though. That’s exactly how we all imagined it would be (and that after the show they would all hang out at a coffee shop). Apparently, David Schwimmer was dreading the group huddle before the finale because he knew it would make him emotional. “I started to lose it in this ritual that we had before the show,” he revealed in an interview. Awww.
12. Character Switches
Picture this: Courteney Cox as a girly girl named Rachel and Jennifer Aniston as a neat freak named Monica. Weird, right? Thankfully, things didn’t end up that way, but it almost did! Courtney Cox was offered the role of Rachel Green in Friends, but after she read the script, she asked to play Monica instead. The reason? She thought that Monica’s character was very strong. The role suited her perfectly. Another weird thing that almost happened to the cast was that Jon Favreau (who played Monica’s boyfriend Pete) was supposed to play Chandler! Again, we’re thankful that he turned it down because no one plays an awkward, sarcastic friend better than Matthew Perry.
11. What Aniston Thought About Her Hair
When you reminisce about 90s beauty and fashion trends, there are a few that will always come to mind, including “The Rachel” haircut. Jennifer Aniston debuted the layered and highlighted cut in 1994 on Friends, and the haircut was so popular that every girl and her mom wanted to get it. So, it may come as quite the shock that she didn’t even like it, calling it “the ugliest haircut [she’s] ever seen.” What does Jen prefer? “Long, natural-looking beachy waves”, she told Glamour. “That feels most like me.”
10. One Cast Member Wasn’t Nominated For An Emmy
Friends has definitely made its mark on television history and it shows through the large fanbase and all the award nominations it’s received. In fact, Friends was nominated for 63 Primetime Emmy awards! All of the 6 main cast members have been nominated except Courtney Cox. She said in an interview, “When the first person [on Friends] was nominated for an Emmy, I think it was [David] Schwimmer, you’re so excited. Then the second person, [still] so excited. The only time I was like, “Whoa!” was [in 2001 when Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow] were both nominated and not me.” But, Courtney shouldn’t be too upset considering she’s had numerous box office hits and was nominated for a golden globe for her performance in Cougar Town.
In the first season, each of the 6 main cast members of Friends made $22,000 per episode. That’s not bad at all, but they wanted a raise. Typically, cast members would fight for higher salaries than their co-stars but what’s interesting is that this cast stood together and negotiated for an equal salary of $100,000 per episode. It was a first in TV history! By the final season, each of the main cast members were earning $1 million per episode! Things weren’t always so bright financially, though, especially for Matt Le Blanc. Apparently, when he first auditioned for the role of Joey, he only had $11 to his name! When the cast received their first paycheck, the first thing Courtney bought was a car, but the first thing that Matt bought was a hot meal.
8. There Was Almost No Rachel and Ross Storyline
Ross and Rachel were the ultimate TV couple. They had their fair share of break-ups followed by make-ups but at the end of the day, they were each other’s lobster (as Phoebe would say). Could you imagine Friends WITHOUT the Ross and Rachel romance? It almost was that way. Monica and Joey were actually supposed to be the main love interests! How weird! Thankfully, Aniston and Schwimmer had undeniable chemistry that led to the development of the Ross and Rachel storyline.
7. Similar To The Characters They Play
A lot of people go into acting so that they could escape from reality and be someone completely different, but not Matthew Perry and Courtney Cox (at least when it came to Friends). These two shared a lot in common with the characters they played. Matthew admitted to the producers that he was awkward around women and so they wrote him as a character who was, too. Like the wise-cracking Chandler, he’s also very funny in real life, hence the reason he was the only one out of the 6 that was allowed to sit with the writers. Courtney Cox was also similar to her super-organized character, Monica. In fact, she used to go so far as to clean the others’ dressing rooms. “Let’s face it, she’s adorable and intelligent and really together. She is Monica” show co-creator Marta Kauffman told the Los Angeles Times.
6. Courtney Has A Secret Stash
Another thing that Courtney and her character have in common? They both loved fine foods. In fact, Cox had a special place called “Courtney’s Candy Cabinet” on the Friends set. A Natural Living Today story from 1996 claimed Cox was known for eating junk food out of her stash called ‘Courtney’s Candy Cabinet.’” Butterfingers were one of her favorites. It’s amazing that with all of her snacking that she was and still is able to maintain such a stunning physique!
5. Matthew Perry’s Father Appeared in The Show
Matthew Perry’s father, John Bennett Perry, appeared in Friends, too. However, rather than playing Chandler’s father, he took on the role of Rachel’s boyfriend’s father. He appeared in the episode called “The One with Rachel’s New Dress,” when Rachel meets Joshua’s parents. John Bennett Perry also happened to be the Old Spice commercial guy in the 1970s.
4. Matthew Perry’s Bets
Why did Bruce Willis guest star on Friends? Was it the paycheck? Was it to garner more attention? No, it was because he lost a bet to Matthew Perry. On the set of The Whole Nine Yards, in which they appeared together, Perry bet Bruce Willis that the movie would be at the top of the box office in its opening week. Matthew won the bet and Bruce appeared on Friends, donating his paycheck from the appearance to charity. Like everyone else though, you win some and you lose some. Well, Perry lost a bet pretty badly to Courtney Cox one time and had to be her man slave for several weeks! That would have made for a hilarious episode of the show.
3. How James Michael Tyler Got The Part
One would think that to land a role in one of the hottest sitcoms on television, you’d have to be an outstanding actor with the resumé to boot. For James Michael Tyler (who plays Gunther on Friends), it was his ability to use an espresso machine that got him the part. One of the Assistant Directors knew that he worked as a barista at a coffee shop, so they asked him to come in. The actor also appeared in 33 episodes before saying his first line.
2. They Visited Vegas Before The Show Aired
Before the first episode of Friends aired, director James Burrows flew the 6 main cast members to Cesar’s Palace in Vegas to enjoy their last moments of anonymity. Since he had so much confidence that the show would become a huge hit, he told them, “Once the show comes on the air, you guys will never be able to go anywhere without being hounded.” Later, in Season 5, they would return to the same location for the episode where Ross and Rachel drunkenly get married.
1. They Have Rude Nicknames For Each Other
You probably all have interesting nicknames for your best friends (right?), so it shouldn’t be very surprising that the cast of Friends had nicknames for each other, too. What is a little weird is the actual nicknames they gave to each other. Matthew Perry let it slip that Matt was called Slamhole and David was called Nutsack.