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Lisa Kudrow Gives Her Take on Friends' Lack of Diversity, Singles Out How Creators Could Have Improved

People logo People 8/15/2022 Glenn Garner

Lisa Kudrow smiling for the camera: Kurt Krieger/Corbis via Getty © Provided by People Kurt Krieger/Corbis via Getty

Lisa Kudrow is reflecting on Friends' shortcomings.

The Emmy winner, 59, commented on the hit NBC sitcom's lack of diversity and inclusion as she spoke to The Daily Beast about what it would take to revive the show, which ran for 10 seasons from 1994 to 2004.

"I think if there would ever be anything like that, if [creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane] ever signed off on anything like that, it would have to be a different cast at that age," she said. "I think it would need to be more current — and more diverse representation is not a bad idea, you know?"

Kudrow also offered an explanation for why none of the show's six main characters — played by herself, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry and Matt LeBlanc — were people of color.

Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry posing for a photo: Reisig & Taylor/Getty Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing (front l-r) Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green © Provided by People Reisig & Taylor/Getty Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing (front l-r) Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green

"Well, I feel like it was a show created by two people who went to Brandeis and wrote about their lives after college," she explained. "And for shows especially, when it's going to be a comedy that's character-driven, you write what you know."


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Kudrow added, "They have no business writing stories about the experiences of being a person of color. I think at that time, the big problem that I was seeing was, 'Where's the apprenticeship?'"

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Kauffman, 65, has previously expressed her regrets over the show's lack of diversity, explaining at the 2020 ATX TV festival that she "would've made very different decisions" if she made the show today. Last year, she said the all-white casting decision "was certainly not conscious."

Most recently, she pledged $4 million to the African and African American Studies department of Brandeis University in June to rectify the show's lack of inclusivity.

"I've learned a lot in the last 20 years," Kauffman told the Los Angeles Times. "Admitting and accepting guilt is not easy. It's painful looking at yourself in the mirror. I'm embarrassed that I didn't know better 25 years ago."

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