Lisa Kudrow found it a struggle to play free-spirited Friends character Phoebe Buffay in the early years of the hit show.
Speaking on a recent episode of Kevin Nealon’s YouTube series, Hiking with Kevin, the 56-year-old actress recalled the difficulty she felt while playing Phoebe at the beginning of the NBC sitcom, which ran for ten years from 1994.
“I had played dumb girls (before) but it wasn’t really me,” Kudrow explained of her role. “I feel like, ‘s**t, I tricked them in 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.”
After three seasons of the show Kudrow admitted she was “struggling” with her portrayal of Phoebe but things changed after some no-nonsense advice from her co-star Matt LeBlanc.
“I remember Matt LeBlanc going, ‘What’s going on with you?'” she recalled. “And I said, ‘I don’t think I have it. I don’t know what I’m doing.’ And he went, ‘You’re her, relax, you got it.
“‘You’ve been doing this f**king character for three years. You’re working too hard, that’s your problem. You don’t need to work this hard, relax.’ He was right.”
Kudrow went on to surprise the comedian by admitting: “I haven’t seen the show”.
“You’ve never watched it?” the comedian asked. “You’ll wanna watch it.”
“I should, I hear it’s good,” she joked.
Despite her struggles, the actress was nominated for an Emmy six times for the role, winning the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series prize in 1998. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe in 1996.
Friends is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its premiere this month (September 2019).