Friends star Lisa Kudrow spoke about the lack of diversity on the famed NBC sitcom, saying that the show’s creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman had ‘no business writing stories about the experiences of being a person of color’ when considering their backgrounds.
The 59-year-old actress spoke about the topic in a story with The Daily Beast Wednesday, more than two years after she said the series lacked representation amid its 10 seasons.
Kudrow, who played Phoebe Buffay on the comedy from 1994-2004, said Crane and Kauffman produced content that they knew about from their personal lives.
The latest: Friends star Lisa Kudrow, 59, spoke about the lack of diversity on the famed NBC sitcom, saying that the show’s creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman had ‘no business writing stories about the experiences of being a person of color’ when considering their backgrounds. The star was snapped this past March in LA
‘I feel like it was a show created by two people who went to Brandeis and wrote about their lives after college,’ Kudrow said. ‘And for shows especially, when it’s going to be a comedy that’s character-driven, you write what you know.
‘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?”‘
Kudrow previously said in a May 2020 interview with the Sunday Times that if there were a current incarnation of the series, ‘It would not be an all-white cast, for sure’ adding that the show ‘should be looked at as a time capsule, not for what they did wrong.’
Kauffman, 65, told the Los Angeles Times in June that she was focused on incorporating diversity into her work moving forward.
Friends executive producer Kevin Bright and creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane were snapped at a 2019 event in NYC in support of the series
The popular series, which starred (L-R) Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox and Matt LeBlanc, ran from 1994-2004
‘I want to make sure from now on in every production I do that I am conscious in hiring people of color and actively pursue young writers of color,’ she said. ‘I want to know I will act differently from now on. And then I will feel unburdened.’
She said that it initially ‘was difficult and frustrating’ to hear criticism of the series over the show’s lack of representation.
Kauffman said that in an effort to right the wrong, she made a $4 million donation to Brandeis University in creating the Marta F. Kauffman ’78 Professorship in African and African American Studies. It is aimed to ‘support a distinguished scholar with a concentration in the study of the peoples and cultures of Africa and the African diaspora.’
Kudrow said of Friends, ‘I feel like it was a show created by two people who went to Brandeis and wrote about their lives after college.’ She was pictured in June in LA
Kauffman earlier this year made a $4 million donation to Brandeis University in creating the Marta F. Kauffman ’78 Professorship in African and African American Studies
Kauffman said that the 2020 murder of George Floyd was a turning point in her awareness of systemic racism and how the popular series might have played into it.
‘It was after what happened to George Floyd that I began to wrestle with my having bought into systemic racism in ways I was never aware of,’ Kauffman told the paper. ‘That was really the moment that I began to examine the ways I had participated. I knew then I needed to course-correct.’
The series starred a principal cast of white actors Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer. Among the performers of color who made appearances on the series included Aisha Tyler, Gabrielle Union, Lauren Tom, Craig Robinson and Mark Consuelos.
Kauffman said that she has ‘learned a lot in the last 20 years’ and is ’embarrassed [she] didn’t know better 25 years ago.’
She noted, ‘Admitting and accepting guilt is not easy. It’s painful looking at yourself in the mirror.’