Lisa Kudrow has commented on the lack of diversity on sitcom Friends, which she co-starred in from 1994 to 2004, saying the show’s white creators had “no business” writing stories about people of colour.
Speaking to The Daily Beast, Kudrow was asked how she felt about the show’s lack of POC representation.
“Well, I feel like it was a show created by two people who went to Brandeis and wrote about their lives after college. And for shows especially, when it’s going to be a comedy that’s character-driven, you write what you know,” she said.
“They [creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane] have no business writing stories about the experiences of being a person of colour. I think at that time, the big problem that I was seeing was, ‘Where’s the apprenticeship?’”
It’s not the first time the actress has commented on the show’s lack of diversity, saying in 2020 that it’d be “completely different” if Friends was remade today. “Well, it would not be an all-white cast, for sure,” she said, adding: “it should be looked at as a time capsule.”
Her latest comments come after Friends co-creator Kauffman recently donated $4million to create a fund supporting scholars studying African and African American Studies at Brandeis University. Announcing the fund in June, Kauffman — who also co-created Grace and Frankie — told the Los Angeles Times that she was “embarrassed” by not understanding criticisms of the show in the past.
“I’ve learned a lot in the last 20 years,” she told the Times. “Admitting and accepting guilt is not easy. It’s painful looking at yourself in the mirror.”
In 2021, Kauffman, Crane and executive producer and director Kevin Bright said they “didn’t intend to have an all-white cast”, with Kauffman saying: “Back then, there was no conscious decision. We saw people of every race, religion, colour. These were the six people we cast.”
She also said in 2020 that she “didn’t do enough” to promote diversity on the show. “I wish I knew then what I know today,” she said during an appearance at ATX TV Festival. “Sorry, I just wish I knew then what I know now. I would’ve made very different decisions.”