After 236 episodes of being there for you on Friends, Lisa Kudrow will forever be synonymous with deeply dippy Phoebe Buffay.
But while it’s hard to imagine flighty Phoebe coping with the restraints of lockdown, the Emmy-winning actress says she’s enjoying her free time.
Lisa was initially at her second home in Palm Springs with husband Michael Stern, their son Julian, 22, and dog Emma. But she found the desert location too hot and headed back to the family’s main Los Angeles residence. It meant spending her 25th wedding anniversary on 27 May alone, but she says, “We’re so used to
not being together on our anniversary… We’re good.”
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That day was also earmarked for the much-hyped Friends reunion but, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the live TV special has now tentatively been pencilled in for autumn.
“I can’t wait for it to happen,” she says. “The six of us haven’t been in a room together in front of people in 25 years and only once a few years ago, privately for dinner… It’s gonna be fun.”
Here, Lisa, 56, who’s currently starring in Netflix comedy Space Force, chats about sexy accents, dating advice and why she’d love to watch Friends one day…
How are you coping with life in lockdown?
This really suits me. I talk to my dad about it a lot. He’s like, “I’m loving this isolation. How can anyone be bored?” I’m with my dad on this one. There’s so much to do, so much to read, so much to watch. I potter around and keep moving and exercising, then I do the cleaning, and the day goes so quickly.
What does your son Julian think of the phenomenon of Friends?
We don’t talk about it a lot. He’s been thrilled about certain things I’ve done, but he’s not a fan of mine and I don’t want him to be. I want him to be my son. He should hold me accountable for parental things. He’s unbelievably great. We lucked out. I try to advise him about girls, then I realise I probably don’t know what I’m talking about.
How much has motherhood changed you?
Motherhood changed everything. I remember thinking, “Nothing else is ever going to be as important as this. I get it.” The sad thing is, a lot of things stopped being funny. There are a lot of movies and TV shows I can’t watch any more. I can’t watch children getting hurt or doctor shows. Motherhood changed my sensitivity. But I loved The Crown. I went through that real fast.
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Your husband’s French. Did you raise Julian the American way or the European way?
It was a little of both. My husband is extremely French. Dinner time was not light and fun. It focused on manners and, “Don’t slurp your soup.” But it’s a great mix.
What attracted you to your husband?
The accent. That’s what’s seductive. He’s very attractive. We met in LA when he was dating my roommate. Six years later, we met again and started going out.
Why is now the right time for a Friends reunion show?
Because it’s time. It’s been time for a long while. Figuring out how we’d do it and what that would be took a lot of thinking, but it’s definitely going to happen.
Your character Phoebe wasn’t the brightest. Do people ever assume you’re similar?
Oh, yeah. It’s been great playing a dumb person because people talk much more freely when they assume you don’t understand them. It’s like driving kids to school – they think you’re just the back of a head, so they say everything, not knowing that you’re listening to every word. It’s the same when people think you’re dumb. I’ve learned a lot.
Do you ever watch repeats of Friends?
There are some episodes I’ve never seen. And I’m not the only one in the cast for
which this is true. Especially later on in the show when we all got really busy. I know it sounds crazy, but one day, I can’t wait to watch Friends.
Your new show is called Space Force. How much does outer space fascinate you?
Space is really interesting, but it’s also terrifying. It’s another realm I don’t belong in, like the ocean. If I can’t breathe there, I don’t want to go. As a kid I couldn’t think about it too much or I’d flip out.
Space Force is available on Netflix now
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