Lisa Kudrow says ‘Friends’ didn’t have many people of colour because writers ‘had no business writing’ about those experiences

Fans are pointing out there’s a simple solution to that problem...
August 12, 2022 12:00 a.m. EST

It has been 18 years since Friends went off the air, and 28 years since it first aired, but that hasn’t stopped the Friends machine. It is more popular than ever, with the Friends reunion last year (stream now on Crave) knocking everyone’s socks off and becoming a trending topic and newsworthy event for weeks.

So it stands to reason that one-sixth of the gang, Lisa Kudrow, is still answering questions about Pheebs and her views on the longevity, success, and legacy of the show. In her latest interview, she was asked about the lack of diversity on the show, something that has been a criticism for years. Her response is raising eyebrows.

“Well, I feel like it was a show created by two people [David Krane and Marta Kauffman] who went to Brandeis and wrote about their lives after college,” she told The Daily Beast. “And for shows especially, when it’s going to be a comedy that’s character-driven, you write what you know.”

She added, “They 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?’”

This response comes on the heels of co-creator Marta Kauffman making a $4 million pledge to the African and African American studies department of Brandeis University, after feeling shame and embarrassment over Friends’ lack of diversity.

“I’ve learned a lot in the last 20 years,” Kauffman told The LA 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.”

Cast member David Schwimmer has also been vocal over the years about his wish for more diversity in the show, and claims to have pushed for more diversity with some of the women guest stars that his character Ross dated.

In 2020, he said, “It just felt wrong that there was not enough representation on the show,” and later added, “I really felt like Ross should date other people, women of all races.”

The character of Ross was one of the only characters to have a diverse guest star in his storyline, including the character Julie, played by Lauren Tom, and Aisha Tyler who played Charlie Wheeler.

Of course, fans of the hallowed 90s show are not reacting well to Kudrow's explanation as there is a simple solution to the problem: hire Black and POC writers.

For a show that was set entirely in New York City, it is a bit unlikely that all six characters would be white and only have white friends. Then again, there’s no way a chef and a waitress could ever afford a spacious two bedroom in the village either, so it seems like, despite how much we love the iconic show, Friends got a lot of things wrong.

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