it wasn’t always called friends.
The show’s working titles were Insomnia Café, Friends Like Us, and Six of One, before everyone settled on Friends.
the credits weren’t shot in new york.
The opening was shot at Warner Bros. Studios in California. There’s a reason you’ve never been able to find the fountain on the East Coast.
no one was a real fan of the theme song.
According to Jennifer Aniston, “We felt it was a little…I don’t know…dancing in a pond? A fountain felt sort of odd.” She says the only reason they did it because they “were told to.”
before the pilot aired, the cast went to las vegas.
They dined at Spago inside Caesar’s Palace to enjoy their “last shot at anonymity.” The cast would return some six years later to shoot Mr. Rachel’s wedding to Mrs. Ross (and Joey’s movie fail, among other things).
courteney cox was just like monica irl.
In 1995, show cocreator Marta Kauffman told the Los Angeles Times that Cox had “the neatest” dressing room. In the same interview, Cox said, “Okay, I am a neat freak. Not about myself. I don’t use a lint brush or anything and I don’t iron, but I could easily pick lint off of someone else.” To quote Ross, “MONICAAA!”
friends was supposed to have just four friends.
Phoebe and Chandler were originally written as supporting roles. Can you even imagine?
monica and joey were supposed to get together.
According to Kauffman, the studio audience’s response to Monica and Chandler first getting together was so overwhelming, the show went in “a different direction.”
the names of all six friends were inspired by characters from all my children.
Chandler is for the Chandler family, Rachel’s last name is for Janet Green, Ross is for Ross Chandler (LOL), Monica is for Monique (Daisy Cortland), Joey is for Joseph “Joey” Martin, and Phoebe is for Phoebe Tyler Wallingford.
david schwimmer didn’t have to audition for ross.
As Kauffman explained in 2012, “Schwimmer had auditioned the year before for a pilot we were making, and he just stuck in our heads. That was an offer. No audition.”
phoebe was supposed to be goth.
Phoebe was originally pitched as a “goth girl,” which prompted Janeane Garofalo to turn down the role. “There is some truth to it, but not exactly that,” she later explained. “Long ago before Friends was Friends, when it was in its infancy, it was a show called Friends Like Us, and I was being considered for a role, like a goth girl, which I think morphed into Phoebe.”
gunther was a barista irl.
“I had a job at a coffee shop called The Bourgeois Pig in Hollywood, which is still around and one of the last independent coffee shops that hasn’t been taken over or whatnot,” James Michael Tyler told BuzzFeed in 2014. “I was one of their first baristas—I think I started there in 1990 or so.”
hank azaria auditioned for the role of joey.
Twice. It’s okay. He was destined to play David and go to Minsk for a really long time. (Maybe too long.)
jane lynch auditioned for phoebe.
So did Kathy Griffin. Obviously, we’re going to need to see those tapes now. (Jane eventually did appear on the show as a real estate agent in the final season.)
the identity of the actor who played ugly naked guy wasn’t revealed until 2016.
Thanks to a Huffington Post investigation. Memorize this name for your next trivia night: Jon Haugen. We applaud you.
paul rudd got the role of mike after a casting director wrote “dreamy” in her notes.
According to Leslie Litt, “We had a casting session for that role, but no one was quite it. Paul agreed to do a one-time meet and read with Lisa [Kudrow]. All I wrote on my notes was ‘dreamy’!”
there was an intervention for jennifer aniston’s tardiness.
“David did it. Very kindly,” Aniston later told Us Weekly. “The day my alarm didn’t ring.”
there’s a reason “the one where no one’s ready” takes place entirely in monica’s apartment.
Showrunners used a “bottle episode” format for this season 3 favorite due to budget restrictions, as it was later revealed in the 2005 special, Friends: Final Thoughts.
lisa kudrow hated the guitar at first.
In fact, she suggested that Phoebe play the bongos instead. (Thankfully, the guitar stuck.)
bruce willis guest starred on the show after losing a bet.
The bet was with Matthew Perry, his costar in The Whole Nine Yards (2000). Rumor has it that Bruce donated his money to charity. Either way, he will always be the neatest guy.
monica is actually older than ross irl.
Courteney Cox is two years older than David Schwimmer, despite playing his little sister.
the orange sofa in central perk was found in the basement of warner bros. studios.
You know what they say about one man’s trash becoming one of the most famous couches on TV.…
monica’s apartment number changed from 5 to 20.
(Top photo: season 1; bottom photo: season 10) The change was made after the writers realized an apartment with the number 5 did not denote a unit on a higher floor in New York City. Chandler and Joey’s apartment also changed from 4 to 19.
phoebe is actually not swearing while playing ms. pac-man.
“Oh! I don’t know if I was allowed to actually swear,” Lisa Kudrow revealed in a Reddit AMA. “We pre-shot that part, and I think I remember Kevin Bright, our executive producer, laughing and saying, ‘I know, but no one should even be able to read it on your lips.’”
ross lied about not liking ice cream.
Before he enjoyed a sweet treat with Elizabeth (“The One Where Ross Dates a Student”), Ross had ice cream with Marcel (“The One After the Superbowl”). Doesn’t look like your teeth are hurting in both cases, Ross.
for a long time, friends was not allowed to show even a condom wrapper during the 8 p.m. slot.
As cocreator David Crane told Vanity Fair in 2012, “The rules kept changing. For the first three years, we could say ‘penis.’ Then we couldn’t say ‘penis.’ Then we could say ‘penis’ again.” Added Kauffman: “They’re masturbating on Seinfeld and we can’t show a condom wrapper.” Warren Littlefield, then the president of NBC Entertainment, said he had a lot of battles with broadcast standards. “What could be more socially responsible than these characters practicing safe sex?”
the big white dog actually belonged to jennifer aniston.
“Pat the dog” was given to Aniston by a friend for good luck on the first day of shooting Friends.
lisa kudrow’s pregnancy was written into the show.
“Here’s what was difficult about having a child: When he visited the set, it was hard to be in character,” Kudrow later said. “Because I didn’t want him to ever experience me as anything OTHER than his mother.”
cole sprouse (ben) had a huge crush on jennifer aniston.
“I had a really, really hard time working with Aniston because I was so in love with her,” he told the New York Post in 2017. “I was infatuated. I was speechless—I’d get all bubbly and forget my lines and completely blank…It was so difficult.”
matt leblanc’s offscreen shoulder injury was written into the episode.
“Yeah, but get this,” he later told Glamour. “The audience was full of Diet Coke contest winners flown in from all over the country, and I did two scenes, popped my shoulder, and they had to cancel it. So they all got flown home and then flown back for another week. So it cost Coca-Cola a lot more than they anticipated. What are you going to do?”
marcel was actually played by two monkeys, monkey and katie.
The pair would go on to star in Bruce Almighty, 30 Rock, and other things. In 1995, Schwimmer told Entertainment Weekly that he actually hated the monkey. “The trainers won’t let me bond with it. They’re really, really possessive. It’s like, ‘Land on your marks, do your job, don’t touch or bond with the monkey.’ It’s a bummer.” AGREED.