Friends is a worldwide phenomenon, with fans who are just as devoted today as they were in the 1990s, 18 years after the show ended. Thanks to syndication and streaming, the public has virtually unlimited access to the show. And can thus recite entire episodes from memory. This fact makes it almost impossible to believe that the iconic actors themselves struggled to remember the dialogue, as Courteney Cox admitted during a taping of the hit NBC sitcom. When asked about a prank, Matt LeBlanc played on her.
On The Graham Norton Show, Courteney Cox, who played Monica Gellar on Friends. Admitted that she didn’t always know her lines. Her co-stars were well aware of her antics, and Matt LeBlanc, who played her next-door neighbor Joey Tribbiani, took advantage of this knowledge to play a practical joke on her on set. (To be fair, the actors didn’t have the luxury of watching every episode 2,500 times like some of us, so don’t judge me; I know I’m not alone.) As a result, Cox devised strategies to overcome the obstacle.
On Friends, remembering my lines wasn’t always easy for me. I wasn’t always as well-prepared as I should have been. Sometimes the writers would give you new scripts on the spot or just before [a taping]. So I’d hang my lines in the fruit bowl, sometimes in the sink, and occasionally in the fruit bowl. I’d just be sitting there, pretending to wash and reading a couple of pages. I once had an extensive statement to make, which I referred to as a paragraph… And Matt LeBlanc didn’t tell me — obviously; it was a prank on me. Because I had no idea, he took the piece of paper I had in the fruit bowl.
Monica was known for cleaning, so Courteney Cox went over to the sink. Or adjusting the fruit in the bowl would be entirely in character. Now I’m tempted to go back and look for any hidden scripts! The playfully shady Scream actress was unprepared for her lengthy speech on the day in question.
And the fact that she had a lot to say that day is likely why Matt LeBlanc struck when he did. Whatever she said, regardless of what was written on the page, seemed to work.
When the Friends cast reunited for the HBO Max special. That, sir, is an excellent prank. Courteney Cox also revealed that she didn’t know about the trick until 2021. Cox has stated that she, Matt LeBlanc, and their other co-stars — Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, and Matthew Perry — are unlikely to reunite again. But perhaps they should. Because I’m sure the actors have more stories to tell about how much fun they had onset during the show’s decade-long run.