'White Lotus' Star Jennifer Coolidge Reveals Why Her Time on 'Friends' Was “Intimidating”

·2 min read
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images


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With three decades in Hollywood, Jennifer Coolidge has starred in dozens of popular shows and movies, including Seinfeld, A Night at the Roxbury, Legally Blonde and Sex and the City. But according to The White Lotus actress — who recently won Best Supporting Actress at the 2022 Emmy Awards alongside her co-star Sydney Sweeney — not every role was as fun as it appeared onscreen.

Over its iconic run, Friends featured guest stars like Reese Witherspoon, George Clooney and Jennifer herself. In the season 10 episode “The One With Ross’s Tan,” she played Monica (Courteney Cox) and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow)’s acquaintance Amanda Buffamonteezi. As it turns out, the character used to live in the building but she moved to the U.K. and picked up a fake British accent. When she comes back to town though, Monica and Phoebe aren’t excited to hear from her. After a failed attempt “to cut her out,” Amanda proves to be a lively spirit with her forward comments and dance moves.

Years after her role on Friends, which originally aired in October 2003, Jennifer revealed that although "everyone was very friendly," there was a "seriousness" on set.

Photo credit: Amy Sussman - Getty Images
Photo credit: Amy Sussman - Getty Images

Speaking with Metro in August 2019, Jennifer opened up about feeling out of place. She previously met actress Lisa Kudrow through their work in the L.A. improv and sketch comedy troupe the Groundlings.

“I was kind of intimidated, even though I knew Lisa because she was in a comedy group. But I didn't know the rest of them,” the Emmy winner told the outlet. “I was very intimidated because they were all so attractive and had it going on."

During her time on Friends, Jennifer took note that there was no room for her to improvise her lines or scenes. "Sometimes I think people want to hear my ad-libs when I get on a show, and they really don't,” she continued. “Sometimes I come in and throw some lines, and they come up and say, 'You know, Jennifer, we're just going to stick to the script.' That was a serious show.”

“The vibe was pretty serious," Jennifer added. "I don’t think they wanted my input, and I could really feel that … sticking to their own stuff. So I didn’t have the guts [to push]."

Still, she did find an instance where she could be more silly. "The only thing I improvised was they wanted me to dance awkwardly, so I felt like I had a natural ability to dance that way,” she told the newspaper. “I think that was the only time they didn’t give me direction; they wanted me to say the lines and call it a day."

But The White Lotus star concluded: “When you’re on their shows sometimes there is a seriousness where you think, ‘I’m just going to do my little part, and I’ll be in my dressing room.'"

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