Why the guest stars of the TV series “Friends” were afraid to be on the show

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During the decade of the series, among the guest stars of “Friends” were the biggest names in Hollywood, but, reportedly, many of them were afraid to appear in the series. Over the ten years of its existence, “Friends” has received critical acclaim, receiving a total of 62 Emmy Award nominations. It was also a cultural phenomenon and trendsetter who filled the mid-90s and early 2000s with matching dresses, “Rachel” cutouts and phrases such as “friendzone”. “Friends” was television gold, but one important element of the series terrified even the brightest guest stars of “Friends”.

When “Friends” aired on September 22, 1994, it premiered after the NBC series “Crazy about You” and before “Seinfeld”. “Friends,” sandwiched between two popular series with established fan bases who liked to watch New Yorkers become New Yorkers, instantly became a hit. Among the guest stars of the first season of “Friends” for newcomers were George Clooney, Noah Wyle and Jennifer Grey. From that moment on, the Friends train only picked up speed thanks to such megastars as Tom Selleck, Julia Roberts, Charlie Sheen, Isabella Rossellini, Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal and Charlton Heston, who appeared in the show until the turn of the century. . Over the past four years, the guest stars of Friends have also included Susan Sarandon, Bruce Willis, Denise Richards, Winona Ryder, Brad Pitt, Freddie Prinze Jr., Selma Blair, Jeff Goldblum, Greg Kinnear, Danny DeVito and Dakota Fanning. several.

However, despite the status of many guest stars on the big screen, “Friends” actress Jennifer Aniston recently told Sebastian Stan of “Pam and Tommy” (via Variety) that most of the series’ guests are “scared” of being on the show. The actress claims that the live audience of the sitcom scared the box office actors — Stan readily agreed that it would scare him. And although viewers almost do not notice the frequent laughter and reaction of the audience of the series, it is quite logical that actors who are not used to a live audience will find this experience frightening.

A live audience in the studio is really a separate environment. Unlike actors with a theater education who are accustomed to the spectator environment, shooting with a live audience in the studio means playing for the camera and the crowd. Similarly, film actors are used to shooting in a closed environment where the camera is the viewer. Adding a live audience means that the actors experience an immediate audience reaction — good and bad.

The audience scared not only the guest stars of “Friends”. Matthew Perry, who played Chandler in Friends, admitted (via the Independent) that he was terrified too: “I felt like I was going to die if they didn’t laugh… not get the laugh I was supposed to get. I would have freaked out.”

In addition to Perry’s opinion, it goes without saying that it would be difficult for film actors to adjust the reaction time of the audience naturally in their game. Another difficulty may be to stay in character despite the reaction of the public. Given the incalculable variables associated with a live audience, this makes all the guest appearances in “Friends” even more impressive.