Lisa Kudrow Was Fired From This Iconic Show Right Before Booking "Friends"
She was nervous a director from both shows would come between her and the role of Phoebe.
Lisa Kudrow has earned tons of accolades in recent years for her performances on series like The Comeback and Web Therapy. But she'll likely always be best known for playing Phoebe Buffay on Friends. Before she earned the role of the sitcom's lovable weirdo, Kudrow was fired from another iconic show a few days into filming the first episode. And the situation almost cost her the role of Phoebe. To learn what show Kudrow was almost on and why she was fired, read on.
Lisa Kudrow was fired from Frasier three days into filming.
The three women leads from Friends, Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston, and Courteney Cox, were interviewed on Sirius XM's The Howard Stern Show on June 23. While on the air, they revealed a lot to host Howard Stern. One surprising fact? Kudrow was originally cast to star on Frasier in the role of Roz Doyle.
However, just three days into filming the pilot, director James Burrows fired her from the show. "I wasn't right for the part [or] for the chemistry of the group," explained Kudrow (via People). "So that wasn't working, but I did think, 'Oh, I am not this guy's cup of tea.'"
The director who fired Kudrow was part of the casting crew on Friends.
Soon after being fired from Frasier, Kudrow had to face Burrows again while auditioning for Friends. Kudrow told Stern that she was "the only one of the six of us who had to go in and audition" with Burrows, who was also directing episodes of Friends.
"I had one extra audition just for James Burrows. I did it, and he went, 'No notes,'" she recalled. "I left going, 'That either means she's beyond help and helpless, just like I always knew,' or 'Yeah, it's perfect. I have no notes.'" It seems Burrows felt Kudrow fit much better in the role of Phoebe, and of course, she went on to land the part. So we're guessing she was right with the second interpretation of his "no notes" comment.
Kudrow was nervous she'd be fired again on Friends.
Since Phoebe's character is a bit eccentric and somewhat of an outlier from the other five main characters on Friends, Kudrow said making their bond seem natural on the show didn't come easily. "Phoebe was not the character that was part of this group really, that easily. There was a struggle," she told Stern, which made her anxious at first. "Shooting the pilot that week, I was like, 'All right, here we go.'"
The actor has spoken about this before. In a 2012 Vanity Fair interview, she recalled feeling "terrified" during the first week of filming. According to Kudrow, Burrows asked of Phoebe, "Why are they friends with her? … We have to figure that out. She doesn't fit." Kudrow recalled, "I was like, 'Oh my god, here we go again.'" She was concerned that she'd eventually be cut from the show just like she was on Frasier. However, we all know Phoebe ended up melding well with the group in the long run.
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Stern said cutting Kudrow from Frasier was the right call.
Stern agreed with Burrows in that Kudrow was not well-suited for the role of Roz on Frasier, which ended up going to Peri Gilpin. The radio host told Kudrow that Burrows "wasn't wrong about Frasier" because she "wasn't right" for the character. The role of Phoebe allowed Kudrow to put her unique talents in the spotlight.