Lisa Kudrow has spoken publicly about the lack of diversity in the 1990s American sitcom Friends, saying that the creators had ‘no business’ writing stories about being a person of colour.
In an interview with Daily Beast, the actress best known for her role as Phoebe Buffay in the cult classic shared her views on why there was not more diversity in the show.
The 59-year-old has previously spoken out about the issue in 2020 ,when she acknowledged that if the show had been made today, “it would not be an all-white cast”.
Kudrow’s latest interview saw her addressing how the creators of the show, David Krane and Martha Kauffman had written the show from their own experiences.
Last month, co-creator Martha Kauffman apologised for the lack of black leads in the show and pledged $4 million to her alma mater.
The donation to Brandeis University aims to create an endowed professorship within the university’s African and African American studies department.
Lisa Kudrow was asked about the donation and how she felt about the lack of diversity on the show, telling Daily Beast: “Well I feel like it was a show created by two people who went to Brandeis and wrote about their lives after college.
“And for the shows, especially when it’s going to be a comedy that’s character driven, you write what you know.
“They have no business writing stories about the experiences of being a person of colour. I think at that time, the big problem that I was seeing was, “Where’s the apprenticeship?”
Friends is a globally adored 1990s television sitcom, with episodes still frequently broadcasted on UK television.
Kudrow, who plays the quirky Phoebe Buffay, stars alongside Jennifer Anniston, Courtney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer.
Co-create Martha Kauffman said she felt “embarrassed” and “guilty” over the lack of diversity in the show.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times earlier this year, Kauffman said: “I want to make sure from now on in every production I do that I am conscious in hiring people of colour and actively pursue young writers of colour.
“I want to know I will act differently from now on. And then I will feel unburdened.”
Kauffman also spoke recently at a virtual interview at the ATX Television festival where she added: “I wish I knew then what I knew today, I would have made very different decisions.
“I didn’t do enough. Now all I can think about is what can I do, and what can I do differently.
“How can I run my show in a new way? That’s something I wish I knew when I started show running.”
All six actors returned for a reunion show in 2021, with Kudrow praising the longevity of the show in her Daily Beast interview on the fact the cast got on so well.