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Lisa Kudrow’s First ‘Friends’ Role Was, Surprise, Surprise, Not ‘Phoebe’
By Mikelle Leow, 12 Apr 2019
Image via IMDb
It’s been nearly 15 years since the final episode of television sitcom Friends went on air, but its stars are still unable to shake off their identities from the show. The show’s popularity has survived well into the mobile age, and is surprisingly still brought up in everyday conversations.
Most remember Lisa Kudrow for her role as the ditzy, New Age ‘Phoebe Buffay’. However, it turns out that she played another Friends character before becoming a mainstay of the series, as unearthed by a user from ‘r/howyoudoin’, a subreddit for fans of the iconic show.
The user, who goes by the handle ‘sheriw1965’, has shared a clipping from a television guide that shows Kudrow as… ‘Ursula Buffay’, whom fans recognize as the estranged twin sister of ‘Phoebe’.
In the snippet dated five weeks before Friends debuted, Kudrow is applauded for her performance as ‘Ursula’ in sitcom Mad About You.
In this edition, ‘Ursula’ was an “excruciatingly bad” waitress who frequently mixed up orders, served the wrong drinks, and forgot to pass utensils to diners. She was also styled in her iconic full-black attire and scrunchie.
In Friends, ‘Ursula’ was the less likeable one of the ‘Buffay’ twins, even going so far as to use her sister’s name as an alias when she took up a job in the porn industry.
A quick lookup by DesignTAXI on Kudrow’s IMDb profile confirms that Kudrow played ‘Ursula Buffay’ in Mad About You between the years of 1993 and 1999. ‘Phoebe’ would only make her debut in 1994.
Screenshot via IMDb
Addressing the longstanding crossover, the actress told the Television Academy Foundation in 2014 that she had to play two roles because of both shows’ consecutive time slots. Friends was airing on Thursday nights at 8:30pm, right after Mad About You at 8pm.
“Everyone realized we [needed] some explanation… why are they seeing the same girl with the same voice at 8pm and 8:30pm on two different shows?” Kudrow detailed.
[via Metro, images via various sources]
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