June 30, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT


TV Show
Current Status
In Season
run date
Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer, Charles Thomas Allen, John Christopher Allen, Hank Azaria, Helen Baxendale, Paget Brewster, Eddie Cahill, Anna Faris, Cosimo Fusco, Adam Goldberg, Elliott Gould, Jessica Hecht, Mitchell Whitfield, Paul Rudd, Tom Selleck, Jane Sibbett, Cole Sprouse, Lauren Tom, Aisha Tyler, James Michael Tyler, Maggie Wheeler
guest performer
Jason Alexander, David Arquette, Billy Crystal, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Laura Dern, Jon Favreau, Sarah Ferguson, Teri Garr, Jennifer Grey, Helen Hunt, Chris Isaak, Jon Lovitz, Elle Macpherson, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Giovanni Ribisi, Denise Richards, Julia Roberts, Isabella Rossellini, Debra Jo Rupp, Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon, Jennifer Saunders, Charlie Sheen, Brooke Shields, Kathleen Turner, Gabrielle Union, Robin Williams, Bruce Willis, Reese Witherspoon, Steve Zahn

”Phoebe is not dumb,” Lisa Kudrow says quite firmly. ”She’s a nitwit, but she’s not dumb.” Kudrow should know: The 31-year-old Vassar grad plays Phoebe Buffay on Friends, the season’s breakout sitcom. ”I almost got into a fight with [NBC’s] Matt Lauer, who kept calling Phoebe dumb, but Phoebe knows about a lot of things, and she thinks of herself as an artist.”

If Kudrow first dented our collective consciousness as the dingbat waitress Ursula on Mad About You, her Phoebe is a more complex free spirit, hooked on addled folk-song writing and aromatherapy. ”I saw on the Internet that there’s a rock band somewhere that does nothing but covers of Phoebe’s songs,” Kudrow says delightedly. Indeed, cyberspace seems especially Friends-friendly these days. ”There are all these messages posted about us, especially the girls” — Kudrow plus Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox. ”Some of it’s kinda weird; like, there’s this whole section on the Net about a ‘Jennifer-Courteney sandwich.”’

Kudrow is a member of the Groundlings (the L.A. improvisation group that yielded Phil Hartman and Paul Reubens), and she’s known Conan O’Brien ”since the first day of my becoming an actress.” (They took an acting class together.) Last month, she married Michel Stern, a U.S.-based French adman. ”Seven years ago, I was rooming with a French girl, and she went with him for about six months,” says L.A. native Kudrow of her introduction to Stern. ”I thought he was so cute, so great; thirtysomething was on at the time, and I remember thinking, ‘Oh, my god, he’s a French Michael Steadman!’ But I’m a very good girl, and I would never let him know that I was attracted to him while he was going with my roommate. So six years later we saw each other at a picnic and we just smiled, and that was it — we’ve been together ever since.”

Does Kudrow have any thoughts about what her character’s going to do next season? ”Well, I do have one idea. I want Phoebe’s dead mother to come back and visit her in some way — I think Phoebe would probably think that was fun and perfectly normal.” Probably.

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