''Friends'' gets an African-American love interest. Former ''Talk Soup'' host Aisha Tyler will date both Ross and Joey

By Gary Susman
February 25, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST
Aisha Tyler: Shark Pictures/ZUMA Press/NewsCom
  • TV Show

”Friends” has taken some heat in the past for presenting the whitest version of New York this side of a Woody Allen movie. A month ago, there were reports that producers were trying to remedy that by seeking a woman of color to join the cast for a few episodes. Now they’ve found her, according to Variety. It’s Aisha Tyler, the statuesque (6-foot) comic actress and former host of ”Talk Soup” and ”The Fifth Wheel.”

Tyler, last seen playing Mother Nature in ”The Santa Clause 2,” will play a paleontologist who dates both Ross and Joey. (The one previous time ”Friends” had an African-American love interest — Gabrielle Union, who appeared in a single episode during the 2000-01 season — Ross and Joey also had to share her.) Tyler will join the show for several episodes near the end of the season, starting on the April 24 broadcast. It’s not clear how many episodes she’ll appear in, or if she’ll be returning next season.

Tyler has another ”Friends” connection: She’s currently shooting the indie drama ”Never Die Alone” with Courteney Cox’s husband David Arquette and DMX. Hey, Union is in DMX’s current movie, ”Cradle 2 the Grave,” opening this weekend. Maybe ”Friends” should hire DMX as a casting director.