20 Surprising Things That Happened On The Set Of Friends You Don't Know!

It was 1994 when  made its debut, and the world of television was introduced to a whole new level of comedic entertainment. True fans of the show will tell you that nothing like has been created since, nor will there ever be a show that can take its place in the future. This iconic sitcom forever changed the landscape of popular television with its well defined characters and well constructed storylines.

It truly seems as though the actors were born into their roles. Everything was so perfectly orchestrated that viewers were immersed in the show and everyone truly felt like they were part of the experience, not just spectators.

There’s a lot of interesting stuff that happened behind the scenes that not everyone was made aware of though. Let’s take a look at 20 Surprising Things That Happened On The Set Of .

20. The Show Wasn't Originally Titled "Friends"

This is definitely news to a lot of people! Shockingly, this show was pitched as “Insomnia Café” and Joey and Monica were supposed to be paired together as a couple. The name of this show ended up being changed a number of times. Suggested names were “Friends Like Us," “Across The Hall," and “Six Of One.

" Eeeek. It’s hard to think of this series as anything other than simply , and we’re glad this is the title they landed on!

19. Kathy Griffin & Jane Lynch Were In Talks To Play Phoebe

Much like the casting of any show, there were numerous auditions held for each character. Interestingly, Kathy Griffin and Jane Lynch both auditioned for the part of Phoebe, and actually became friends as a result of that audition process. They met on set while in competition for the role and have maintained a friendship since then! It’s so hard to imagine anyone other than Kudrow playing Phoebe.

18. The Producers Wanted To Cast Courteney Cox As Rachel – And She Refused!

Courteney Cox’s face was recognizable to many in the entertainment industry at the time of her audition. She was known for her numerous commercial roles and for her part in one of Bruce Springsteen’s music videos. She was asked to play the role of Rachel but she resisted and fought to play Monica instead, citing her desire to play the part of a “stronger” character.

17. David Schwimmer Had His Role Pretty Much Guaranteed

Many auditions were held for the role of Ross, and some pretty incredible people were part of the process, inclusive of Eric McCormack – best known as being “Will” from . However, this role was essentially pre-written for David Schwimmer. The writers had already established their desire for him to play this part and were gearing their writing accordingly. As it turns out, executive producer Kevin Bright had worked with Schwimmer before and had crafted this role for him.

16. The Opening Credits Weren't Even Shot In New York

There is so much good-‘ol-fashioned New York nostalgia that encompasses this show, right down to the opening credits of the Pulitzer Fountain in Central Park. Or, so we thought. Truth be told, the opening credits were shot in Burbank in a Warner Bros. parking lot. The set was made to mimic the infamous New York fountain, and it sure had us all fooled!

15. Lisa Kudrow Had No Idea How To Play A Guitar

When Lisa Kudrow was told that her character would play the guitar, she was not impressed. Even after enlisting the assistance of a music teacher, she was only able to pick up on a few basic chords before she got frustrated and called it quits. She even asked if her character could play the bongos, but was turned down. She used the simplest chords throughout the show and it worked out just fine!

14. An Episode Of Friends Would Take Roughly 5 Hours To Film

A live studio audience of about 300 people was present for the taping of every episode of . There were multiple takes required for each scene, and in order to make everything perfect, a solid 20 minutes was required to change sets in between each scene. The only episodes that were not filmed in front of a live audience were the cliffhangers. It would end up taking roughly 5 hours to successfully record each episode of this show.

13. They Banded Together To Negotiate Their Contracts – And Made History Doing It

Many cast members end up battling one another over money at some point during their careers, but not this group! They bonded and became real life friends who stuck by one another. When it came time to negotiate their contracts, the actors were all earning different salaries. They refused to work until they were all paid an equal salary of $100,000 per episode. Remaining united was a unique approach and created a more comfortable & amicable work environment for everyone. By the way, they ended up making over $1 million each – per episode!

12. Kudrow Was Already Playing “Ursula” On Mad About You – So The Role Was Blended In

The character of Ursula was already being played  by Lisa Kudrow on the show , and during this time Kudrow was also cast on . Kudrow took on both roles and the producers of  created a “twin sister” plot line. For a while, Kudrow doubled on and , being Ursula on one show and playing the roles of both Ursula and Phoebe on the other.

11. Monica’s Apartment Number Was Switched

Monica’s apartment number was originally #5, but as time passed and the cast started watching “ugly naked guy” from the window, it became apparent that the staircases in view were not aligned with where the cast lived inside the building.

The apartment number was changed to #20. Subsequently, Joey and Chandler’s was changed from #4 to #19.

10. Courteney Cox's Pregnancy Had To Be Concealed To Support Monica's Character Arc

When Courteney Cox became pregnant in real life, the producers were not able to write her pregnancy into the show. It had already been declared as impossible for Chandler and Monica to conceive, so a sudden pregnancy was not an option. Her pregnancy was hidden using props and costumes along with special lighting.

9. The Magna Doodle Became An Important Fixture

The Magna Doodle quickly became a way for the show’s producers and cast members to send messages to their viewers. It often depicted funny lines or jokes, and sometimes featured really cool drawings. For a long time after the 9/11 tragedy, it was the conveyer of heartfelt thank-you messages to first responders. It quickly became a permanent fixture on the set. Matt LeBlanc took the Magna Doodle home with him after the conclusion of the show.

8. The Cast Hated Working With Animals

It’s not always fun to work with animals, nor is it as easy as it looks. There are a few animals that found their way on to this show. Of course there was a duck, a chick, a monkey named Marcel, and at one point there was a hideous looking hairless cat. As it turns out, Kudrow was afraid of the duck, and Marcel wasn’t great at taking instructions. Talk about workplace distractions!

7. The Cast Maintained A “Huddle Ritual”

This is an adorable depiction of just how close these cast-members were. They were truly a group of friends who thoroughly enjoyed working together. Each week before filming began, the cast would get together for a group huddle. Schwimmer started the tradition and would always say “have a good show” as they all shared in an embrace before they took the stage.

6. There Was An Episode Where Everyone Was Billed As An “Arquette”

There was no shortage of real-life fun on this show. This group of actors were kind to one another and enjoyed some fun & games both on and off-set. After Courteney Cox married David Arquette, her name had to be changed in the credits. As a cute little token of “congrats," the other cast members asked for “Arquette” to be added to their names as the credits rolled. Adorable!

5. Friends Fame Nearly Caused Matt LeBlanc To Have A Nervous Breakdown

Fame is not always what it’s cracked up to be, and Matt LeBlanc can tell you all about that.

During an interview with  LeBlanc revealed that he spent years in hiding – yes, years! He barely left his house and stated that he was incredibly burnt out. He was exhausted from being photographed everywhere he went and from the demanding work schedule. He describes this as being “a very dark time” and admits to almost having a nervous breakdown.

4. Matthew Perry Was Hungover On Set – A Lot

Matthew Perry went through a rough patch during his time on the show. He checked into rehab for an addiction to prescription drugs and alcohol twice.

He tells  that he quickly became addicted to the prescription drugs he was given after a jet ski accident in 1997, and it was a downward spiral from there. He also stated that he was never high at work but definitely admitted to routinely being “painfully hungover” while on set.

3. Jennifer Aniston Nearly Refused To Shoot The Final Season

It definitely took some work to convince Jennifer Aniston to stay on for the final season of this show. She was at the top of her game and was seeing success from her roles in various movies.

At that time, she was also married to Brad Pitt and her schedule was jam-packed. She wanted to end the show on a high note and questioned how much more she could “do” with the character of Rachel. They somehow got her to agree for that final season thankfully!

2. Bruce Willis Lost A Bet With Perry – So His Appearance On The Show Was Unpaid!

While Matthew Perry and Bruce Willis were filming , they made a friendly bet about the success of that movie. Perry believed it would hit number one on its opening weekend and Willis strongly disagreed.

It definitely did hit number one, and as a result of losing the bet, Willis had to appear on  and donate his earnings to charity. It sounds like this was a win-win!

1. Gunther Accidentally Over-Bleached His Hair And Had To Keep Doing It For Years

In a hysterical interview with , James Michael Tyler admitted that he was helping a friend who was an aspiring hairdresser by allowing him to experiment on his hair. It ended up going wrong and it looked white – and just then the call came in for him to shoot the first season. He was originally hired as a consistent background actor so it didn’t seem like a big deal, but his role became a recurring one. He ended up bleaching his hair every week for 10 years to keep a consistent appearance for his role!

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