Lisa Kudrow says ‘Friends’ creators had ‘no business writing stories’ about people of color: ‘You write what you know’

Two years after saying her iconic show lacked diversity and in the wake of a $4 million mea culpa donation from one of its visionaries to make up for it, Lisa Kudrow says the creators of “Friends” had “no business writing stories” for people of color.

Kudrow, 59, played the quirky Phoebe Buffay on “Friends.” She recently sat down with the Daily Beast and discussed the show’s distinct lack of diversity over its 10-year run.

“Well, I feel like it was a show created by two people who went to Brandeis and wrote about their lives after college,” the comedian said. “And for 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 color,” Kudrow continued. “I think at that time, the big problem that I was seeing was, ‘Where’s the apprenticeship?'”

The comment comes in stark contrast to those of the sitcom’s co-creator, Marta Kauffman.

As BizPac Review reported in July, Kauffman, donated $4 million to her alma mater, Boston’s Brandeis University, to establish an endowed professorship in the school’s African and African American studies department. She then fell on the Sword of Wokeness and apologized to anyone who would listen for a slew of offenses committed on “Friends,” prior to her understanding of “internalized systemic racism.”


“It took me a long time to begin to understand how I internalized systemic racism,” Kauffman explained during a Brandeis Alumni interview. “I’ve been working really hard to become an ally, an anti-racist. And this seemed to me to be a way that I could participate in the conversation from a white woman’s perspective.”

“In this case, I’m finally, literally putting my money where my mouth is,” Kauffman said of her donation. “I feel I was finally able to make some difference in the conversation.”

But Kauffman didn’t only repent for perceived racism, she also atoned for misgendering Chandler Bing’s cross-dressing father, played on the show by Kathleen Turner.

“Pronouns were not yet something that I understood,” Kauffman told the BBC. “So we didn’t refer to that character as ‘she.’ That was a mistake.”

“We kept referring to her as Chandler’s father, even though Chandler’s father was trans,” she said.

To the Los Angeles Times, Kauffman vowed in June that she wouldn’t make those mistakes again.

“I feel I was finally able to make some difference in the conversation,” she said. “I have to say, after agreeing to this and when I stopped sweating, it didn’t unburden me, but it lifted me up. But until in my next production I can do it right, it isn’t over.”

“I want to make sure from now on in every production I do that I am conscious in hiring people of color and actively pursue young writers of color,” she continued. “I want to know I will act differently from now on. And then I will feel unburdened.”


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