Lisa Kudrow has quietly been one of the funniest women in Hollywood for 3 decades. Actually, she is one of the funniest *people* in Hollywood, period. In honor of Women’s History Month, Afterbuzz TV is highlighting the most talented, less acknowledged women in TV, and without a doubt Lisa Kudrow is one of them. Here are a few reasons why…
Most famously known as Phoebe Buffay from Friends, Kudrow cemented her place in the hearts of millions of people over 25 years ago. While her character’s backstory was anything but funny (her mother committed suicide, her step-dad went to prison, she was homeless by age 14), she managed to make everything hilarious. The other characters were written to be funny (Chandler as snarky, Rachel as spoiled, etc.), but Phoebe had to find the humor in the darkest situations. This challenge was beautifully met by her, as she was cast member who was the most trained in comedy.
Kudrow is notably an alumni of The Groundlings, one of the top improv programs in the country. Also, prior to Friends, Kudrow was in the hit show Mad About You playing the role of Ursula Buffay, who was later on shown to be the twin sister to Phoebe on Friends. Although both characters were played by Kudrow, they each had such distinct personalities and mannerisms that fans of Friends pined for Ursula episodes, even though they saw Kudrow as Phoebe every week.
After Friends was over, Kudrow was the cast member to take on the most critically acclaimed show, The Comeback. While this show was ahead of its time and didn’t get the viewership it deserved, it gained such a cult following that The Comeback literally did that… came back. In 2014, 9 years after the initial season, Kudrow graced our screens as Valerie Cherish again in what might be the single most underrated comedy of all time.
In between season one and two of The Comeback, Kudrow’s show Web Therapy ran for 6 seasons, meaning Kudrow never left our screens for long. Meanwhile, her tv guest spots flew under the radar, but everyone watching Grace & Frankie, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, or The Good Place were reminded just how freaking hysterical Kudrow Kudrow is.
credit: BuenaVista Pictures
It’s not just television though, Kudrow is a comedic genius on the big screen as well. During the run of Friends, Kudrow starred in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion alongside the brilliant Mira Sorvino. This comedy was not only hilarious, but it directly influenced future female comedies such as Mean Girls, and gave us cowboy Justin Theroux. I still can’t hear ‘Time After Time’ without thinking of that dance.
credit: Annapurna Pictures
She also lit up the screen in Analyze This (and That), Easy A, Neighbors (1 & 2), Long Shot, and most recently Booksmart. With movies of that caliber, it is clear Lisa Kudrow and her team know what they are doing and make smart choices about which movies and tv shows she will appear in. Even in supporting roles, such as a dean or a congresswoman, you cannot take your eyes off of Kudrow when she is on screen. She is truly captivating.
As a voice over actress as well, Kudrow shows us she’s capable of more than physical humor. Between Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, BoJack Horseman, King of the Hill, and that iconic episode of The Simpsons, Kudrow can make us laugh through live action and animation.
credit: Instagram/ Courteney Cox
Kudrow managed to stay out of the tabloids more than her Friends female co-stars. This probably was because she married an advertising exec 25 years ago instead of a celebrity and has one son and zero divorces. That isn’t a shot at Jen or Courtney (two of my other favorite celebs), it’s just the way Hollywood works. Because of this however, Kudrow has the most modest following on social media of the 3 (granted it’s still very large), and sometimes is left out of the conversation. That being said, her work clearly speaks for itself.
Lisa Kudrow teaches us that acting is a craft and training matters. She proves to be capable of both broad comedy and more deadpan humor, which is extremely rare. She knows how to make her cast mates shine and can find the funny in any situation. She is a 13x Emmy nominee, having won once for Friends. She has reinvented herself over the decades through her characters, and has never been afraid to mature into a different class of roles. Lisa Kudrow is a national treasure, and it’s time for her comedic genius to be recognized.
About The Author:
Roxy Striaris an actress, host, writer and producer living in sunny Los Angeles. You may recognize her from her work on Collider, ScreenJunkies, DC Movie News, and of course, AfterBuzz TV. She claims she is not Batman, but has anyone ever seen them in the same room?
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