Lisa Kudrow is best known for her role as Phoebe Buffay on the iconic show Friends, but she had a chance to be on a different hit show but was fired. While Friends served as her breakout role, and ultimately the one that sky-rocketed her to instant fame, her early casting on Frasier may have done the same had it not been for her early departure. Now with a Primetime Emmy Award and two Screen Actors Guild Awards, Kudrow does not need to look back with regret.
Friends was a massive sitcom success and Kudrow’s character is recognized as one of the greatest female characters to ever hit American television, along with her other cast members. Starting out in improv and sketch comedy, it was only a matter of time before she would be launched into the international spotlight and forever be known as Phoebe. While this role was certainly something great for her career, she may have taken a different path had she not been fired from Frasier.
Why She Got Let Go
Casting the character of Roz Doyle was a difficult decision for the show’s casting directors. With no real specific character idea in mind, they brought in a host of actresses and began the process of elimination. After Kelsey Grammar read with a few of them, the choices came down to Kudrow and Peri Gilpin. Kudrow stood out and was chosen to play the part.
Unfortunately for Kudrow, an actor’s worst nightmare became her reality and the producers began having second thoughts about the casting decision. Roz is the producer of Frasier’s radio show and while the chemistry with the scenes at home were strong and filled with great tension, the scenes at the radio station fell flat and there was really no conflict. Kudrow was funny and charming, but there would have been no room to play with real tension given her comedic style. The decision was final and Gilpin would replace Kudrow as Roz.
Fears on ‘Friends’
Although she took the news fairly well, Kudrow must have been incredibly disappointed with this decision. But what would come would change her life forever? She would be cast as Phoebe in the same year she was fired from Frasier. But her fears were only just beginning, for every time she would read or perform, it felt as though she was on the chopping block. In the end, Kudrow and the cast of Friends would remain the closest of friends and look out for each other for ten seasons until the iconic sitcom ran its course.
Kudrow Came Out Just Fine
Despite being fired from one hit show, fate would have it that she land on an even bigger one. Her post-Friends life has seen her in films like Easy A, Happy Endings, and both Neighbors and Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. Her latest role is in the Netflix comedy Space Force and while she continues to thrive and have an illustrious acting career, her early struggles are good to remember as she stays grounded and working in a very difficult industry.