After watching the highly anticipated Friends Reunion last week and seeing some of the many faces to have made cameo appearances in the show, it got me thinking about some of my favourite cameos across the shows ten series. Check out my top 10 cameos below – note, as these are cameos, I’ve only included actors who appeared in a handful of episodes, rather than recurring roles across the series, hence the likes of Paul Rudd and Tom Selleck are not included.
10. Hugh Laurie
Hugh Laurie makes a brief cameo appearance during “The One With Ross’ Wedding, Part 2”, when he is sat next to Rachel onboard the flight to London playing the role of ‘The Gentleman on the Plane’. Onboard the flight, Rachel begins to bore her fellow passengers to death with talk about Ross, only for Hugh Laurie’s character to tell her that it was very clear her and Ross were definitely “on a break”! His character only has a handful of lines, but the whole scenario just works brilliantly.
9. Robin Williams and Billy Crystal
Right at the beginning of “The One With The Ultimate Fighting Champion”, the gang are sat in the coffee shop with Monica telling a story about her current boyfriend, Pete. She is swiftly interrupted by two gentlemen named Tomas and Tim (played by Robin Williams and Billy Crystal respectively), who begin their own conversation about Tomas’ suspicions that his wife is sleeping with another man.
Again, this is another super brief cameo, but what makes this cameo even more entertaining is the fact that Robin Williams and Billy Crystal’s appearance weren’t even in the original script! They were working nearby and were asked if they wanted to make a guest appearance, so they were quickly thrown into the mix and improvised all their lines!
8. Jeff Goldblum
In ‘The One With The Mugging’, Joey gets an audition for a stage play directed by the legendary Leonard Hayes, played by Jeff Goldblum. Joey famously needs to pee at his auditions, making his performances jumpy and intense, much to the delight of Leonard Hayes. The character Jeff Goldblum plays is very authentic and he even gives Joey some philosophical advice for his call-back audition in a very Jeff Goldblum manner; “don’t be afraid to explore the vertical”.
7. Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon plays one of Rachel’s two sisters, Jill Green. I was surprised to learn that Reese Witherspoon actually only appeared in two episodes throughout the entire show! In that short space of time however, she certainly makes an impact as she ends up dating Ross to spite Rachel. Reese Witherspoon’s performance of Jill is brilliant and her persona of Rachel’s youngest sister is fitting for the Green family.
6. Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt famously made a cameo appearance in Friends as Will Colbert, Ross and Monica’s former overweight friend from high school. Having gotten into great shape after high school, Will goes to Monica and Chandler’s for Thanksgiving in “The One With The Rumor”. It doesn’t take long for Will to reveal his longstanding hatred towards Rachel. A war of words unfolds with the gang finding out Ross was a co-founder in an I-Hate-Rachel-Club along with Will.
What makes this episode and Brad Pitt’s cameo even more entertaining is the fact that Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were happily married in real life at the time of filming!
5. Julia Roberts
In “The One After The Superbowl, Part 2”, not only do we get a cameo from Jean-Claude Van Damme, but we also get a cameo appearance from Julia Roberts! Julia Roberts plays Susie Moss, a girl Chandler once bullied in grade school. After seducing a present-day Chandler and convincing him to wear her panties, she takes all his clothes and leaves him stranded in a restaurant bathroom! The unpredictability of her character and her vendetta towards Chandler make her cameos one of the most memorable!
Like Brad Pitt’s cameo, at the time the episode aired, Julia Roberts and Matthew Perry were actually in a relationship in real life!
4. Danny DeVito
In “The One Where The Stripper Cries”, Danny DeVito makes a hilarious cameo appearance as “Officer” Roy “Goodbody”, a stripper hired by Rachel and Monica for Phoebe. Despite giving it his all in his performance, he gets annoyed when Phoebe begins cringing following his performance. He soon gets upset and begins crying, before accepting that he is no longer physically attractive. Danny DeVito does what he does best and creates a frankly hilarious slapstick, comedy performance.
3. Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis stars in Friends as Paul Stevens, Rachel’s boyfriend and father to Elizabeth, Ross’ girlfriend. Initially, Paul is a closed-off, private man however when Rachel digs a little deeper, the floodgates begin to open and Paul becomes an emotional wreck. Seeing Bruce Willis play this emotional character is hilarious, particularly when he starts recounting stories from his childhood. Undoubtedly Bruce Willis’ best scene as Paul is when he is in his bedroom and begins to talk and sing exaggeratedly to himself in the mirror, revealing an egotistical side to him.
Coincidentally, Bruce Willis is of course the main star of the Die Hard series which happens to be the favourite film of Joey, Chandler and Ross.
2. Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin’s character Parker appears in two episodes in Season 8 as Phoebe’s larger than life boyfriend. Parker is a constantly energetic person with an absolutely comical habit of complimenting the most trivial things in over-the-top fashion! From complimenting brake lights on cars to admiring a ‘fantastically well light hallway’, the character of Parker is hard not to love and Alec Baldwin’s hilarious performance make the character one of my absolute favourites.
1. Ben Stiller
My all-time favourite cameo appearance throughout Friends’ 10 series has to be Ben Stiller’s cameo as Tommy, AKA “The Screamer”. Tommy is an aggressive bully who has a comical habit of screaming at the slightest irritation and appears in the fittingly titled episode “The One With The Screamer”. Tommy dates Rachel and does well to hide his rage from her, much to the annoyance of Ross who bears witness to it all. Tommy provides some brilliant moments throughout the episode, from screaming at an elderly couple who were accidentally sat in his seat to berating Ross for nearly spilling coffee on him.
If you watched the Friends Reunion recently, there was a brilliant outtake from that episode where Ben Stiller is screaming at Joey and Chandler’s chick and duck before the camera pans to the rest of the Friends cast who just absolutely lose it! The added hilarity that the likes of Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston struggle to keep a straight face, emphasises how great of a character “The Screamer” is. Ben Stiller’s performance of the character makes him unforgettable.
There are numerous other cameos which are memorable too, with the likes of Winona Ryder and Sean Penn narrowly missing out on my list! Who is your favourite Friends cameo of all time?