One of our favorite comedy queens, Jennifer Aniston, has opened the lid on the recent controversy around the hit TV series Friends. Aniston has been in the biz for nearly three decades, so she first handily has seen how the genre has changed over the years. And now, over 25 years later, she says that new audiences are watching the iconic sitcom and finding it less funny and more offensive than the world did when it first aired.
The show has been called out in previous years, with fans pointing out issues they found to be controversial. "There's a whole generation of people, kids, who are now going back to episodes of Friends and find them offensive," Aniston told AFP. "There were things that were never intentional and others… well, we should have thought it through — but I don't think there was a sensitivity like there is now."
Aniston noted that "comedy has evolved" over the years, so what was considered funny years ago might not cut it in today's day and age, which she believes makes it more difficult for comedians to do their jobs. "Now it's a little tricky because you have to be very careful, which makes it really hard for comedians because the beauty of comedy is that we make fun of ourselves, make fun of life," she said. "[In the past] you could joke about a bigot and have a laugh—that was hysterical. And it was about educating people on how ridiculous people were. And now we're not allowed to do that."
Jennifer is not the only Friends star to comment on how different the show would look if it had first aired in contemporary times. Aniston's co-star, Lisa Kudrow, shared that, although she has no regrets about playing Phoebe Buffay, she believes the show would look "completely different" today and "would not be an all-white cast, for sure." She told The Sunday Times that she believed the show was "at the time, progressive," but it would definitely look different if it aired today. Friends has been off the air for over 15 years and still generates such a wide audience, nodding to the greatness of the timeless sitcom.