The Best Dramatic Performances by Each Member of the ‘Friends’ Cast

Matt LeBlanc, we tried our best
The Best Dramatic Performances by Each Member of the ‘Friends’ Cast

Given how culturally ubiquitous Friends still is to this day, it’s hard for the cast not to be forever associated with their characters from the show — and just comedy in general. However, over the years, almost all six of the titular friends have shown that there’s a lot more to them than just being funny. Here then are the best dramatic performances from each of the Friends. A personal note to Matt LeBlanc: we tried our best. 

Matt LeBlanc, ‘Charlie’s Angels’

Much like Joey Tribbiani, LeBlanc’s career hasn’t been one for the dramatic — unless it’s a dramatic entrance with flair. But in-between the show and his own Joey spin-off, LeBlanc did hop aboard the action-packed 2000 Charlie’s Angels reboot for a more toned-down role as Alex Munday’s actor boyfriend. 

Matthew Perry, ‘Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip’

Shortly after Friends ended and Perry had a three-episode stint on The West Wing, he reunited with writer-director Aaron Sorkin on the short-lived Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. The Moneyball writer’s take on the inner workings of producing a Saturday Night Live-style series featured Perry as an EP and head writer of the fictional show. The series crashed and burned after its monumental debut in large part to 30 Rock’s concurrent success and Lorne Michaels rebuffing Sorkin’s bid to visit SNL’s set to give the show a truly authentic feel. While it ended up being a critical bust, Perry was the highlight of the show’s sole season.

Courteney Cox, ‘Scream’

While Cox’s castmates Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow are the only friends to win an Emmy, Cox holds the distinct honor of being the only friend to never be nominated for one. Luckily, she had the perfect outlet to relieve any pent-up resentment in Wes Craven’s iconic slasher Scream. She’s been a staple in the series as a tabloid/investigative journalist who has weathered Ghostface’s killing sprees for six installments now.

Lisa Kudrow, ‘Clockwatchers’

Shortly after she was singing about smelly cats at Central Perk, Kudrow rounded out the quartet of Toni Collette, Parker Posey and Alanna Ubach as temps at a credit company in Clockwatchers. Like Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles of a cubicle farm, each staffer had their own personality. Kudrow played aspiring actress Paula who was more concerned with the 5-to-9 happy hour where she could flirt with men, as opposed to the 9-to-5 job she needed to keep her lights on. For a character that could have easily been a punchline, Kudrow delivered a deeply personal and raw performance.

David Schwimmer, ‘Band of Brothers’

Like Perry, Schwimmer had the opportunity to work with a prolific Hollywood director when he boarded Steven Spielberg’s World War II miniseries Band of Brothers. Despite only appearing in three of the show’s 10 episodes, he left a mark as Captain Herbert Sobel, a despised training commander with a collection of harsh tactics and petty behavior that audiences loved to hate (much like Ross Geller).

Jennifer Aniston, ‘Cake’

In many ways, Aniston was most synonymous with Friends. Case in point: There was even a hairstyle named after her character. Not surprisingly then, it took her a number of roles (and years) before she truly shook free of the association — or shook as free of it as she could. Cake might have been panned when it first came out in 2014, but  Aniston received consistent and well-deserved praise for her out-of-character/Rachel choice to take on a woman struggling with tragedy, pain and addiction.

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