Scandal’s Lisa Kudrow Talks High School Bullies, Motherhood, and Life after Friends


Just as Friends alum Lisa Kudrow grabs attention in a guest spot on ABC’s Scandal, she sits down with Saturday Evening Post contributor Lawrence Grobel for the November/December cover story, and talks high school bullies, motherhood, and life after Friends.

On being a junior high school outcast: “It was not, like, the nice people who were popular; it wasn’t the most entertaining people—it was the meanest people.”

On getting a nose job in high school: “That was life altering. I went from, in my mind, hideous, to not hideous. I did it the summer before going to a new high school. So there were plenty of people who wouldn’t know how hideous I looked before. That was a good, good, good change.”

On experiencing anti-Semitism: “In college there was more anti-Semitism than before college, because there were people who never met a Jew before. A friend of mine, when she found out I was Jewish, said, ‘Really? Oh, I don’t like Jews.’”

On trying mind-altering drugs: “I never tried that stuff. Because [my father] would tell me stories of people who had smoked pot one time and they had a psychotic break and never recovered. And I thought, well, who wants to roll those dice? I don’t care what the odds are. [Laughs] I don’t like being altered.”

On being a mother: “It’s so unfair that kids aren’t allowed to go through a little something. Kids are overly scrutinized and that’s really too bad for them. One week I heard, ‘Oh, your kid’s not able to focus. And I’ve been noticing it for a while now.’ ‘A while?’ ‘Yeah, like two weeks. You ought to look into medication.’ Fortunately there were other mothers to talk to about it.”

On encouraging Conan to get into the late night talk show game: “I was very encouraging. I remember saying, ‘If Letterman’s leaving his late-night show, he’s irreplaceable. So better it be someone we don’t know at all.’ So I thought he should look into it.”

On getting called Phoebe, her character from Friends: “I don’t turn around. I never turn around. If someone’s in front of me, I’ll smile and try to be nice. But I don’t like taking pictures. Autographs are fine.”

On fame: “I had always thought that fame would give you permission to lighten up on yourself. If everybody else likes you, you could finally have permission to love yourself. It’s not true.”

On roles for women in Hollywood: “It’s gotten better, for sure, because you have so many strong women in comedy who write, like Tina Fey and Kristen Wiig and Mindy Kaling. It’s not going to be the same because our society is not the same.”

On the character she plays in her new web series: “She doesn’t know much about therapy, and she’s not even accredited. I’ve been in therapy, but I’m not a trained therapist, so that’s perfect.”

On failure: “Every audition you didn’t do well in, the job you didn’t get, you get into trouble when you start looking at it as failure. I try to be happy for everything that happens, the good and the bad. Otherwise I wouldn’t be right here.”


  1. She was always one of my favorites and I really enjoyed reading this – thank you. I did not realize that she had plastic surgery on her nose in high school – kind of sad to think she thought she needed it that young. It is sad that people call her Phoebe, that is not her name and she should not have to respond to it. I hate that celebrities seem to have no privacy, regardless of who you are or what career you choose, you should be able to go to dinner and enjoy it with your loved ones – interrupting them because you recognize them is just plain rude.

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