Mark Consuelos, Dermot Mulroney and Sherri Shepherd are Friends of "Friends"

By Friends of "Friends" Archives
Cover image for  article: Mark Consuelos, Dermot Mulroney and Sherri Shepherd are Friends of "Friends"

(Editor's note:  This column was originally published on April 13, 2018.)  Most actors have one definable role in their careers, the one that when people see them standing in a grocery store line they can’t help but remind them of, often a little too loudly.  So it’s no surprise some of television's current series regulars and guest stars fall victim to that, especially after appearing on one of the medium’s most durable sitcoms.  During its 10-year run on NBC, Friends featured guest appearances by the like of Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt and George Clooney, along with a host of familiar faces and up-and-comers.  The series ended its run 14 years ago this coming May, but actors like Steve Zahn, Mark Consuelos, Dermot Mulroney, Kevin Rahm, Sherri Shepherd and many others will forever be known as a Friend of Friends.

Steve Zahn, currently appearing in the new ABC series The Crossing, has a laundry list of impressive credits.  “It’s usually That Thing You Do or Saving Silverman that I get recognized for the most,” he recently told MediaVillage.  Yet he can’t escape the role of Duncan, Phoebe Buffay’s (Lisa Kudrow, pictured below with Zahn) ice-dancing, “gay” Canadian husband who shows up in the second season episode “The One with Phoebe’s Husband” requesting a divorce. “I was on that show once, and people are always going Friends?” Zahn laughed.  “There’s an amazing amount of people that [still] watch that show.”

In season seven’s “The One with Chandler’s Dad,” Mark Consuelos (currently appearing as Hiram Lodge on The CW’s Riverdale) appeared as Officer Hanson a.k.a “Handsome,” the cop Rachel (Jennifer Anniston, pictured at top with Consuelos) flirts with after being pulled over for speeding in Monica’s hijacked Porsche.  “I was auditioning for stuff in L.A. and my agent said, ‘Go read for them’ and I got the job,” Consuelos recalled when asked about the role.  “I was a fan and I remember getting to rehearse and do a scene with Jennifer Anniston and David Schwimmer.  I couldn't believe it. My daughter was watching Friends recently and was like, ‘You were on Friends? Your hair was very weird.’  And it was.”

Kevin Rahm, currently appearing as Captain Avery in Fox’s Lethal Weapon, describes his appearance as Tim, Monica's (Courteney Cox) inexperienced sous-chef, in the season eight episode “The One with Rachel's Date” as “a dream job.

“That was the show that when I was still studying theater in college I would go home on Thursday nights to watch!" he continued.  "I was a giant fan and that was the only time I was set struck rather than star struck.  I remember going in early and slowly sitting on the Central Perk couch and it was like, ‘I'm in Central Perk!’  It was before smartphones so I couldn't get a picture.  Now I would have taken a selfie. Those guys were amazing.  Friends is one of those things that I did one episode of and am in like three or four scenes -- forever ago -- and surprisingly I get ‘Friends?’ all the time, depending on the store I am in.”

Dermot Mulroney has spent much of his career being confused with fellow actor Dylan McDermott (the two recently shared scenes in two episodes of Fox’s LA to Vegas), but when it comes to his Friends debut in the season nine episode “The One Where Rachel Goes Back to Work” there is no confusion at all.  That was the beginning of Mulroney’s three-episode arc playing Gavin Mitchell, Rachel’s cocky replacement, appointed while she's on maternity leave.  “I did three little episodes and it ran in its original run and that was the end of it,” Mulroney explained.  “Suddenly like four or five years ago it started streaming all over the world at all hours.

“[After I did my] New Girl appearance I’d have teenagers coming up to me saying, ‘Gavin?’  I'm like, ‘Who’s Gavin?’  I didn't even remember the character’s name as it went away for 15 years and suddenly I'm Gavin from Friends.  I'm thrilled and still friends with the cast.  Jennifer (Aniston) and I were classmates at Northwestern, so we go way back.  In recent years, it's had a really strong impact on my career.  I was a fan and watched it, was friends with Jennifer, so it was a natural fit.  I'd also never done a three-camera sitcom before, so I learned a lot doing Friends.”

Sherri Shepherd is currently appearing as Joy, both the neighbor of and building inspector to Matt LeBlanc’s character Adam Burns on CBS’s Man with a Plan. But it’s not the first time she and LeBlanc have shared the screen.  As Rhonda the busty tour guide in season four’s “The One with Phoebe's Uterus,” Shepherd confided in Joey (LeBlanc) and left a memorable stamp on the show by declaring, “I'm Rhonda and these aren’t real.”

“I can be at a Ralph's or a Walmart and people will ask me to say the line," Shepherd told me.  "People remember it and I'm thankful for it.  It was scary going on a show with a cast that was so well known and tight, yet I remember Jennifer Aniston coming up and just loving on me -- I loved that about her.  I love that people remember me from that or even Everybody Loves Raymond or 30 Rock.  I mean what a blessing.”

Read more in Steve Gidlow's "Friends of Friends" series, including interviews with Penn Jillette, Eddie Cahill, Leah Remini and Anna Faris.

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