From Lady Gaga to Malala: the bizarre Friends reunion guestlist in full

Alongside the pop star and the activist, David Beckham, James Corden and Justin Bieber will feature in an upcoming HBO special. Could it be any more random?

Details of the long-awaited Friends reunion have finally been revealed and, well, you should probably prepare for disappointment. It will most definitely not be a new episode of Friends, nor does it contain any new scripted material. What it will include, however, is plenty of scenes where the cast of Friends talk about how nice it was to make Friends. If you ever saw the Inbetweeners reunion – which had the same format and went so badly that one of the stars, James Buckley, felt obliged to apologise for making it – then you will know to keep your expectations low.

As well as being decidedly unoriginal, the whole thing is likely to be a bit weird. The list of guests appearing on the show has also been released and you would be hard pushed to find a more random collection of names. So, here they are, all 18 of them, ranked in reverse order of how much sense they make.

18. Reese Witherspoon

Played Jennifer Aniston’s sister on Friends and is her co-star on The Morning Show. Makes perfect sense.

Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green and Reese Witherspoon as Jill Green.
Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green and Reese Witherspoon as Jill Green. Photograph: NBC/Getty Images

17. Elliott Gould

Played Ross and Monica’s father. Still famous enough for this to seem like a big deal. Makes sense.

16. Tom Selleck

Gould with a moustache. Dr Richard Burke is probably the best-known character Selleck’s played in the past 20 years, so it makes sense for him to want another go.

15. James Michael Tyler

Played Gunther. Now exists in a perpetual netherworld of Friends fan conventions. They would have had to chain the man up in a basement to stop him attending.

James Michael Tyler as Gunther and David Schwimmer as Ross Geller.
James Michael Tyler as Gunther and David Schwimmer as Ross Geller. Photograph: NBCU/Getty

14. Maggie Wheeler

Played Janice. The female Tyler. Likewise.

13. Christina Pickles

Played Gould’s wife. Not as big a name as Gould, but it would have been churlish to invite him and not her.

12. Larry Hankin

Played Mr Heckles. Hankin has spent his post-Friends career growing into a hugely reliable character actor – most notably playing the junkyard owner in Breaking Bad – so it’s odd that he would want to appear in this. Oh well.

Larry Hankin as Mr Heckles, opposite Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston
Larry Hankin as Mr Heckles, opposite Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston. Photograph: NBC/Getty Images

11. Thomas Lennon

Played Joey’s hand twin in one episode of Friends, then co-starred with Matthew Perry in a short-lived remake of The Odd Couple. That’s about it, but he’s reliably funny, so whatever.

10. James Corden

Never been in Friends. Never really expressed an interest in Friends. Once did a rap battle with David Schwimmer on television at 1am, but that hardly counts. His friend Ben Winston is producing the reunion, so there’s the explanation.

9. Cindy Crawford

Remember when Crawford played Joey’s roommate in Friends? No, you don’t, because that was Elle Macpherson. Remember when Crawford’s voice featured in an episode of Friends? No, you don’t, because that was an episode of Frasier. They’re both from the 90s, though. Close enough.

Cindy Crawford
Cindy Crawford. Photograph: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

8. David Beckham

Fun fact: according to a Friends fan wiki, the hall where Ross married Emily inspired the location for the wedding of David and Victoria Beckham. That’s it. That’s the sole rationale for him appearing on this cursed show.

7. Mindy Kaling

Right. Mindy Kaling was in the US version of The Office, which is a popular sitcom in the same way that Friends is a popular sitcom. She’s friends with Witherspoon, too. Does that count?

6. Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga once recorded a song called Bad Romance, which contains the line “I don’t wanna be friends”. Friends is also the name of the popular sitcom Friends and this is a reunion of the cast of Friends. That’ll do.

5. BTS

BTS are a K-pop band. I once watched an episode of Friends, in negative, on a dodgy stream of the American Forces Network while I lived in South Korea in 2004. I have no idea why they’re appearing in the special.

4. Kit Harington

God knows. Unless there was an uncredited Schwimmer cameo in an episode of Game of Thrones, I have no idea why Harington is going to be in this stupid show. My money is on him popping up to say: “I saw some episodes of Friends on E4 once,” and then staring blankly into space while the cast of Friends cough and shuffle awkwardly.

Kit Harington
Kit Harington. Photograph: Amy Sussman/Getty Images for AFI

3. Cara Delevingne

Listen, I’m trying, OK? I’m trying to work out why Delevingne is going to be in the Friends reunion. I’m trying so hard that I just gave myself a nosebleed. But there’s nothing. She wasn’t in Friends. She’s not famous enough to qualify as a big-name fan. She isn’t funny enough to lift the show. Honestly, I have no idea. The nicest thing I can say about Delevingne is that she isn’t Justin Bieber.

2. Justin Bieber

What the hell? Seriously? Justin Bieber was six months old when Friends started. He had just turned 10 when it ended. Nobody is expecting him to offer any insight into the show. He’s going to stand there and gurgle meaninglessly about nothing, taking up time on a programme that exists to be a smug, pointless payday for six millionaire actors. People wanted a new Friends episode, you idiots. The last thing – the last thing – that any Friends fans want is to have to sit through Bieber’s manufactured reminiscences about the time that Monica got a turkey stuck on her head. Jesus Christ, what’s wrong with you people?

1. Malala Yousafzai

Sure. Of course. Why not? At least this won’t make it weird when the ghost of Emmeline Pankhurst is signed up to appear on the inevitable Suddenly Susan reunion show.

The Friends reunion airs in the US on HBO Max on 27 May, with a UK date to follow.


Stuart Heritage

The GuardianTramp

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