The comedian claims producers wanted her back to guest star on the show, but she never heard from them.
Sherri Shepherd says she made quite an impression during her guest stint on “Friends,” but not enough to get a call back.
During the 1998 episode titled “The One with Phoebe’s Uterus,” the comedian had a memorable turn as a hilariously blunt tour guide at Ross’ museum.
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“The crowd went crazy,” Sherri recalled to People. “It was one of their top 10 favorites for a long time. My ‘I’m Rhonda and these aren’t real!’ line.”
“All of those executive producers came down to the set and was like, ‘We got to have you back. You’re so amazing.” she explained “And usually when people say that to me, they have me back. So with me not being called back, I thought, ‘Ooh, I might’ve offended. Maybe that wasn’t as cute as I thought it was.'”
“And if I ever do run into [the producers], I’ll tell them what a great time I had, and ask, ‘Did I offend anybody? Because I would have loved to have come back. It was a great experience.”
At the time, Sherri was one of the few Black actors to be featured on the show, something she still thinks of as difficult to process.
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“When you have a show set in New York — and I’ve lived in New York for nine years — and I always saw diversity. All the time. When you walk down the street, you got to be in a bubble not to see how inclusive New York City is. It is one of the most inclusive, diverse cities I’ve ever been to.”
“So that was a little bit hard to see a show where nobody looked like me.”
“Friends” has been criticized for its lack of diversity over the years, with series creator Marta Kauffman addressing the pushback during an ATX Festival panel about diversity in 2020, saying she “wish I knew then what I knew today.” She added, “I would have made very different decisions. We’ve always encouraged diversity in our company, but I didn’t do enough.”
She also told The Hollywood Reporter in a more recent interview that when it came to casting the show, they “saw people of every race, religion, color” but “these were the six people we cast … it was certainly not conscious.”
Added executive producer Kevin S. Bright: “It’s important for today’s shows to be reflective of the ways society truly is. But for our experience, the three of us, that may have been our experience when we were young and in New York. But we didn’t intend to have an all-white cast. That was not the goal, either. Obviously, the chemistry between these six actors speaks for itself.”