'Friends' Almost Recast Emily Because She Was "Not Particularly Funny," Compared to Jennifer Aniston

"[David] Schwimmer had no one to bounce off," Friends director James Burrows said in his new memoir.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Friends director James Burrows is spilling behind-the-scenes secrets about the hit show! According to his new memoir, Directed By James Burrows, the director hinted that the show almost recast Helen Baxendale, who played Ross Geller's (David Schwimmer) short-lived wife, Emily, because she wasn't as funny as Ross's other love-interest: Rachel (Jennifer Aniston).

“She was nice, but not particularly funny,” Burrows wrote of Baxendale in his memoir. At the time, he was worried about how her lack of humor could affect the acting. "Schwimmer had no one to bounce off. It was like clapping with one hand."


(Image credit: Getty Images)

He continued, "In sitcoms and any type of romantic comedy, the funny is just as important as the chemistry. We discovered that any new girlfriend for Ross needed to be as funny as Rachel.”

But, due to the show's "tight" deadlines, they decided to keep Baxendale as Emily. "Often, you can’t recast, because of tight shooting deadlines or other logistical considerations," he explained. "You need someone who gets laughs. Sometimes you start an arc, and it ain’t working out, so you have to get rid of that person. If it’s a day player, it’s a quick goodbye."

Burrows also noted, "If there’s chemistry, the writers go to work to figure out some way of keeping the actor.”

Paulina Jayne Isaac

Paulina is the Weekend Editor at Cosmopolitan.com. When she isn’t covering celeb and pop culture news, she can be found listening to Taylor Swift, watching a teen drama (One Tree Hill is her favorite), or perfecting her skincare routine.