Lisa Kudrow Reveals Why The Friends Cast Is Laughing In The Opening Credits

“Matthew [Perry] is the reason we are all laughing in that fountain.”

FRIENDS -- Season 1 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, David Schwimmer as Ross Gel...
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Trigger Warning: This piece contains mentions of substance use disorders. In the foreword of Matthew Perry’s Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing memoir, Friends star Lisa Kudrow speaks highly of her co-star, recalling a moment from filming the sitcom’s opening credits scene in 1994. Kudrow writes that filming the nighttime fountain scene at the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, Calif., was “grueling” — but Perry made it all worth it.

“So, I just focused on Matthew, who could make me laugh so hard every day, and once a week, laugh so hard I cried and couldn’t breathe,” Kudrow, who played Phoebe on Friends, says before touching on Perry’s substance use disorder. “He was there, Matthew Perry, who is whip smart . . . charming, sweet, sensitive, very reasonable, and rational. That guy, with everything he was battling, was still there. The same Matthew who, from the beginning, could lift us all up during a grueling night shoot for the opening titles inside that fountain.”

Kudrow then reveals that Perry, who played Chandler, was “the reason we are all laughing in that fountain in the opening titles,” and remembers him jokingly saying, ‘Can’t remember a time I wasn’t in a fountain!’ ‘What are we, wet?’ ‘Can’t remember a time I wasn’t wet!’”

While on the Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2021, fellow Friends star Courteney Cox said that the exhausting, wet shoot was all worth it just to hear Perry shout that he “can’t remember a time when I wasn’t in this fountain!”

In July 2022, the series’ set decorator Greg Grande told Entertainment Weekly that jumping into the fountain wasn’t exactly planned. “As [the actors] got later into the evening, they had more fun with the back and forth. They were just happy to hang out and have a few cocktails, probably. I don’t want to say who started it, but one of them did, and they ended up inside the fountain. And that was some of the best footage. It was kind of an impromptu, wonderful moment.”

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In Perry’s memoir, Kudrow also discussed how she would respond when people asked about how he was doing amid his substance use disorders. “Over those years I didn’t really try to intervene or confront him, because the little I knew about addiction was that his sobriety was out of my hands,” Kudrow says. “And yet, I would have periods of wondering if I was wrong for not doing more, doing something. But I did come to understand that this disease relentlessly fed itself and was determined to keep going.”

If you or someone you know is seeking help for substance use, call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).