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Friends director shares the guest star he struggled to work with the most because she 'wasn't funny'

Friends director shares the guest star he struggled to work with the most because she 'wasn't funny'

Director James Burrows has revealed how he found it difficult to work with Helen Baxendale during her time on Friends

A director of Friends has revealed which guest star he struggled to work with the most due to them simply 'not being funny'.

Could he be any more harsh?

Of course, as any fan of the 90s' sitcom will know, there have been many famous guest stars who made hilarious cameo appearances during its decade-long reign.

Ranging from the likes of Ben Stiller to Brad Pitt, as well as Robin Williams and Bruce Willis, all the guest stars well and truly made their own unique marks on the sitcom - no matter how small their cameos may have been.

But, according to director James Burrows, guest star Helen Baxendale was one of the guests he found the hardest to work with due to her 'not being funny'.

For those not in the know, Baxendale played one (of the many) fiancées of Ross Geller - played by David Schwimmer.

Appearing as the British Emily Waltham in 14 episodes, the romance between Ross and Emily was sadly short lived due to Ross saying ex-girlfriend Rachel's name (Jennifer Aniston) at the altar during their wedding in London, resulting in their divorce.

Helen Baxendale played Emily Waltham for 14 episodes of Friends in the late 1990s.

Yep, over two decades on from that moment, we still cringe when we watch it.

While Baxendale's short stint on Friends was mostly down to she and her husband, David L. Williams, expecting their first child, Burrows revealed how difficult it was on set for the other actors to 'bounce off her'.

In his new memoir, Directed by James Burrows, he recalled of the episode 'The One with All the Rugby': "She was nice but not particularly funny. Schwimmer had no one to bounce off. It was like clapping with one hand."

Burrows went on: "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.

Emily was one of Ross Geller's (many) wives.

"Often, you can't recast, because of tight shooting deadlines or other logistical considerations. You don't cast anyone to be a straw man, unless it's for one episode."

The director explained further how '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.

"The reverse is also true. If there's chemistry, the writers go to work to figure out some way of keeping the actor."

Despite Burrows' opinion on the British actor, her character was generally very well received by fans - despite the general population always rooting for a Ross and Rachel reunion.

James Burrows has revealed how he found the British actor hard to work with due to her 'not being funny'.
Rick Kern/Contributor

Baxendale, who has since gone on to star in several British TV shows, has happily discussed her time on the sitcom several times, with her once referring to it as a 'surreal little blip' in her life.

Speaking to The Mirror back in 2012, she said: "I look upon it as a strange surreal little blip in my life almost like a dream."

She also spoke highly of the Friends cast, adding: "They were all very nice and professional. We were never great mates though.

"People expect because it is called Friends that everyone was great friends, but they were real professionals. They'd been doing it for years and I was one of many guest stars to appear."

Featured Image Credit: Rick Kern/Contributor / NBC

Topics: Film and TV, Friends, Celebrity