Aisha Tyler is getting candid about how she felt appearing on the hit television series “Friends.”
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Tyler said she was “petrified” when cast to play Charlie Wheeler on the sitcom nearly 20 years ago.
“The cast was incredibly kind, incredibly welcoming,” the 52-year-old recalled. “My knees were knocking. I was shocked you couldn’t hear my teeth chattering the entire time I was on set.
“We walked out, and we did a curtain call [where] everybody [does a] bow to the audience at the end of the show. As we’re backstage, Matthew Perry just leans in and goes, ‘Get ready for your life to change.’
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“It was a really sweet, kind thing to say to someone who’s just petrified and just trying not to pee on herself a little bit from fear.”
The former “The Talk” host admitted that co-star Perry “was right” because the series “was the biggest show on television when I got that job.”
“Sometimes you don’t really know what a job is going to do, how it’s going to change your life. You don’t know if it’s going to be a hit. You don’t even know if it’s going to be good. You’re just there to do your best work,” Tyler said.”But I knew when I got ‘Friends’ that it was a big deal.”
“Friends” made its debut in 1994. The beloved sitcom showcased a group of friends living in the same apartment complex in New York City. Along with Perry, “Friends” starred Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox and Matt LeBlanc.
The show went off the air in 2004 after 10 successful seasons.
As the 20th anniversary of her appearance on the show approaches, Tyler considered herself a huge fan and “had seen every episode” prior to her audition.
“I walked onto that set, and I remember I looked out the window to see if I could see, you know, the naked guy across the street,” Tyler joked, referring to the “Ugly Naked Guy” mentioned during the show. “Fortunately, it’s just a hallway back there.”
Since Tyler was such a big fan, she believed that gave her an advantage.
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“The show had a tempo. It had a way of kind of turning things on their head and emphasizing words in different ways … [than] you would in normal conversation,” she said. “‘They just had a way with word play and a way with them with delivering lines. It just felt unique to the show. I was a fan. I felt like I could do a ‘Friends’ joke.”
Tyler admitted she still gets recognized by fans.
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“It was a massive show, a global hit,” she said. “To this day, people come up to me and go, ‘Charlie, Charlie,’ or they just go, ‘Black Girl from Friends.'”