Jennifer Aniston knows not all of Gen Z sees her breakout ’90s show Friends as politically correct…and has feelings about the series and the evolving landscape of comedy. The actress addressed the critiques during an interview with AFP in Paris, via Yahoo! News.
Comedy and films have “evolved,” Aniston said. “Now it’s a little tricky because you have to be very careful, which makes it really hard for comedians, because the beauty of comedy is that we make fun of ourselves, make fun of life,” she added. “[In the past], you could joke about a bigot and have a laugh—that was hysterical. And it was about educating people on how ridiculous people were. And now we’re not allowed to do that.”
She went on to address the perception of Friends, saying, “There’s a whole generation of people, kids, who are now going back to episodes of Friends and find them offensive.” And some of it is, albeit unintentionally, she said: “There were things that were never intentional and others… well, we should have thought it through—but I don’t think there was a sensitivity like there is now.”
Aniston suggested that that cultural change could be why fewer comedy films have come out recently, calling the loss a tragedy, per Yahoo! News. “Everybody needs funny!” she said. “The world needs humor! We can’t take ourselves too seriously. Especially in the United States. Everyone is far too divided.”
Aniston opened up to The Hollywood Reporter in December 2021 about shooting the Friends reunion with the cast and why it was difficult to revisit their time on the show. “Time travel is hard,” she started.
“I think we [the main cast] were just so naive walking into it, thinking, ‘How fun is this going to be? They’re putting the sets back together, exactly as they were,’” she detailed. “Then you get there and it’s like, ‘Oh right, I hadn’t thought about what was going on the last time I was actually here.’ And it just took me by surprise because it was like, ‘Hi, past, remember me? Remember how that sucked? You thought everything was in front of you and life was going to be just gorgeous and then you went through maybe the hardest time in your life?’ It was all very jarring and, of course, you’ve got cameras everywhere and I’m already a little emotionally accessible, I guess you could say, so I had to walk out at certain points. I don’t know how they cut around it.”
Senior News and Strategy Editor
Alyssa Bailey is the senior news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.