- Film & TV
- 30 Mar 23
"The world needs humor! Everyone is far too divided," said Emmy Award winning actress Jennifer Aniston this week.
In a recent conversation with Variety, veteran actress Jennifer Aniston discussed the current climate around comedy, complaining about how political divisions are making it harder for comedians to create culturally viable work - without much evidence.
"Now it’s a little tricky because you have to be very careful," said Aniston, who is currently in Paris filming Murder Mystery 2 with co-star Adam Sandler.
"The beauty of comedy is that we make fun of ourselves, make fun of life,” said the 54 year-old actress. “[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.”
Aniston's big break was the Emmy Award winning series Friends. The show, which spanned 236 episodes over the course of a decade, became an instant phenomenon– depicting the lives of six friends as they navigated early adulthood. The show remains at the cultural forefront, with audiences - young people included - globally still tuning in on streaming services like Sky and NOW TV, nearly two decades after the shows conclusion. The 2021 Friends Reunion Special was Sky One's most watched programme in the UK channel's history.
"There's a whole generation of people, kids, who are now going back to episodes of 'Friends' and find them offensive," said Aniston, speaking to the cultural changes she seen in the last decades. "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."
“Everybody needs funny! The world needs humor! We can’t take ourselves too seriously. Especially in the United States. Everyone is far too divided.”
Friends– which featured an entirely white cast– has been called out in recent years for its lack of diversity. The most recurring character of colour on the series was Dr. Charlie Wheeler (Aisha Tyler), a palaeontology professor and girlfriend to both Joey and Ross. She only starred in nine episodes.
Show creator Marta Kauffman announced last July that she was donating four million to create the Marta F. Kauffman ’78 Professorship in African and African American Studies at Brandeis University.
“It was after what happened to George Floyd that I began to wrestle with my having bought into systemic racism in ways I was never aware of,” Kauffman said, lamenting on her hit show's lack of diversity. “That was really the moment that I began to examine the ways I had participated. I knew then I needed to course-correct.”
Friends has also come under fire in recent years for fat-phobic and homophobic storylines and dialogue. That being said, it remains a massively popular show on streamers, with Aniston still earning revenue from re-runs.
Aniston’s Murder Mystery 2, will be available for streaming March 31 on Netflix.
- Film & TV
- 01 Jun 23