Paul Rudd Reflected On His “Strange” Experience Shooting The “Friends” Finale And Explained Why He Felt He Shouldn’t Have Been There

“They were all crying, it was all emotional. And I just was like... ‘I just want to sit back here and not get in the way.’”

It might not feel like it, but it’s almost been two decades since the last episode of Friends aired.

The hit NBC sitcom ran for 10 seasons before coming to an end in 2004 with an emotional two-part finale that closed several long-running storylines.

One of its most memorable plot points followed Ross Geller (David Schwimmer) and Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) as they decided to give their romance another shot after years of dating on and off.

And the other biggest storyline centered on Monica Geller (Courteney Cox) and Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry), who — after a yearslong struggle with infertility — decided to adopt from Erica, played by guest star Anna Faris.

Along with Anna Faris, the Friends finale featured several other guest stars, including the likes of James Michael Tyler, Jason Kravits, and Paul Rudd.

Paul played Mike Hannigan, the partner of Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow), in 17 of the show’s episodes, quickly becoming a favorite among fans.

And looking back on his experience filming Friends this week, Paul, now 53, recalled finding it “really fun.”

“It was really fun and [the cast] were great,” he said on Heart Breakfast. “The whole thing was a bit surreal… to be a part of that. I never knew that I was going to be in as many [episodes] that I was.”

However, reflecting on the finale specifically, Paul admitted that he felt super out of place in it.

Describing his involvement in the emotional last episode as “strange,” Paul said, “I was in that last episode and I just thought… I shouldn’t be here… I’m getting a front row seat to things I’m not supposed to see.”

Opening up even further, Paul noted that he felt super awkward after seeing how emotional the cast and crew were on set.

For some context, the Friends cast have long been open about how virtually everyone bawled their eyes out on that last day.

During the Friends reunion in 2021, Matt LeBlanc, who played Joey Tribbiani, said that “there was a lot of crying” that night on set, while Lisa Kudrow added, “I don't know how we got through actual scenes.”

And director Marta Kauffman noted that the sitcom coming to a close was so difficult as it was also the “end of 10 years of relationships.”

“It was not just the end of a series, it was the end of 10 years of relationships. I mean we were really proud of this show, but like anything good we were sad when it was over,” she said.

And Matthew Perry recalled just how emotional his castmates were in his memoir last year, writing, “Jennifer Aniston was sobbing — after a while, I was amazed she had any water left in her entire body. Even Matt LeBlanc was crying.”

But Paul, who obviously wasn’t as attached to the show as the OG members were, admitted that he felt a little taken aback by it all.

“They were all crying, it was all emotional. And I just was like, ‘Whoa,’” he recalled. “I felt very privileged, but I also was like, ‘Uh, I just want to sit back here and not get in the way.’”

Elsewhere in the interview, Paul wound up discussing the lasting love fans have for Friends — and he described its timelessness as “comforting.”

“There’s something comforting about it, isn’t there?” he said. “In the States you can always kind of flip around on some channel – you’re gonna find it.”

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