‘Frasier’: Lisa Kudrow Once Explained Why She Was Fired From the Series

by Samantha Whidden

Although she is best known for her role as Phoebe on the TV sitcom “Friends,” before she snagged that role, Lisa Kudrow made a short-lived appearance on fellow sitcom “Frasier.”

During a May 2017 interview with Entertainment Weekly, casting director Jeff Greenberg revealed that Lisa Kudrow was up for the role of “Frazier” leading lady, Roz. “[The producers] said, ‘Well see any type, age, ethnicity,’ so I brought them all of the great comic actresses, and we whittled it down. Kelsey [Grammer] came in and read with five or six of them, and our two favorites were Lisa Kudrow and Peri Gilpin. We tested them at NBC, and they chose Lisa. She was great.”

However, when it came to the test audience during the pilot rehearsal, the Greenberg stated the producers noticed an imbalance in the “Fraiser” cast. “There was so much good confrontation in the scenes at homeland the palpable sort o tension. At the radio station, not so much.”

The “Frasier” producers then figured out it was because of Lisa Kudrow’s version of Roz. Greenwood then said that Lisa Kudrow’s version of the “Fraiser” character interfered a little with Jane Leeves’ version of Daphne, which was a little daffy. “There were two daffy women, and when you’re doing auditions, you don’t see it all together; you do them in little puzzle pieces, and then you fit them together.”

Finally “Fraiser” director and producer, Jim Burrows decided to bring Peri Gilpin back in and they decided to remove Lisa Kudrow from the show. “We loved Lisa. She didn’t do anything wrong, but I had to make that call to her agent. And then I spoke to her, and she was, of course, the classiest possible person in the world. She said she understood. … It was a dark day.”

‘Friends’ Star Lisa Kudrow Thought It Would Be Hilarious If She Played Rachel Instead of Phoebe

While speaking to Stephen Colbert last year, Lisa Kudrow revealed she thought it would be hilarious if she would have played “Friends” character Rachel instead of Phoebe. “When I first read the scripting, and I was going to be auditioning for Phoebe, I saw Rachel, and I just went, ‘Oh, that’s like a Long Island JAP – that could be hilarious. I can identify with that more.’ But they said, ‘No, no. Phoebe.’”

As she chatted about the “Friends” reunion, which premiered on HBO last spring, Lisa Kudrow shared, “It’s been 17 years since our show ended, and we have all been in the same room after 5-6 years. Then COVID-19 delayed the whole thing so much. But it was thrilling and a little emotional. They rebuilt all the sets. We were excited to be on the sets.”