‘I’m Ashamed’: Jean-Claude Van Damme Finally Spills The Beans About His Friends Cameo
It was not only the actor who found such an experience unpleasant.
- The One After the Super Bowl was the episode with the most celebrity cameos.
- Because of his poor acting, Van Damme is now ashamed of his Friends cameo.
- Van Damme was a problem on the set, making other actors uncomfortable.
Over the course of 10 seasons, Friends featured more than 100 celebrity cameos. Some of them were limited to a short scene, such as Ralph Lauren, who Rachel met in the elevator, while some stars stayed for several episodes. For example, Paul Rudd lasted the longest in the show and eventually became Phoebe's husband.
One of the most striking cameos was that of Robin Williams in the third season. His participation was not written in the script, so the appearance of such a brilliant actor was a big surprise for everyone, and the dialogues were completely improvised.
Williams was near the set, and the writers asked him to make a brief cameo. Williams happily agreed and played Tomas, a man disappointed in love, who shares his experiences in a coffee shop.
While most of the big star appearances on the show have been met with nothing but excitement and enthusiasm from both the main cast and the guest, there was one time when both sides were left disappointed.
What Was the Episode With The Most Star Cameos?
The episode with most star cameos was The One After the Super Bowl. It premiered on January 28, 1996, and became the highest-rated episode of Friends.
In the two-part storyline, Rachel and Monica compete to see who will go on a date with Jean-Claude Van Damme, Phoebe performs songs inappropriate for children, Joe meets a crazy fan (played by Brooke Shields), Chandler goes on a date with a high school friend (played by Julia Roberts), and Ross tries to mend his relationship with Marcel the monkey (played by himself).
All the episodes with Marcel are a little more than completely wonderful, but that's not the point.
Jean-Claude Van Damme Is Ashamed of His Friends’ Cameo
Of all the cameos in this episode, the one that stands out the most is that of Jean-Claude Van Damme. He may be the only actor in Friends who wasn't just playing someone, but openly laughing at his own image – Van Damme appears as an exaggerated, narcissistic version of himself.
Such a cameo was a pleasant surprise for the actor's fans, but those who worked with Van Damme did not enjoy this experience. And as turns out the actor himself is now ashamed of this small role:
“My acting is so bad. I look so like a ham. […] I’m ashamed of myself. So then I was on the set, and those girls, they go and they kiss me and they kiss me on the lips. I didn’t know what to do, how to do … It was strange.”
Van Damme Made Other Actors Uncomfortable
Director Michael Lembeck once shared that Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox complained to him about the star's impertinence. In the bonus scene, Van Damme was supposed to share a kiss with both Rachel and Monica – and this moment caused a lot of discomfort for the actresses.
First, according to the script, Van Damme had to kiss Jennifer Aniston. After that, the actress approached the director and asked him to talk to Van Damme about how to maintain decency during the kiss (for some reason, Jean-Claude decided to kiss the actress with his tongue).
Then the scene with Courteney Cox was shot. And everything happened again. The director had to talk to the actor again, only more determined this time. Lembeck also noted that Van Damme seemed very self-righteous and unprofessional.
However, neither Van Damme's behavior nor the fact that he is not a comedian detracts from all the strengths of this episode. It's no wonder the creators went all in on this one-hour episode, airing it right after the Super Bowl, the most-watched television event in the US.