Lisa Kudrow Was Cast in Frasier, But This Scene Got Her Fired In No Time

Lisa Kudrow Was Cast in Frasier, But This Scene Got Her Fired In No Time
Image credit: Legion-Media/BC

The actress was fired almost immediately after being cast in the role, although she was supposed to be one of the stars of the comedy series.

Before we met the funny and eccentric Phoebe Buffay, Lisa Kudrow had long been trying to build a career as a comedy actress.

After what seemed like many years of appearing in little-known, low-budget movies, the actress got a truly unique opportunity – to audition for a role in the TV series Frasier.

Unfortunately, the pilot episode did not satisfy the creators. But Lisa didn't have much time to feel sad – another sitcom appeared on the horizon, which later even surpassed Frasier in popularity.

Why was Kudrow's candidacy not good enough for the producers? As the show's casting director, Jeff Greenberg, later explained, the producers wanted to find an actress who was a perfect embodiment of Roz Doyle, Frasier's KACL producer.

Lisa Kudrow Was Cast in Frasier, But This Scene Got Her Fired In No Time - image 1

Numerous popular comic actresses auditioned for the role. At the end of the casting process, Peri Gilpin and Lisa Kudrow remained the two favorites. Greenberg said they showed Gilpin and Kudrow to NBC management and they chose Lisa, but soon it was Peri who ended up with the part.

It was only recently that director James Burrows revealed the exact scene that led to Kudrow being fired from the show and replaced by Gilpin:

“The speech before Frasier goes in a confronts his dad, the Lupe Velez speech, which is the Lupe Velez story. […] Her speech he had to give, but Kelsey is such a strong personality and Lisa’s, what she does great is ethereal and it just didn’t work in that moment.”

Lisa responded to the producers' decision with understanding. That same year, she received an invitation to try out for Friends. Kudrow later recalled that on the set, she was terrified that she would be fired again, since James Burrows was there again and presided over the process.

However, as is well known, Kudrow eventually got the role of Phoebe and went down in history as one of the main characters of perhaps the most iconic sitcom in television history.

Source: WBUR