Over ten seasons, Friends has gifted us with some of the most memorable cameos in television history, but few as fortuitous as Robin Williams and Billy Crystal.
The 236 episodes of Friends gave rise to some of the most surreal anecdotes in television history. The legendary sitcom accompanied us for ten seasons between 1994 and 2004, while we followed the adventures and misadventures of Monica, Chandler, Rachel, Ross, Joey, and Phoebe.
But the world of Friends was much bigger than these six friends, although sometimes it didn’t seem like it. Not only the mythology of the serieswith the emblematic Central Perk as the main meeting point for the group, when they were not in their apartments.
Throughout those ten seasons, Friends left us a trail of cameos that made the cast run into celebrities like Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts or Bruce Willis, among others.
Each cameo hides its own story, but few Friends star appearances were as great as that of Billy Crystal and Robin Williams. In fact, the story of how that cameo came to be is just as bizarre as the cameo itself.
How was the cameo of Robin Williams and Billy Crystal in Friends?
The cameo in question by these two kings of comedy preceded the opening sequence of the episode titled The One with the Ultimate Fighting Champion. Specifically, it is episode 24 of season 3 of Friends.
The scene starts in the Central Perk, with Monica upset with something very important to share with the group on her usual sofa. Before she starts, two guys sit on the couch and start chatting.
Thomas, Williams’ character, shares his suspicions that his wife is sleeping with her gynecologist, interrupting the group several times. Finally, Tim (Crystal) confesses that he is the one sleeping with Thomas’s wife.
Robin Williams stormed out of Central Perk, breaking off his friendship with Billy Crystal’s character, who chases after him. By then, Monica has completely forgotten what she was going to tell about Pete.
Long live improvisation!
Robin Williams and Billy Crystal’s cameo in Friends was not planned at all. The two stars were filming near the set of their Friends movie A father mess and decided to visit the filming of the already popular sitcom.
Naturally, when two kings of comedy walk onto the set of your show, you have to try to get them off somehow. They proposed to do a small cameo and they accepted.
Since nothing at all was set up, Robin Williams and Billy Crystal, well known for their ability to improvise, agreed to create the situation themselves.
The dialogue is improvised at the moment, with crazy situations such as the milk or the napkin that made the main cast of Friends a direct participant in the events.
Also, Matt LeBlanc got into the mix by improvising his question: “Are you the gynecologist?”, when Billy Crystal reveals his character’s dark secret. Courteney Cox also added the line “I have no idea” herself, which she closes the sequence by not remembering what she was going to tell.
Robin Williams and Billy Crystal’s cameo on Friends was, ironically, mutually beneficial. The series benefited from the presence of two established stars in comedy. The cameo aired just one day before A Big Mess hit US theaters. What better publicity than to appear in the fashion series?
The Friends anecdotes are extremely varied, from Bruce Willis’s “unpaid” cameo for a bet with Matthew Perry to the feud of david schwimmer with Maurice the monkey, something that continues to resonate today.
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The curious story behind the cameo of Billy Crystal and Robin Williams in Friends