"I've seen every episode of Friends 100 times" you tell yourself. Surely it's easy to list every single cameo from the classic American sitcom. Brad Pitt, Alec Baldwin, Julia Roberts- you could keep naming celebs forever, right? But I bet there are some big names that you missed. Perhaps you'd never heard of them when they had their small role, or maybe you didn't even notice they were there despite many repeat viewings. Here are some #celebrities who were in #Friends before they got big.
1. Tahj Mowry
You might most recognise adult Tahj from the US sitcom Baby Daddy, but he was also a bit of a child star. Tahj was frequently on the Disney Channel in various family films and TV shows. He had long running roles in the sitcoms Full House and Smart Guy, and he was also a voice actor for the cartoon Kim Possible.
You can find young Tahj in 'The One After The Superbowl: Part 1'. He played one of the children who gives Phoebe the nickname 'the lady who tells the truth' because of the educational songs that she played for them. Her lyrics contained essential stuff that kids need to learn about, like how animals are slaughtered for consumption and the harrowing fact that we're all going to die.
2. Fred Willard
This guy has been in a lot (currently 300 credits on IMDB), so it's no surprise that he had a small role in Friends too. What will you recognise him from? Perhaps most recognisable as Phil Dunphy's dad in Modern Family, but he's also been In Wall-E, Anchorman, Everybody Loves Raymond and much more!
Willard also appears in 'The One After The Superbowl'. He plays Mr. Lipson, a zoo administrator who tells Ross that Marcel, his pet monkey, has died. Whilst not a hugely comedic role Willard manages to embellish the character with a jazzy tie borrowed from the set of Saved By The Bell.
3. Dan Castellaneta
Homer, Krusty the Clown, Barney Gumble and Grandpa Simpson. This guy is the voice of some of the most iconic cartoon characters of all time. Do I even need to mention his other credits? I will anyway. Some of his credits include Parks and Recreation, Futurama and Hey Arnold!
In Friends he plays the part of a zoo employee who blows the whistle on the zoo's funny business. Didn't the zoo say that Marcel was dead? Well, as Dan says in the show, 'Do you believe everything the zoo tells you?'.
4. Jane Lynch
Jane Lynch is best known for her being Sue Sylvester in Glee. Outside of Glee she is a successful comedy performer and has acted in 40 year old virgin, Best In Show, Role Models and Two and a Half Men.
In the final season of Friends, in an episode titled The One Where Estelle Dies, Lynch plays a realtor called Ellen. Don't feel bad if you didn't notice the Glee star in that episode because Maggie Wheeler steals the show as the returning character Janice. Oh. My. God.
5. Ben Shephard
Ben Shephard was in the American sitcom Friends? British TV presenter Ben Shephard? Host of the game show inspired by a 2p arcade machine Ben Shephard? Apparently so. Some fans claim to have spotted Ben as an extra in the scene where Chandler goes to Joey's movie premiere (and then falls asleep!).
So is this actually Ben? After a fan had tweeted him a screenshot of the scene that he's allegedly in, Ben actually responded via Twitter saying 'ahh happy day'. Is this Ben subtly acknowledging that this is him? It's unclear. I personally would love to believe that it's him, although it begs the question why would the British TV personality appear on the American show for such a small role? This isn't the first time a British TV presenter claims to have had a minor part in Friends. Philip Scholefield has taken credit for his role in an episode, as he explains in an interview with Matthew Perry. It turns out that Philip was just as a member of the show's studio audience and he believes that his distinctive laugh can be heard in the background of a Joey and Rachel scene.
6. Anne Dudek
Anne Dudek has played very versatile characters, from a self-assured doctor in the TV show House to a spoilt rich girl in the film White Chicks. Her other credits include The Flash and Mad Men.
She plays Precious, Mike's girlfriend who gets dumped by him on her birthday so that he can reunite with Phoebe. Coincidentally, she later played a character in the sitcom How I Met Your Mother who also gets dumped on her birthday. The poor girl can't catch a break! Another intriguing fact is that Dudeck isn't the only House cast member to act in Friends; co-star Hugh Laurie also played a character who sat beside Rachel on a flight to London. I wonder if they ever talked about their experiences on the show during their time on House.
7. Kyle Gass
This is not the greatest cameo in the world, no, this is just a tribute. Kyle Gass is most famously known as one half of the comedy rock group Tenacious D. The most successful song produced by the rockin' duo is Tribute that has made it into a top 10 charts. Jack Black and Kyle Gass also worked together in writing and producing the film Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny.
Kyle has a brilliant role as a mugger who attempts to rob Phoebe and Ross. Phoebe recognises the mugger as an old friend named Lowell and the two end up sharing a hug and exchanging fond memories. Ross seems much less ecstatic about the coincidental meeting.
8. Brian Posehn
Brian Posehn might be most recognisable as Aziz Ansari's tall friend in the Netflix series Master of None. Brian stands at a whopping 6' 7" compared to Aziz who is only 5' 6". Although the pair have a big difference in size, they could not be any more alike in terms of the comedy and realism that they bring the show. Brian is also a successful comedian and has acted in a wide variety of TV shows and films.
In Friends you may have noticed a much younger (and clean shaven) Brian delivering a script to Joey. Unfortunately for Joey the Days of Our Lives script contains a scene in which his character, Dr. Drake Ramoray dies by falling down an elevator shaft.
9. Janet Hubert
Janet Hubert is undoubtedly most renowned for her role as Vivian Banks, the mother in 90's sitcom The Fresh Prince of Belair. Unfortunately for Hubert, she was cut from the role after the 3rd season for an apparent violation of her contract. According to Will Smith the two had difficulties working together prior to this.
Hubert maintains the strong female persona from Fresh Prince in her role as Chandler Bing's boss. She has a pretty important part as the character who makes him move to Tulsa, and in one hilarious scene Chandler accidentally insults her daughter by thinking her daughter was male. He manages to save it by saying: "I like a girl with a strong jaw", although he's so embarrassed by the whole conversation that he decides to back down and move to Tulsa anyway.
10. Doug Benson
Doug Benson's career has come on in leaps and bounds since coming 6th in the reality talent competition Last Comic Standing (being beaten by Amy Schumer who came in 4th). Doug is a unique comedian who has made a career from being an advocate for marijuana usage. His CV includes: his film about marijuana, Super High Me, his own TV show where he settles legal disputes whilst high, The High Court With Doug Benson, and his successful Youtube channel where he interviews celebrities whilst high, Getting Doug With High.
Benson's part in friends is fairly small. Rachel is trying to win the affections of new neighbour Danny, but he sets her up with Benson's character instead. Benson say that his mum calls Bloomingdales "Bloomies". Knowing what what we know about Benson, could he have been high on the set of Friends? We might never know. Interestingly, Benson is also one of many actors who have appeared in How I Met Your Mother as well as Friends.
11. Jim O'Heir
Jim O'Heir is one of those actors who will always be known by the one character that they played. David Schwimmer will always be Ross. James Michael Taylor will always be Gunther. Jim O' Heir will always be Jerry. Just in case you've never seen Parks and Recreation, Jerry is gawky employee at a small town government building who is relentlessly teased by the other employees. It sounds mean, but you might have to watch it to understand why.
You may not have noticed that Jim is also they guy who works at the adoption place in Friends. Granted, he looks a bit different without the trademark white hair, but his character makes a pretty big mistake by pairing up the pregnant Erika with the wrong people, and that is ironically a very Jerry thing to do!
12. Chris Parnell
From one Jerry to another. Chris Parnell is the voice behind Jerry Smith, the hilarious and pitiful dad in the adult cartoon series Rick and Morty. He's also in a lot of other cool stuff. His credits include Archer, The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show, 30 Rock and 21 Jump Street.
So Jerry Smith was in friends? Yes. In his younger days he played one of Chandler Bing's co-workers. His character thought Chandler's name was Toby, and Chandler was too Chandlery to correct him. In fact, Chandler decided to screw him over for a promotion just to avoid an awkward conversation.
13. Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson has made a big name for himself in the comedy world. He's acted in comedies such as This Is The End, Hot Tub Time Machine and Pineapple Express. Arguably his best role was as long-running character Darryl Philbin in the hit US show The Office.
Daryl- sorry- unnamed clerk, helps Phoebe change her name in the Friends episode titld: The One With Princess Consuela. In the interview above Robinson discusses about how nice Lisa Kudrow was and how she gave him the confidence to pitch an idea for a joke that eventually made it into the show.
Ultimately being in an episode of Friends in any capacity sounds like an amazing experience. In order to make the best show the producers obviously took casting very seriously for the bigger and smaller parts. Therefore, it's no surprise that many of the talented people who made it onto the show went on to do some really amazing things. Next time you're watching a show pay close attention to the minor characters, because you never know where you're going to see them next.
Let me know in the comments if any of these celeb's appearances came as a shock to you!