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Lisa Kudrow Actually Hated This Part Of Phoebe's Character From Friends

Even in a crowd of quirky characters, Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow) is a standout on "Friends." Unlike the rest of them, her background includes rough years living on the streets, learning French behind a dumpster, and landing in jail. She's emerged with an outlook on life that's both jaded and innocent. In one scene, she tells her friends about the time she stabbed a cop as if it were no big deal. In another, she proudly announces she's pregnant with her brother's babies (neglecting to mention she's acting as a surrogate).

Known for her unusual take on ordinary circumstances — and always ready with a ditzy non-sequitur — Phoebe makes an impression anytime she shows up. And while she's not always completely appropriate, she's hardly unlikeable. So it's surprising that Kudrow wasn't entirely on board for the role when she auditioned. There was one particular aspect of the character she just couldn't appreciate. It didn't mesh with her real-life personality, and she didn't want to do it. But there was no getting around the fact that if Phoebe was going all in, Kudrow would have to do the same — or risk losing the role to another contender.

Kudrow lacked guitar skills

In hindsight, it seems like destiny that Kudrow would land the role of Phoebe. But when she went for the part, she was up against heavy hitters including Jane Lynch and Kathy Griffin, according to MentalFloss. Did either of those actors know how to play the guitar? The answer is unclear, but we do know that Kudrow didn't. And that was the problem. Phoebe has a regular gig playing original songs at Central Perk on "Friends." Any actor who played her was going to have to play the guitar, too.

When Kudrow was cast despite her lack of guitar skills, she had to take lessons to learn the instrument. Unfortunately, they didn't work out so well. "I didn't like the guitar. I wasn't getting it," she said in an interview (via YouTube). "So I think I even asked, 'What if (Phoebe) plays the bongos?'"

The producers weren't thrilled with the idea, though, and Kudrow kept going for as long as she could.

Quitting was the best thing she ever did

Kudrow's guitar lessons didn't last long and not just because she wasn't into it. The problem was as she improved, Phoebe's musical scenes deteriorated. They just weren't funny anymore. The comedy wasn't there. After all, Phoebe was never meant to be a guitar virtuoso. "I don't know the actual names for the chords," she says in one scene (via YouTube), "but I made up names for the way my hand looks when I'm doing them."

If Phoebe wasn't supposed to be good, that meant Kudrow wasn't either. After learning a few chords, she quit her lessons, declaring she had plenty to make her character work. And as any "Friends" fan can attest, she was right. Kudrow may have hated her lessons, and quitting them certainly led to limited skills. In the end, however, that was the secret to her success — and countless silly songs including "Sticky Shoes," "The Cow in the Meadow Goes Moo," and, of course, that iconic earworm, "Smelly Cat."