Jennifer Aniston suggests ‘Friends’ would have been different with modern sensitivities

The kids today can’t hang at Central Perk, Jennifer Aniston kinda-sorta implied in a recent interview with Agence France-Press, the French newswire agency. The 54-year-old star of the upcoming Netflix release “Murder Mystery 2” (much of which was shot on location in Paris) was discussing the changing attitudes toward comedy.

“It’s a little tricky because you have to be very careful, which makes it really hard for comedians, because the beauty of comedy is that we make fun of ourselves, make fun of life,” she said. 

Reflecting on the past, she said, “You could joke about a bigot and have a laugh—that was hysterical. And it was about educating people on how ridiculous people were. And now we’re not allowed to do that.”

She continued, “There’s a whole generation of people, kids, who are now going back to episodes of ‘Friends’ and find them offensive. There were things that were never intentional and others… well, we should have thought it through—but I don’t think there was a sensitivity like there is now.”

She ultimately reflected, “Everybody needs funny! The world needs humor! We can’t take ourselves too seriously. Especially in the United States. Everyone is far too divided.”

“Friends,” the wildly popular 1990s sitcom in which she starred, remains a top draw on streaming services. In 2019 both Vulture and The Guardian wrote about its success with 20-year-olds of the time.

But a lot has changed between 2019 and 2023. There is no shortage of articles like this one published recently listing the ways that the daffy 90s sitcom was either “problematic” or “cringe.” When Aniston’s interview was published, she became a trending topic on Twitter, during which time she received what is commonly known as a “dunking.” Indeed, some might suggest that she was owned. 

“Friends” was nominated for 62 Primetime Emmys during its 10-season run from 1994 to 2004. It won the Best Comedy Series award for Season 8. Aniston won Best Comedy Actress the same year. She won the Golden Globe the following year. 

Upon its release in 2019, the Aniston and Adam Sandler-led comedy “Murder Mystery” broke viewing records for Netflix. It remains the 17th most-watched original film on the Big Red Streamer’s platform, with the sequel poised to knock it down a few notches this weekend.

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