Lisa Kudrow is best known for playing the sorta-ditzy, sorta-brilliant Phoebe Buffay on the sitcom Friends. But during the 10 years since the series wrapped, she hasn't been idle. When she spoke with Kurt Andersen in 2009, Kudrow had created the pioneering online comedy series Web Therapy. Kudrow plays a therapist who conducts her sessions over video chat. That series got picked up by Showtime, and is now in its fourth season.
At the same time, Kudrow is starring in The Comeback, about a sitcom actress who's fallen off the A-list and is doing a reality show in the hopes of reviving her career. The Comeback may have had the longest hiatus in TV history --- nine years elapsed between its first and second seasons. She calls the show "one of the most fulfilling things I've ever done because I was allowed to write it," along with Michael Patrick King (Sex and the City).
Kudrow majored in biology in college and didn't consider acting until after she had graduated. She would catch herself critiquing new sitcoms. "I'd hear the delivery of a joke or a line and I'd think, '[They're] pushing it too hard,'" she recalls. "It just kept happening and so I finally just surrendered and said, 'All right, I'm going to give it a try.'"
(Originally aired August 21, 2009)