Jennifer Aniston thinks that evolutions in humor and culture have made comedy “really hard for comedians.” Joining the litany of comics who have made rallying against “wokeness” a talking point in recent years, the Friends star claimed that audiences used to be less sensitive, and now a “whole generation” finds the beloved ‘90s sitcom offensive.
“Comedy has evolved, movies have evolved,” Aniston told AFP in Paris. “[In the past] you could joke about a bigot and have a laugh — that was hysterical. It was about educating people on how ridiculous people were. And now we’re not allowed to do that.”
The 54-year-old actor supposed that “there’s a whole generation of people, kids, who are going back to episodes of Friends and find them offensive.” Defending the show, she said: “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.”
Ironically, Friends is still extremely popular, especially with Gen Z, which makes her claims a bit harder to swallow. At the same time, there have been genuine critiques of Friends in recent years… but contrary to Aniston’s statements, the criticism doesn’t center on any bold, controversial, or edgy content, but instead on the show’s lack of diversity.
Last summer, Friends-creator Marta Kauffman admitted to “having bought into systemic racism” in regards to the show and her longtime defense of its almost entirely white cast. In an effort to begin making things right, she donated $4 million to her alma mater Brandeis University’s African-American studies department.
Another Friends star, Lisa Kudrow, also called out the show’s poor representation, saying that the white writing staff had “no business writing stories about the experiences of being a person of color.” The problem, in her eyes, was a lack of apprenticeship, which would’ve brought more non-white voices into the show.
While Aniston’s “educating people on how ridiculous people were” defense doesn’t really apply to that critique, at least there’s still room for the Friends creators to admit to mistakes and try to improve moving forward… especially since its enduring popularity and acclaim likely won’t die any time soon.
As for Aniston, she’s set to star alongside Adam Sandler in the comedic Murder Mystery 2, which will premiere March 31st on Netflix. Read about the movie and watch the trailer here.