Lisa Kudrow: Actress and Biology Major

Studio 360

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In the five years since the smash hit sitcom "Friends" went off of the air, Kudrow has kept acting, including in an online series called that she created called "Web Therapy."  Right now she is playing a mom in a new movie called "Band Slam."

"’Band Slam’ is, to me, about this boy, Will, who doesn’t really fit in.  The heartbreaking thing is that he’s smart enough to know he doesn’t fit in…And he also knows that he is not going to try on some persona to try to fit or find an identity.  He just is who he is, and he probably won’t fit in.  And I play his mother.  The good thing is that he knows who he is, and so you know he is going to be okay, because he seems sort of confident.  At least about that."

Kudrow says that the character of Will was pretty similar to her at the same age.  She did take time to study, which put her on the path to Vassar College, where she majored in biology, rather than acting.  She says, ""I didn’t act at all — in high school, college.  I wouln’t have any part of it."

She was drawn to biology because her father was a doctor, and also due to a high-school interest in the potential for biology to, as Kudrow puts it, "unlocking all of the mysteries of humanity."

After graduation, the transition to the acting world started.  While driving around, she heard radio commercials for sitcoms.  Upon hearing poor deliveries of punchlines, she made mental notes about how she would deliver those same lines.

"It kept happening, so I finally just surrendered, and said, ‘Alright.  I am going to give it a try.’  And Jon Lovitz is my brother’s best friend, I grew up with him.  He had just gotten on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and I thought, ‘Oh, okay, so it is not some miracle that happens to certain people born under a lucky star.’  He really inspired me to pursue it."

Lovitz sent Kudrow to the Groundlings improv company in Los Angeles.  Soon after, the massively popular NBC sitcom, "Friends," followed.

Kudrow says that she doesn’t have a favorite episode of the landmark series.

"While I do like it when I see it, and I end up laughing and saying, ‘Oh God, it really was a funny show,’ I don’t remember one episode.  It’s brand-almost-new.  I really don’t remember.  After I’m done, working on something, it’s done.  I’ve almost purged it from my memory, and moved on to the next thing."

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