This Throwback Thursday #TBT TV edition takes us to June of 2005. It was a year after the final episode of Friends, and all of the friends had moved on to other projects with varying degrees of success. Lisa Kudrow teamed up with Dan Bucatinsky and Sex and the City’s Michael Patrick King to create the HBO comedy series The Comeback, starring Kudrow as Valerie Cherish, a fading actress who becomes an icon again thanks to a reality TV series that documents her attempt at a serious career revival (it’s all very meta). As Kudrow points out in this new interview with Channel Guide Magazine’s Lori Acken, The Comeback was too far ahead of its time. It was canceled after one 13-episode season.
Valerie Cherish then: HBO and viewers have finally caught up, and The Comeback is making a comeback with Season 2 (HBO’s team of lawyers say it’s OK to call it Season 2) premiering Sunday, Nov. 9, at 10pm ET/PT.
Valerie Cherish now:
Here’s the interview Channel Guide Magazine‘s Barb Oates did with Kudrow back in 2005 for the initial incarnation of The Comeback:
LISA KUDROW: Back In The Spotlight
By Barb Oates
What does a washed-up TV star do to regain fame? She signs up for a reality series that exposes the world to the madness of television, her Beverly Hills lifestyle and, ultimately, the humiliating experiences of a woman slowly sinking. Make no mistake, this is scripted TV — Lisa Kudrow portrays Valerie Cherish in HBO’s newest comedy series The Comeback, debuting June 5. The sitcom pairs Kudrow with Sex and the City veteran Michael Patrick as creators and executive producers. So is Kudrow a fan of the genre in which her character is immersed? You bet. Here’s what she had to say.
Do you watch any reality shows?
Lisa Kudrow: Yeah. … Although, I don’t have to see any of them, but sometimes The Amazing Race, The Apprentice.
What one do you think you would do best at if you could actually participate?
None of them. No. I’d quit.
What on TV makes you laugh?
People who just don’t have a clue of how [they are] coming off. “Are you kidding? Look at how you are behaving …” That’s the stuff that I’m fascinated with. In a sense, it’s just like watching a car accident. It’s like, “What’d you do? You signed up, so the whole world could see you vomit and cry?”
You went from “Friends,” where the work was spread among an ensemble, to “The Comeback,” which is a lot of you. Has it been somewhat daunting?
No. At first, going into it, I thought, “What did I do? I’m in every scene, that’s not good.” But it was OK, because it was so much fun.
Do you enjoy being a redhead [as her character requires]?
Yeah. It’s fun. I was surprised that it looked OK.
After you finished “Friends,” did you stay in bed late, or did you get up and go to work and start thinking about what’s next?
I had already started [working] with our TV production company, so I was already busy with that, and, you know, I have a child [she has a 7-year-old son] so we don’t sleep late. I was kind of busy already. I had done a little independent film, so it was just the exact right amount of busy.
What do you enjoy about being a mom?
Oh my God. Really? What do I enjoy? Wow. How do you put it into words? For me, my son kind of gives my life a whole other meaning. Meaning, period. That’s what it is. Good God, just watching who they are, figuring out who they are.
Will he ever get a brother or sister some day?
Well, he doesn’t want one.
Can you talk about “Happy Endings” (debuts in theaters this July) and the character you portrayed?
That’s a sad woman. I guess I’m interested in women who tell lies to themselves or tell stories to themselves in order to cope, to get through the hard stuff. That’s always where I was headed for with all the characters I’d do and sketch comedy — that’s what’s funny to me, and tragic at the same time. People who don’t have a clue who they are. With Happy Endings, it’s a woman who’s damaged, who thinks she’s fixing it, but she’s not.
Photos: Credit: John P. Johnson/HBO