Lisa Kudrow Loved Playing Mean on 'Cougar Town'

It's been six years since Lisa Kudrow last traded jokes with Courteney Cox on the small screen. And while Friends' Phoebe Buffay and Monica Gellar had occasional differences (Phoebe firing overly strict Monica as her wedding planner comes to mind!), the two opposites were always close pals. But in her guest appearance on Cox's hit ABC sitcom Cougar Town tonight, Kudrow's claws are out. The 46-year-old Emmy winner plays a mean-spirited dermatologist who is determined to break down the cheery and optimistic Jules (Cox.) In this exclusive interview, Kudrow talks to iVillage about playing a bully, and she also opened up about being a mom and what it was like to reunite professionally with an old Friend.

How was it working with Courteney again?
It was great.

Was your friendship with her the reason you wanted to do the show?
Oh yeah -- and I like the show. It was fun.

Obviously on Friends your characters were pals. What was it like to be mean to her on camera?
That was fun, to be the insensitive, mean person. And it was funny.

Could it turn into a recurring role?
I don't think so. I think it's just one.

On Cougar Town, Courteney's character is more like a friend to her teenage son than a mother. Are you like that with your 11-year old, Julian?
No, I'm definitely his mother. It's like I can't get him to tell me anything. I say, "How was school?" "The same." I'm like, "Okay...."

He's approaching adolescence. Are you nervous about him starting to date?
No, I can't wait for it. Although it's tough. If someone hurts your child, you want revenge. So it's hard to be an evolved, big person under those circumstances.

You've been married to your husband, Michel Stern, for 14 years. What's your secret?
It's a commitment. And you just have to be patient during the hard times and know that the good times are coming around soon. The pros outweigh the cons for sure.

How do you make time to reconnect?
Well, the best for us is when we can have dinner together and just talk.

Obviously you're off the market, but if you were single, would you be a "cougar"?
No. I don't think I could pull it off at all.

Some people find the term offensive. What do you think?
I don't know. I guess it's sort of what most men are when they're older and going after younger women. So now it's older women who are predatory with younger men. But offensive? No, I don't think so. If you are one, and you're proud of it, there's no reason to be offended. And if you're not one, who cares?

Fans are dying to know: Any chance of a Friends reunion?
Well, I wouldn't be the only one not to do it. That's for sure. But I don't see it happening. I don't know when that would happen. I don't know if it's because the cast is not interested, but it's -- you know, who would write it and how would it work? It's gotta start somewhere.

Are you still friends with your old castmates?
I've run into almost everybody, or had lunch with or talked on the phone at some point. But everyone's busy.

You played Phoebe's famous song "Smelly Cat" while onstage with Courteney at the Rock a Little Feed a Lot benefit in September. What was it like to revisit the song?
It was fun. I hadn't sung that song since Friends. So that was really weird. It was a surprise -- we were waiting for Sheryl Crow and the director said, "Okay, take questions." And I'm the one who called on that guy who said, "Sing 'Smelly Cat!'" I was just paralyzed. And then Courteney said, "Oh yeah, she can. Here's a guitar!" And I did it. I'm happy I did it. You can't say no to that. 

Do you think your fans still see you as Phoebe?
Yeah, sure. [People on the street say,] "Hey, Phoebe!" It's nice.

Do you enjoy that, or do you wish you could move on?
No, no. It's fine. That's nice. I still feel like I do enough other things to keep me interested. It's not really holding me back and it's a nice thing.

Which Friends character do you think you're most like in real life?
Gosh, really? Maybe Ross.

Tune in to Cougar Town on ABC at 9:30 p.m.

Are you still hoping for a Friends reunion? Chime in below!

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