I Counted All The Black Characters In “Friends” And Here They Are

I Counted All The Black Characters In “Friends” And Here They Are

It may not be important to you but it is to me.

I am obsessed with Friends, I’ve watched each episode at least 50 times in my life. And as a Black person, whenever a Black character appeared on the show, it was practically burned into my brain because of how excited I was to see someone who looked like me. And with reunion finally out, I thought it was the perfect time to list all of the Black characters that have featured in Friends – so here we go!

1.

Charlie Wheeler


NBC

Season 9, Episode 20
It’s impossible to start this list without mentioning Charlie Wheeler. Aisha Tyler starred in a whopping nine episodes, which is the second longest run for a POC character in Friends (the first being Julie). Dated both Joey and Ross, then left Ross for a more good looking, richer, smarter guy – what an absolute role model.

2.

Kristen Leigh


NBC

Season 7, Episode 17
Again another queen who dated both Joey and Ross and left them for dust. Kristen is unfortunately a one-episode wonder but because it’s the forever ageless Gabrielle Union who plays her, it is still an absolutely iconic moment.

3.

Rhonda


NBC

Season 4, Episode 11

“I’m Rhonda and these aren’t real” a queen, an icon – these words are burned into my brain forever. Rhonda stood up and shouted this quote while tackling the hard issue of museum segregation – a true woman of the people.

4.

Pudding Cup


NBC

Season 4, Episode 11

And I have to give a special shoutout to the man that Rhonda used to share her pudding cups with as a child but now pretends she doesn’t exist. Men will always embarrass you.

5.

Steve


NBC

Season 9, Episode 11

It’s hard to look at Phil Lewis and see him as anything but Mr. Moseby from Suite Life of Zack And Cody, but he is great at playing Steve (Chandler’s boss) and looking at Chandler like he’s lost his mind.

6.

Jordan


NBC

Season 9 Episode 15
“It’s USA sir” – Jordan, an intern who Chandler competed with for a job, was another person who looked at him like he’d lost his mind. This tends to be a running theme with any Black characters that interact with Chandler throughout the entire show’s running.

7.

Cal


NBC

Season 3 Episode 7
Cal (aka Nick The Boxer) really demonstrated in this episode that as a Black man you need to work twice as hard to get what you want because your non-Black counterpart will do their best to tear you down. To refresh your memories, Joey and Cal were auditioning for the same role and Joey attempted to sabotage Cal’s audition. Cal was clearly talented and let’s not kid ourselves – Joey Tribbiani isn’t exactly the best actor.

8.

The Director


NBC

Season 3 Episode 12
White male privilege is lying on your CV and getting put front in line with a team of actual professionals behind you, and that’s exactly what happened in this episode with Joey and “The Director”. Can you say “Jazz hands?!”

9.

Ms. Elaine McKenna


NBC

Season 9 Episode 2
Janet Hubert will always be Aunt Viv to me, no matter what she stars in. Here she is another one of Chandler’s bosses, and also another example of a Black character looking at Chandler like he’s losing his marbles. But let’s not forget –Chandler not only gets her name wrong, he then also mistakes her daughter for a boy.

10.

“The Singing Man”


NBC

Season 4 Episode 19
“Morning’s here, the morning is here, sunshine is here, the sky is clear, the morning’s here, get into gear, breakfast is near, the dark of night has disappeared!”. This song was an anthem, Grammy-worthy if I’m being honest, and Rachel should have appreciated her morning wake ups more. “The Singing Man” single-handedly changed the meaning of mornings forever.

11.

Gary


NBC

Season 7, Episode 9
“It’s candy time” is something I know shout every time I go to the cinema while I’m picking up my snacks for the movie. Gary knocking on Monica’s door at what I assume is three in the morning for more treats (because why not?) is the level of confidence I aim to have in life. This episode stands out because it’s one of the rare times we actually see other people in the apartment building other than the main gang. Shoutout to “Smokes A Lot Lady” and Mr. Heckles.

12.

The Fireman


NBC

Season 7 Episode 12
Jason George has been fine and will always be fine and looks especially fine as a fireman. I would also break my fire alarm if it meant he would turn up to my house at four in the morning.

13.

The Man


NBC

Season 7, Episode 10
Maybe I should do another post called “Black characters that look at the Friends cast like they’re insane” because here’s another classic example. Where “The Man” doesn’t have a big speaking role, the face says it all when Ross asks him for a Santa suit a couple days before Christmas.

14.

Kid


NBC

Season 2, Episode 12

Tahj Mowry will always be the CUTEST boy on TV even though he’s 35 now. You’ll remember him as the boy that wanted to know more about the truth after Phoebe has sings songs to kindergarteners about what life is really about. He starred in Friends the year before he shot to fame with the Disney classic Smart Guy. Look at those adorable ears!

15.

Charla Nichols


NBC

Season 3, episode 10
Til this day, I’ve never heard someone use the word “Scrud” as an insult but Kyla Pratt saying it to Ross for literally breaking a little girl’s leg is iconic. Look at the attitude from this screenshot alone, you don’t want to mess with her.

16.

Teacher


NBC

Season 8, Episode 10

Phoebe has done many outrageous things on this show but I think her pretending to be one of Ben’s mothers just to somehow get Sting wife’s number for Sting tickets is definitely one of the wildest. Not a thought out plan, but definitely gutsy, and Tammy Townsend’s role as Ben’s teacher in this ep may have been small, but her curls live in my mind forever.

17.

Mr. Tyler


NBC

Season 8, Episode 21
I think I’ve now officially lost count of how many Black characters have given Chandler this exact look – they really are at the end of their tether with this man. After extensive training with Phoebe in this episode, Chandler, a thirty-something year-old man, could not side-step the word “duties” because it sounds close to “doo doo”. God help him.

18.

Paula


NBC

Season 1, Episode 3
Jennifer Lewis was the first Black character introduced in Friends and to be honest the casting was perfect. Obviously my hope was that this was only the start of prominent Black characters being in the show, and that I wouldn’t have to write this list, but for now I’ll settle and enjoy this performance of her telling Monica to get that D.

19.

“The Dancing Girl”


NBC

Season 6, Episode 10
This episode contains the routine (IYKYK) so it will always be one of my favourite episodes of all time. Part of why I love it so much the the fact that Joey is forced to dance with this highly energetic dancer, who he just couldn’t keep up with – shocker.

20.

“The Waiter”


NBC

Season 7, Episode 11
“LOBSTER RAVIOLI” – Please treat your servers better than Joey treated this poor waiter. Never shout at people just doing their job.

21.

“Man”


NBC

Season 2, Episode 22
TMI but I have a thing for moustaches so it’s no surprise that Lewis Dix Jr.’s appearance in this episode has been stored in my brain forever. Side note, this is always one of my favourite episodes because I also used to have multiple birthday parties to accommodate different friendship groups as a child.

22.

The Librarian


NBC

Season 7, Episode 7
So far, which Black character has looked at a Friends cast member the craziest? The Librarian is probably in the Top 5. Oh I do love that this is a running theme – the gang do get themselves in ridiculous situations and need to be checked for them.

23.

“Knockers”


NBC

Season 7, Episode 15

“Knockers” is a Black woman used for her large breasts to determine whether the man in front of her is gay or not – it’s a plot line as terrible and ridiculous as it sounds, and I think about it at least once a week.

24.

Security Guard


NBC

Season 2, Episode 12

I think this is it, the Number One entry in faces that say “These White People Must Be Out Of Their Mind”. Here Ross asks to get on a movie set, not because he’s hired, not because he wants to become an actor, but because he used to know the monkey – I think this facial reaction is warranted to be honest.

25.

The Casting Director


NBC

Season 9, Episode 15

Guys, there’s THREE Black people in this episode, a whole THREE! They were really feeding us this day. Also, Jeff Goldblum is in this episode, making it one of the best ever – representation AND the internet’s Zaddy. I couldn’t ask for more…except more recurring POC cast-mates, of course.

26.

Mattress King Delivery Guy


NBC

Season 3, Episode 7

Apart from his comical “Here ye, Here ye”, this delivery guy stands out in my mind because he makes Phoebe look like a child next to him.

27.

Child looking at Chandler


NBC

Season 2, Episode 12
A no-lines icon, and probably the youngest character to give Chandler a bizarre look, the Child Looking At Chandler, is one of my favourite Friends appearances. For once though, I feel like this look is out of admiration for Chandler – there’s a fondness in his eyes, right?

Any Black characters in Friends I missed? Let me know in the comments below!

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