I’ve seen every episode of Friends, in good times and bad. And, yet, I can never seem to fully remember that Paul Rudd was on the show. That he is in fact an integral part of the show and who Phoebe ends up with. She marries the adorable Mike and they live happily ever after.
But that actually wasn’t supposed to be the case.
Back in the early times of season one, Phoebe meets and falls for David, a scientist who leaves her to go do science things in Minsk. He returns and asks for her hand in marriage, leading to Mike also proposing. She chooses neither, but eventually accepts Mike’s proposal. But this was not the original endgame, according to Hank Azaria, who played David.
Responding to whether he knew it would be the end of David’s arc when he went to Minsk, Azaria told HuffPost, “No, I didn’t know that was the end of David. The plan always was kind of to bring him back.”
David does return in a small capacity on the show, but Azaria specifically meant that he was under the impression Phoebe and David would end up together.
“I think, honestly, what happened was Paul Rudd is so awesome that they sort of found a groove with him and [my character] became more of just the grist for that mill,” said Azaria, who added, “As opposed to the other way around.”
We all love Hank Azaria. He’s a glorious gem of a human. But…like…we get it. And so does Azaria.
“[Paul Rudd’s] a handsome devil. He’s actually annoyingly handsome. He shouldn’t really be allowed to be that handsome. He’s like the Tom Brady of comedy.”
We know. Le sigh.