Actress Quinta Brunson Calls Out Friends For Having ‘No Black Characters’


Quinta Brunson, the talented comedian and actress best known for her role in the Emmy-nominated series Abbott Elementary, recently took a bold stand by pointing out the conspicuous absence of Black characters in the beloved TV series Friends.

Brunson, who at 33 years old has made a significant mark in the entertainment industry, joined the prestigious ranks of celebrities who have had the honor of hosting Saturday Night Live (SNL). During her memorable SNL appearance, she didn’t miss the chance to humorously call out the iconic 90s sitcom.

In her engaging opening monologue, Brunson playfully reminisced about her aspirations to become a part of the SNL family in the past. She candidly shared how the audition process seemed lengthy and challenging. Instead of persevering through that process, she opted for a different route – creating her very own television show. Her ingenuity and talent led to the show’s remarkable popularity and a collection of coveted Emmy awards, ultimately resulting in her being invited to host SNL. With a touch of humor, she quipped, “So much easier, so much easier.”

But the comedic brilliance didn’t stop there. Brunson went on to offer a glimpse into the premise of her show, Abbott Elementary, where she cleverly juxtaposed it with Friends. While Friends famously revolved around a group of pals in New York, Abbott Elementary centers on a group of dedicated teachers in Philadelphia. However, the key distinction lies in the diversity of Abbott Elementary, which proudly features Black characters, a stark contrast to Friends’ predominantly non-white actors in smaller roles.

This critique of Friends is part of a broader conversation about representation in the entertainment industry. Friends has faced scrutiny in recent times for its limited inclusion of non-white actors, primarily in minor roles. Marta Kauffman, one of the co-creators of Friends, addressed this criticism during an interview with the Los Angeles Times. She candidly acknowledged her own journey of learning and self-reflection, expressing her embarrassment at not recognizing the issue earlier and acknowledging her own role in perpetuating systemic racism. As a step toward making amends, Kauffman committed to donating a substantial sum of $4 million (£3.2 million) to establish an endowed chair for the African and African American studies department at her alma mater.

However, not everyone associated with Friends shares the same perspective. Lisa Kudrow, renowned for her portrayal of Phoebe in the show, defended Kauffman and her co-creator David Crane during an interview with The Daily Beast. Kudrow argued that Friends was essentially a product of its creators’ experiences, primarily two individuals who attended Brandeis University and drew inspiration from their post-college lives. She suggested that delving into experiences related to people of color wasn’t within their purview.

Jennifer Aniston, another iconic figure from the Friends cast, added her perspective to the ongoing discussion. She noted that there is a new generation of viewers who now find the show “offensive” due to its lack of diversity and nuanced representation.

In conclusion, Quinta Brunson’s witty commentary during her SNL appearance has reignited a dialogue about representation in the entertainment industry, specifically addressing the issue of diversity in iconic shows like Friends. This discourse underscores the importance of inclusivity and the evolving expectations of viewers in today’s world.