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There are many things about Friends that fans still enjoy thinking about to this day, even if they haven't religiously comfort binged the series in many years. And, a lot of those things were probably discussed on the long-awaited special, Friends: The Reunion, which finally dropped toward the end of May. The cast made some great reveals during their reunion, but it turns out that David Schwimmer's comments about Ross' pet monkey, Marcel, really rubbed the animal trainer the wrong way. Now, after Schwimmer's blunt monkey comments, that trainer is speaking out.
While many fans were enjoying seeing everyone back together again, loving how Jennifer Aniston leaned into one of her signature Rachel Green looks, and being shocked by one of Matthew Perry's reveals, they also heard David Schwimmer discuss his relatively short time working with the monkeys who played Marcel on the series. And, what he had to say was not good. Now, the trainer for the two capuchin monkeys who worked on Friends for eight episodes during Season 1, Mike Morris, is opening up about Schwimmer's comments. Morris told The U.S. Sun:
I have never ever watched Friends because of Schwimmer’s comments about the monkeys. I have refused to ever since he did an interview after the animals got written out of the show and he said they tried to bite him and throw poop at him. They didn’t do any of that. None of it is true, when I was there none of that ever happened. I didn’t speak out back then but I am now.
Of course, I didn’t watch the reunion interview but I heard from others what Schwimmer said. I just don’t agree with it, if anything he threw off their timing if we want to be truthful.
OK, so, if you haven't watched Friends: The Reunion just yet, here's what happened to set this off. During the session, the cast was asked what they disliked doing while on Friends for those 10, incredibly successful seasons. Courteney Cox revealed that she was "scared' of their furry primate co-star, but when Aniston said that she "loved" the monkey, Schwimmer cut in to note that it was likely "because you didn't have to touch it!"
Schwimmer then went on to talk about several aspects of working with Katie and Monkey, who shared the duty of playing Marcel on Friends, and claimed that the animals often missed their marks and messed up his timing on the series, along with eating live grubs while sitting on his shoulder and getting their "grubby hands all over" him. As Mike Morris noted, Schwimmer's earlier comments about working with the animals had already annoyed him so much that he's never watched Friends, but after holding his tongue about the actor's thoughts on Katie and Monkey, he could no longer put off responding.
Mike Morris went on, and explained what he sees as the real issue behind David Schwimmer's dislike of the Marcel actors, and said:
Schwimmer was fine with the monkeys for the first couple of episodes and happy to be there. But people would laugh at the monkey and I think he got jealous because it wasn’t him getting the laughs. He seemed to get a little bitter about them being there after that. And of course the monkeys didn’t like working with him after he turned on them. It made it harder to do the work - a five-camera show is hard to work on with animals anyway so if you have an actor that’s not very helpful, it makes it even worse. My colleague who also worked on the show says that people would laugh at the monkey and throw Schwimmer off. He’s not the kind of actor who can improvise.
Ouch. While Mike Morris definitely took some shots at David Schwimmer during his interview, he does acknowledge what would probably be a pretty big problem for anyone working with animals in any capacity: if you're uncomfortable around them or just don't like them for any reason, they're going to pick up on it and it's going to make the job a lot harder on everyone.
Luckily, none of this tension between the animals who portrayed Marcel and David Schwimmer translated to their on-screen time in Friends. Though, if it had, I'm sure we would have heard about it during the reunion.