In its ten years on the air, Friends went through an apartment building’s worth of guest stars from celebs in all walks of life. So many years later, the one that always springs to mind first is Adam Goldberg’s Eddie Menuek, one of the best/worst roommates in all of TV. And it looks like we came very close to a world where this version of creepy Eddie didn’t exist, which would have happened if Goldberg’s ego at the time would have been running things.
The subject of Friends came up as Goldberg was speaking with Huffington Post recently, and the actor explained that he initially turned the guest arc down, thanks to one of the coolest movies in modern cinema.
My agent called me and said that ‘you have a three-episode arc on Friends that we wanted to offer you,’ and I said, ’No, I don’t want to do that.’ Because I had done this film Dazed and Confused, and it really made me feel like, ‘Okay, the world is a different place for me now as an actor and blah, blah, blah…I don’t want to do television.’
Goldberg, who has since gone on to do a fair amount of TV work, is probably right to have had the confidence boost in the years after Richard Linklater’s almost universally beloved Dazed and Confused came out. And he couldn’t have known that, even though Friends was hugely popular going into its second season, the wave of fandom would continue for another eight years. Plus, there’s no shame in being wary of a character who lists “dehydrating fruit” and "watching Chandler sleep as things he does for shits and giggles.
In retrospect, Goldberg called himself “a little snobby, you know, whatever,” and had no shame in admitting his gut response was the wrong one to have.
The Friends thing was totally fun and completely worth it. It was idiotic of me to think for two seconds that I shouldn't have done that.
There aren’t many actors out there who would have nailed the Eddie role like Goldberg did – though I’d like to see some audition tapes – and I’m glad that the actor took the gig. Maybe he also had a bad taste in his mouth from starring in CBS’ shortlived 1995 comedy Double Rush with Robert Pastorelli. Goldberg later ended up on the spinoff Joey as a different character altogether, so that might have also changed had he not played Eddie.
Goldberg, who had a nice stint on Season 1 of Fargo last year, can currently be seen on TV Land’s The Jim Gaffigan Show. You can also catch him being aggravated with people mistaking him for The Goldbergs’ creator Adam F. Goldberg. Head to the next page to watch the interview.