We’re currently in the middle of a Friend-zy. Ever since we learned that former cast of Friends would be coming together for an upcoming NBC special, the former NBC sitcom has been the talk of the town. And this weekend, Saturday Night Live brought back Rachel from Friends… or at least Vanessa Bayer’s version of her.
Bayer has a few pretty good impressions in her repertoire, but getting down the nuances of Jennifer Aniston’s voice from the days of the series is actually pretty incredible. If you listen to the video without actually watching it, it’s a perfect impression, honestly. In terms of looking like the character, Vanessa Bayer has a wig on that mimics the famous 90s hairdo “The Rachel,” although Bayer doesn’t quite have the tan or the wildly good looks of Jennifer Aniston. Really though, who does?
The premise of the sketch is pretty funny, with Vanessa Bayer’s version of Rachel referencing Phoebe, or “Phoebs” bringing over dudes that won’t fit in. At one point, she doesn’t recognize who Michael Che is, and he gamely jokes that she’s on a nineties network sitcom and probably doesn’t even know what a black guy is. There are actually scenic cuts interspersed through this two, making this one of my favorite “Weekend Update” sketches in a while. (It helps there was that hilarious Von Miller portion of last night’s “Weekend Update”, too.)
Vanessa Bayer has thrown together this impression out on late night shows before, but this is the first time she's done it in full makeup and we can't get enough of the segment.
In reality, we should get an actual dose of Rachel and the rest of the gang—sans Chandler—in the coming weeks. NBC announced a little over a month ago that the network would be putting a special dedicated to prolific TV director James Burrows. The friends of Friends were all expected to return, but sadly Matthew Perry had to bow out. On the bright side, NBC has a bunch of other casts of famous shows set to appear, including the cast of The Big Bang Theory.
A Friends reunion special is probably out, as the co-creators don't want to get involved, although never say never. But it's clear that Friends is still alive and well in the cultural consciousness and is still worth a laugh or two in the late night world. You can catch new episodes of Saturday Night Live on Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. ET. In addition, the James Burrows special will air on the network on February 21.