Taylor Swift has been bringing onstage a slew of celebrities during her big 1989 Tour, including other musicians, TV personalities and even sports figures. This week, the singer totally outdid herself, however, when she invited an extremely famous TV character onstage. During a recent concert at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Lisa Kudrow popped up as her Friends character Phoebe Buffay and even sang the famous song “Smelly Cat” with Taylor Swift. You can catch the glorious rendition, below.
In the video, it’s unclear where Swift is going with her commentary, at first. She says she would like to introduce someone who really had never performed on a stage as large as that one, and then announces Phoebe Buffay will be making a special appearance. Lisa Kudrow then shuffles out in full Phoebe attire with a guitar, ready to roll. The whole thing is a pretty great surprise—so great, in fact, that it even overshadowed the fact that Justin Timberlake and Selena Gomez also popped up during the concert on Wednesday.
“Smelly Cat” probably should have been a one-off note in the Friends universe, but following an appearance in the sixth episode of the second season, the writing team continued to bring up the track, creating plotlines that included the song appearing in a cat litter commercial during one episode and becoming part of the character’s fundamental life story when Phoebe learns her father sang a similar lullaby to her as a young child before he split. Because of storylines like this, “Smelly Cat” sort-of got ingrained into the cultural fiber of Friends, which was a no.1 show and consistently ranked within the top 10 during its time on the air. Thus, even if you weren’t a huge Friends fan, you are probably at least vaguely familiar with “Smelly Cat,” meaning a massive Taylor Swift venue is probably the perfect place for an appearance like this.
Kudrow has some free time now that her series Web Therapy has been cancelled, and it’s nice to see that she’s spending that free time appealing to our sense of nostalgia. Moments like these are probably the best we are going to do in terms of a Friends comeback. Friends creator Marta Kauffman has already explained that she has no interest in a reunion. So, the closest we’ll get to more friends is Phoebe playing on a stage, or Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow reading a really bad faux Friends script written by Jimmy Kimmel during a late night episode. Hey, beggars can’t be choosers.
As for Taylor Swift, having a Friends character on certainly does a lot for publicity. Phoebe Buffay’s not even close to being the biggest star to appear. A lot of celebrities have popped up during Swift’s 1989 Tour. We’ve seen Serena Williams, Lorde, Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock, Cara Delevingne, Uzo Aduba, Ed Sheeran and even the US Women’s National Soccer Team make appearances. The last five shows have been especially big, as Swift has been playing in Los Angeles, which presumably makes the scheduling easier for some of these stars. We’ll let you know if anymore wacky TV characters pop up along the way.
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Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.