In late January, Schwimmer spoke about Friends‘ legacy with The Guardian. During the conversation, the actor addressed the show’s ongoing popularity and its recent criticisms regarding its lack of racial diversity.
You can read Schwimmer’s response to Alexander in full below:
Hi Erika. As you know, I was asked recently in an interview for The Guardianhow I felt (for the thousandth time) about a reboot of Friends immediately following a conversation about diversity on the show, and so offered up other possibilities for a reimagining of the show today. I didn’t mean to imply Living Single hadn’t existed or indeed hadn’t come before Friends, which I knew it had. Please remember in an interview quotes are often pieced together and taken out of context, and then these quotes are repurposed in other articles by other people who are trying to be provocative.
I was a fan of Living Single, and was not implying Friends was the first of its kind. To my knowledge, Friends (which came out a year later) was inspired by [series creators] Marta [Kaufmann] & David [Crane]’s own lives and circle of friends living in NY in their twenties. If it was based on Living Single you’d have to ask them. It’s entirely possible that Warner Brothers and NBC, encouraged by the success of Living Single, gave the Friends pilot a green light. I honestly don’t know, but seems likely! If that’s the case, we are all indebted to Living Single for paving the way.
In any event, if my quote was taken out of context, it’s hardly in my control.
I assure you I meant no disrespect.