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Sherri Shepherd Discusses the Lack of Diversity on 'Friends': 'That Was Hard'

Sherri Shepherd Discusses the Lack of Diversity on 'Friends': 'That Was Hard'

Sherri Shepherd is sharing her thoughts on Friends.

The 53-year-old The View alum discussed her brief guest role on the hit sitcom and reflected on her career in the entertainment industry during an appearance on the People in the 90′s podcast on Thursday (July 15).

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“Yeah, it’s a trip,” Sherri said of her career. “When I look at Jamie Foxx or talk to Jamie and I go, ‘Look at everything that has happened,’ or Chris Tucker or Dr. Ken, we were all struggling comics. And we all were just trying to get on stage and get stage time. We all auditioned for the same thing. I had three callbacks for In Living Color. I never knew In Living Color would become what it was. It was a time of that’s all we cared about. We just came and did stand-up. It was our craft. And I couldn’t take it if I wasn’t on stage.”

“Oh, everybody was in those audition rooms,” she recalled. “It would be Niecy Nash. It was Retta, who’s on Good Girls. Michelle Buteau would be there. All of the women that you see now. Loni Love was always there. Garcelle Beauvais. And it was like we’d see each other and it was just this big fest, because it was all love.”

“Yes, we were competing. But we all were so happy to be in one place at the same time. Very frequently, the casting director would come in and go, ‘You guys got to be quiet. You’re way too loud,’” she continued.

Sherri added that she eventually became known as “the Black girl that was on all the white shows.”

“I would always tell people, ‘If you see a Black girl in the background walking through, that’s probably me,’” she explained.

She also discussed her brief guest role on Friends in 1998.

“I had a wonderful time on Friends. I really did. They were so really, really wonderful,” she said, adding that she felt the hit sitcom was inspired by Living Single. “Yeah, absolutely. It’s not lore. It was Living Single first. And then there was Friends. I think Friends is great.”

Sherri said that she was still disappointed she wasn’t asked back on the show, telling the hosts, “The crowd went crazy. It was one of their top 10 favorites for a long time. My ‘I’m Rhonda and these aren’t real!’ line.”

“All of those executive producers came down to the set and was like, ‘We got to have you back. You’re so amazing.’ And usually when people say that to me, they have me back. So with me not being called back, I thought, ‘Ooh, I might’ve offended. Maybe that wasn’t as cute as I thought it was.’”

“And if I ever do run into [the producers], I’ll tell them what a great time I had, and ask, ‘Did I offend anybody? Because I would have loved to have come back. It was a great experience,’” she said.

However, Sherri is still bothered by the lack of diversity on the show.

“When you have a show set in New York — and I’ve lived in New York for nine years — and I always saw diversity. All the time. When you walk down the street, you got to be in a bubble not to see how inclusive New York City is. It is one of the most inclusive, diverse cities I’ve ever been to,” she explained. “So that was a little bit hard to see a show where nobody looked like me.”

Check out the 13 biggest revelations and surprises from the Friends reunion on HBO Max

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