The Friends reunion at HBO Max is still on a break, but you can get your fix tonight at 9 p.m. ET with a live Zoom table read of the hit sitcom featuring an all-Black cast, Deadline reports. Gabrielle Union, who was a guest star on the show in season 7, will host the event, which includes an all-star lineup as the six lead characters.
Real-life couple Sterling K. Brown and Ryan Michelle Bathe will star as Ross and Rachel, roles originated by David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston. Aisha Hinds will play Monica (Courteney Cox), Uzo Aduba will play Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), Jeremy Pope will play Chandler (Matthew Perry), and Kendrick Sampson will play Joey (Matt LeBlanc). They’ll be re-enacting the season 3 episode “The One Where No One’s Ready” for the free virtual event, the proceeds of which will benefit Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote.
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The live reading comes two weeks after Tracee Ellis Ross’s all-Black Golden Girls Zoom and is the second installment in The Zoom Where It Happens series. The episode will be directed by Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Dear White People, The Chi). The Friends reading also reunites several recent Emmy honorees, including Aduba, who won for her role in Mrs. America; Brown, a double nominee for This Is Us and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel; and Pope, a first-time nominee for Hollywood. Sampson is also a recurring character on Insecure, which was nominated for eight awards.
This isn’t the first time an all-Black cast has assumed the roles of Friends—or re-enacted this very episode. A short film tied to Jay-Z’s 2017 song “Moonlight” cast Issa Rae as Rachel, Tessa Thompson as Monica, Tiffany Haddish as Phoebe, Lil Rel Howery as Joey, Lakeith Stanfield as Chandler, and Jerrod Carmichael as Ross to perform bits from the same 1996 episode. You can watch that version here:
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Perhaps those actors can trade tips with the new cast ahead of tonight’s Friends re-imagining.
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