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Lisa Kudrow on her ‘fascinating’ role in Channel 4’s new LGBTQ comedy-drama ‘Feel Good’

The former 'Friends' star stars in comedian Mae Martin's brand new Channel 4/Netflix series

By Will Stroude

Next week marks the eagerly-anticpated TV premiere of Feel Good, a brand new LGBTQ comedy-drama from Canadian comedian and actress Mae Martin.

Set to air on Channel 4 in the UK and on Netflix in the US, the six-part semi-autobiographical series follows recovering addict and comedian Mae as she attempts to get her life together – something that’s only complicated by the arrival of magnetic new girlfriend George (Fresh Meat‘s Charlotte Ritchie), who has previously only dated men.

As well as showcasing the undeniable talents of rising star Mae, Feel Good also has another trump card up its sleeve in the form of former Friends star Lisa Kudrow, who leapt at the opportunity to appear in the series as Mae’s mother after being sent a copy of the script.

The show feels like a natural fit for Kudrow, who has continued to cement her comedy icon status since departing Central Perk with her off-beat roles in The Comeback and Web Therapy. 

Here, she reveals why she jumped at the opportunity to join the cast of Feel Good, and what she made of shooting in the ‘British Vegas’ that is, erm, Blackpool…

What attracted you to this role?

I think Linda is fascinating and I understand and sympathize.

What made you say yes to this over so many other scripts you presumably receive?

These scripts are so well written. The people are complicated. The damage is real and yet I was laughing.

How complete was the script when you received it and did you have any input?

No input from me from what I remember. I had questions to see if my initial thoughts were in sync with Mae and Joe.

How soon in the process did you ‘find’ the character of Linda?

I’m not sure I “found” her fast enough for my liking. But to me, [the script] was written in a way that clearly conveys their [family’s] past. Linda loves her daughter and she is still always going to be worried about her. I think Linda resents having to give so much of her attention to this worry when she could use that energy on her own “projects” which of course, she CAN do, but doesn’t, and is resentful of THAT on top of everything else but won’t acknowledge it.

How long were you in the UK for filming and what was it like being based here?

I was there for about a week; I don’t remember exactly. I compartmentalise too well. So there was less of an experience in the UK and more of an experience working on this show with really wonderful people, which I loved.

Was that your first trip to Blackpool and what was your verdict?

We heard Mae and the team sold it to you as Las Vegas of the north That was my first trip to Blackpool. And yes, they did sell it as Las Vegas, but Las Vegas to me is gambling so I was excited to maybe go to a casino, but I misunderstood the comparison. Ultimately, nothing is like Las Vegas. Blackpool seemed like a pretty quiet seaside town when we were there. I was happy to get to see a part of England that wasn’t London, honestly. I like London, but I’ve been there and this was new.

How was the ghost train?

I was nervous about the ghost train. I HATE things popping out at me. And for that scene, Linda is supposed to be unphased by the ghost train experience. Mae said it worried her too, so we were allowed to ride through it a couple of times before shooting so we knew what to expect. I DID NOT FLINCH ONCE. So proud.

It was Mae’s birthday when you shot together. Did you go out to celebrate?

I got to go out with everyone for Mae’s birthday. That was definitely a highlight for me.

We hear that you liked the catering – digestive biscuits in particular. Have you been able to buy those in LA?

Uh… I order them in bulk! Yes, I have them in the morning with my coffee. Heaven. Thank you Feel Good.

How did you get on with the other cast and have you stayed in touch?

Yes, everyone was great. I feel we got along well. Mae is fantastic! We’ve kept in touch. I love Charlotte and I’m sorry I didn’t bug her for her contact info, yet! Adrian and I have kept in touch. I loved watching him work when I was off camera.

Were you able impart any wisdom onto Mae regarding acting/the industry/fame?

I don’t think so. Mae doesn’t need to learn anything from me. She’s completely wonderful.

How did this compare to American shows you have worked on?

This one had a lot of British people around.

What was the funniest moment on set?

For me it was one time I said a line a certain way: “I haven’t finished ma Scotch egg.” It came out like Annie Hall’s dad when he declined to drive Annie and Alvie to the airport: “I haven’t finished ma drink.” I don’t know why, but it really cracked me up… and then I looked up and Mae was laughing too and then I didn’t feel so insane. Thank you Mae.

What did you enjoy about making the programme?

Everything. I love what this show is about. This planet is not easy. It can be hard to be a person here and then we unconsciously make it harder while we can still be charming and well-intentioned and it’s funny. I am happy to be part of something that is charming and well-intentioned.

What are you favourite British TV shows if you have any?

Well, Who Do You Think You Are?, of course!

Feel Good airs on Channel 4 at 10pm on Wednesday, 18 March in the UK and will be available to stream as a box set on All 4. It arrives on Netflix on 19 March in the US.