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Lisa Kudrow reunites with ‘The Comeback’ cast for charity special

Note to self: After a long day at work, I *want* to see that!

By Will Stroude

The Comeback remains one of TV’s great cult classics, so you can imagine our joy that the cast and crew of the beloved HBO series have reunited to reflect on the show’s legacy 15 years after it first premiered. 

The show, which aired for just one series in 2005 before being axed, later returning nine years later in 2014 for an eight-part sequel, saw Lisa Kudrow create an instant gay icon in Valerie Cherish, a desperate former sitcom actress documenting her return to the spotlight in a reality series, also titled The Comeback.

On Tuesday (21 July), the former Friends star joined series creator Michael Patrick King and former co-stars Laura Silverman (Producer Jane), Lance Barber (Paulie G), Damian Young (Verlie’s beleaguered Mark), and Dan Bucatinsky (Valerie’s useless publicist Billy) for a special charity reunion which saw the group reminisce about the show’s creation, most memorable moments, and plans for a possible third season.

The reunion on Stars in the House, which was designed to support The Actors Fund, which helps those in the arts industry affected by the coronavirus pandemic, saw creator King reveal the original storyline plans for a second season before the series was axed.

“We were sure it was getting picked up – because we thought it was exactly what we wanted it to be, and we were quite stunned when it wasn’t,” King admitted.

“I think the biggest thought I can give you is, do you remember Gigi, who was the female writer who was sort of kicked around by Pauli G and the boys?

“We had decided that Gigi, as [happens] in Hollywood, might get moved by the actress to showrunner state, and as she got bigger and bigger she got her jaws wired shut, and then the joke and the horror of the show would be that Valerie promoted someone who became an even bigger monster than Pauli G.

“She thought by promoted a women she’d be in a softer place, and in reality you would learn that television makes people monsters.”

The cast also paid tribute to Robert Michael Morris, aka Valerie’s larger-than-life gay hairdresser Mickey, who died in 2017 aged 77.

Morris was the former college theatre teacher of series creator King, and was living in semi-retirement with minimal professional acting experience when he was asked to audition for the role.  

“I said to Lisa, ‘We need somebody who looks like they would be a star in a reality show, versus an actor’,” King recalled.

“I called him up and I said ‘I have good news and bad news. The good news is we’ve written a part for you. The bad news is you have to get it’.

“He had to come to Hollywood and audition at HBO – with some other heavy-hitters, I might add – and he walked in and he gave Lisa a diamond chip necklace that he had bought for her on QVC. And she said ‘I’ll never take it off!’

“He was thing. He was the real thing.”

While fans have long-demanded a third season of The Comeback, plans are yet to come into fruition – but Kudrow and King revealed they “always” get together to discuss ideas for a potential future instalment.

The pair revealed that they have discussed a storyline which would touch on Valerie’s past in the fictional sitcom I’m It!, in a plot that might just be inspired by recent controversies surrounding Friends

“We did talk about [a third series], we did have an idea”, says Kudrow.

King explains: “We thought she’d try and have a table-read of an I’m It! script”.

Kudrow goes on: “Without reading it and realising how dated and racist and homophobic it would be – because it would be!”

King adds: “And why it would be perfect for The Comeback would be because she was discovering it in front of a camera.”

Here’s hoping they can make it happen.

Watch The Comeback charity reunion on Stars in the House below: