James Michael Tyler, the actor who played Gunther on Friends throughout its 10-season run, stunned fans of the sitcom when he appeared on a British morning show Tuesday and was completely unrecognizable. The 57-year-old, who managed the Central Perk coffee shop on Friends, discussed the show and its impact during his appearance on This Morning.
Sporting a gray beard and hair that directly contrasts his bleach blond and clean shaven look from the show, James joked that he only got to speak for the first time in the "33rd episode of the second season," despite appearing from the season's second episode, "The One with the Sonogram at the End."
Although his character is now a beloved part of the series, he said he wasn't sure what to expect at first, 25 years ago. "I wasn't aware of where its as going to go," he said. "It happened organically."
"It was going to be about a two episode arc in my mind but they kept it for 10 years and I'm very grateful for that," he continued.
Plenty of fans took to Twitter to comment on Tyler's drastically different appearance than what they remembered.
"That guy wouldn't even win a gunther lookalike competition," one Twitter user wrote.
"Gunther doesn't look like Gunther?! That's crazy," another said.
Those reactions likely don't come as surprise to Tyler, who said on the show that fans often don't realize who he is. "People tell me to get out of the way at these Friends events and then they realize who I am and say, 'Oh I'm sorry!'"
He's hung onto a few pieces of memorabilia over the years, including the red jacket that was part of Gunther's wardrobe in his first four episodes, as well as a tie that was signed by the entire cast. Praising the cast and crew as a whole, Tyler said, "We were very fortunate to have extremely talented writers who were at the top of their game. If [a joke] didn't land, they would huddle and five minutes later would have an entirely different joke."
He joins what seems to be the consensus from Friends stars on whether or not there should be a reunion or reboot, saying he didn't want the show to return. "Why mess with perfection?" he asked.
"I don't know if a reboot would have the same weight or quality. They tied it up in a nice little bow," he said.
Star Jennifer Aniston told Howard Stern this week on his eponymous SiriusXM show that she doesn't think a Friends reboot is the best idea, either. "I honestly think we would love it," she said about working together with the cast and crew again, but "I really think there is an idea that if there is a reboot of the show, it won't be even close to as good as what it was, so, why do it?"
Photo credit: Paul Zimmerman / Stringer / Getty
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