Arts & Culture

Lisa Kudrow on the Holocaust, Anti-Semitism, and Her Nose Job

She’s more than just Phoebe from ‘Friends’ Read More

By / October 29, 2013

Lisa Kudrow is known worldwide for her part as Phoebe Buffay on the best not-so-good show ever, Friends. And, because I am a Friends addict—I DVR it, I have the DVDs (they were a gift, I swear)—I tend to forget about the person behind the character. Lucky for me, and for all other Friends enthusiasts (we’re in this together), Kudrow was interviewed in the Saturday Evening Post, discussing anti-Semitism, the Holocaust, and her nose job.

On the Holocaust:

Since I was a kid I had seen documentaries about the Holocaust, and I read what I could about it. I watched World at War—remember that series? They had a number of episodes on the Holocaust. There was some pretty graphic stuff in there. I took a lot of Jewish history classes and studied Hebrew for two years in college. But the striking thing to me is that while I studied it, I never applied it to my own family history. So I didn’t have to be burdened with the nightmare of what happened to people I knew. Then as I got older my grandmother told me it was Hitler who killed everybody in her family, and that’s the first time I came face-to-face with it. In my fully denial state of mind it was, “No, no, we’re not part of the Holocaust.” But I learned we are.

On anti-Semitism:

Yes, I have. In college there was more anti-Semitism than before college, because there were people who never met a Jew before. A friend of mine, when she found out I was Jewish, said, “Really? Oh, I don’t like Jews.”

On her nose job:

That was life altering. I went from, in my mind, hideous, to not hideous. I did it the summer before going to a new high school. So there were plenty of people who wouldn’t know how hideous I looked before. That was a good, good, good change.

You should read the rest of the interview here. And, since it’s National Cat Day, watch Phoebe’s famous “Smelly Cat:”

(Photo by Bravo/Getty)