Pop Culture

'Oh. My. Gawd!' 'Friends' actress reveals how Janice got her laugh

Could Janice's laugh BE any more memorable?

It's been 12 years since "Friends" went off the air, but even if you haven't watched a single episode since then, it's likely you can still imagine it. Just close your eyes, think of her and that rapid-fire bleat will creep back into your consciousness.

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But as it turns out, that unforgettable guffaw wasn't part of the script. Maggie Wheeler, the actress who brought Chandler Bing's cringe-worthy girlfriend to life on the long-running sitcom, crafted it on the spot when she showed up on set.

"(It) happened organically in the first rehearsal, because I needed to find a way to laugh, because Matthew Perry is so funny," Wheeler (who doesn't sound a bit like her on-screen alter ego in real life), told ITV's "This Morning."

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Janice and Chandler, played by Maggie Wheeler and Matthew Perry, on "Friends."

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So that nasally sound was born out of necessity.

"Working with him, I knew right away, I thought, 'This guy's gonna make me laugh on set. I've got to be prepared. What am I going to do?'" she recalled. "I created Janice's laugh just as a safety measure for when Matthew made me laugh."

And that safety measure was part of what ensured her character, who was never meant to be more than a one-off foil for Chandler, returned again and again.

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"It was always a surprise that she continued to have a life on the show" Wheeler admitted. "I was always so thrilled every time the writers decided to bring me back. It started out as a one-shot deal — come in, do one episode — and out of that came 10 years of this extraordinary, joyful experience."

For her and viewers alike.

Follow Ree Hines on Twitter.

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