tv Piers Morgan Tonight CNN August 6, 2011 3:00am-4:00am EDT
tonight, star of one of the most popular sitcoms in history, whose picture is splashed all over the world. one shocking thing about lisa kudrow, she's normal. >> hey, piers, remember i said i would be too boring for your show? good luck. i hope you're good with awkward pauses and dead air. >> i'll have to disagree. actress, producer, wife, mother and a woman who even made boring funny, lisa kudrow. >> you've just give men me a moment. >> and the man that put "90210" on the map, one of the greatest teen idols of all time. >> come on, piers, that was a long time ago. very long time ago.
>> tell that to the woman in my office. "beverly hills 90210" to actor/director, race car driver, the multitalented jason priestly. this is "piers morgan tonight." lisa kudrow is not phoebe from "friends." she looks like phoebe, talks like phoebe and laughs like phoebe but she's not phoebe. an accomplished actress and producer and lisa kudrow joins me to tell me why you're not phoebe. that's ridiculous. it made me laugh. you're so iconic. this is the trouble with those kinds of shows. you become so iconic. you're the most famous phoebe in the history of mankind. >> it gives me a lot of privacy because i'm nothing like her. so people miss me a lot. i'm not, you know, smiling and warm and lovely like phoebe is.
people still, obviously, recognize me and say, "hey, phoebe." >> when people see you in the street, percentage wise, a rough guess, how many say "phoebe" and how many say "lisa?" >> it's 50/50. >> do you mind? >> no. >> are you proud and warm with that phoebe and what it did for you? >> i'm proud and, you said warm? >> you didn't say warb, which is what i heard. no, i'm very proud and grateful. for a lot of reasons. i mean, you know, phoebe was so light and wonderful and i was not until i had to inhabit her for ten years. that really lightened me up. >> did you become a lighter, warmer, cuddly person as a result of playing this character? >> yes. between phoebe and the five other actors on the show, we were all really affectionate and warm and, you know, we just had a great relationship.
it really did. it all lightened me up, i have to say. and what it got me this kind of professional independence, i think. >> because you all made squillions. >> squillons? >> you made enough money and enough clout in the business to call your shots. and mace fascinating about your career path is you're making that work for yourself. you're becoming a very distinguished producer. you came out with this brilliant concept based on the british show "who do you think you are?" biographical journey through people's lives. an impressive resume you're building up away from phoebe. >> to be fair, i didn't do much with the concept. i just saw a show that i thought was the most compelling thing i had ever seen and just really trusted that the american audience would also find it compelling. and i was really happy that i was right. >> let me show you a clip and
we'll talk about this some more. >> here we go! >> hello. it's so nice to see you. it's so good to meet you. oh, my gosh! >> i translate for you. he forgot his english. >> nice to see you. this is amazing. lisa, good luck in my home, not in my tv, i don't believe. nice so see you. >> it's good to see you. >> even now, you're watching that and you're emotional, extraordinary. >> yeah. i teared up, yeah. >> it was an incredibly powerful show, your show? >> yes. >> there were moments just -- i always remember the moment when you traced, i think, your
grandmother and you just stood where she had been wiped out by the nazis with hundreds of other jews. >> right. >> and is it heartbreaking moment for you but astonishingly powerful to watch you reliving your family's horrific time at the hands of the nazis. how did making that program change you, do you think? >> well, i think in a few ways. i mean, one of the things is that, you know, i've always been very much a realist. and not actually an optimist. because i knew about the holocaust since i was probably too young to know about it. and it really did shade how i saw the world. there are atrocities and that's what's always happened, always will happen. if anything nice happens, that's a real bonus. so i've always had that kind of dark view of the world. and when i saw that that
relative, that my father's first cousin, who everyone was certain was dead, that he was actually alive, it was like a miracle to me. and that really gave me hope. i have to say. it might sound a little cliche' but it's that basic for me that that gave me hope. >> what was interesting to me is i met you soon after i launched this show earlier this year and i said i'd love to have you on and you said, my life is far too boring. and then i watched the program about your life and family and so on and it couldn't have been less boring. you've had this riveting -- >> that's my grandmother. >> but it's part of who you are and the emotion and the fascination you had for it all says a lot about you, too. >> there's something very deep about that show. there's so many layers and that's what i'm always drawn to. things that are really complicated.
we're all here because of a series of accidents or minor decisions or major decisions and otherwise, we wouldn't even have ever been born. i think that stuff is interesting. >> how would you describe yourself? what's the real lisa kudrow like? >> oh, i don't know. >> i'm putting you on the therapist's couch. >> i'm not a big game player. i don't like being manipulated at all. i mean -- i have a strong aversion to that. and so i don't do it myself. i try to be as direct as possible and, yeah. it's a miracle that's ever got married because i was never flirty. >> really? >> yeah. it felt like such of course behavior that i was too embarrassed to participate. >> you were trapped in this really, really weird thing of quite a happy marriage. >> yes. >> unusual by hollywood standards. >> you have been through a tried finding in the research i read, incidents of terrible drug abuse, alcoholism, multiple
marriages, cheating, affairs, there's nothing there. europe miss squeaky clean. >> well, i even, i was born and it was like i turned 30 immediately. i was the one in high school that said -- if we get in the car with those boys, they're only 17, historically. worst drivers in the world and the worst judgment and i think they've been drinking so i'm not going to go. i was that person. so, weird. i think i'm weird. i mean, i'd love to be my parent, because you don't have to worry. but weird. >> why do you think you've been able to have such a sustainable and happy marriage. >> weird. >> because you're weird. >> i think it's the weird. >> your husband likes weirdness or tolerates weirdness? >> he tolerates it. he definitely tolerates it. but i also have a close family and we all live really close to each other so you get grounded that way.
and then, i don't know, just with my husband and my family, just the priorities. i think that people can change a whole lot. but it's the priorities that change that make you look like you've changed a lot. that's it. >> pretty remarkable. you'll know from your former "friends" colleagues how difficult that is and how lucky you are, perhaps, and he is that you found that. >> i know. i know this is a tough business for stability. you know? just the profession, it's always changing. there's something nomaddic about it. for everyone it's tough to sustain -- >> how have you avoided the pitfalls? the cliche's? >> i think, honestly, commitment and thinking very far ahead. sometimes may too far ahead. just thinking down the road and far ahead. is this behavior going to serve me later on? i don't want to have regrets. it's not that spontaneous. >> at what stage of your "friends" mayhem did you mate your husband? >> i met him just before -- i met him before "friends." we got engaged during the very
first season. >> so he lived the whole thing with you? >> yeah. but this is how he's so phenomenally wonderful. okay? i think it's inexplicable. there's six of us in the cast and there's constantly -- like, we should go on a trip together. let's the six of us go out. but just us. and every time he would say, go. you need to bond. that's what's important right now. this is -- just go. allowing me to -- he didn't have personal -- he didn't take it personally if he wasn't included or -- you know, i don't know. i think that's extraordinary. >> that showsen an unusual strength of character and an understanding that success relationships allow for separate independence. >> we're independent, that's sure. >> his friends are amazed. i let him go on golf trips and leave home --
>> to vegas? >> no. >> would you allow that? >> yes, i would. >> because you completely trust him? >> i trust him. i think we both know that we're absolutely committed to our marriage. so you know -- >> did you find fame corrupting at all? >> yeah. in a certain way. >> did you go through periods when it affected the kind of person you are? >> yes, i think so. i think so. i mean, i think that there's something -- it's an unattractive babyish quality that comes out. because you just have too much power and so you're just -- you want whatter you want and you're allowed to want it and allowed to expect it. >> did you become a little bit of a diva? >> for my standards, i think, yeah, uh-huh. >> as part of that, is it the insecurity that comes with you may lose this phenomenal thing
at any moment? is that part of it. >> i do think that's part of it. >> i always thought that with actors. most of them are chronically insecure people because of the nature of the business is insecurity. insecurity. >> i think it's tied in with like ambition and being driven to succeed. and there are markers along the way. if you ask for something and you don't get it that means your star is falling. >> right. your power isn't what it should be. >> right. >> so you get more demanding to test the power. >> yeah. that used to be free. how come it isn't anymore? >> they're all sort of indications of where you are on a star meter. i think that's what sets people off, you know? i think that's what can make it tricky. >> it's unlikely you'll ever have that kind of star power from one entity again. >> right. >> anyone involved in that series. one of the biggest series of all time. does that bother you or is it almost liberating that you have this incredible mount everest moment in your career?
>> it's liberating. because i think just like i said, financially, what it afforded me was the ability to do whatever i want after that. but the great thing that i was able, i think, to wrap my mind around, really quickly was, okay, so that was as big as it's ever going to be. so know that and, you know, just -- that way you manage your expectations for whatever's going to come later. >> hold that thought. we'll have a short break. when we come back i want to talk to you about the biggest thank you've ever done. i want to know if you're friends with the "friends" what happens after your friends? let's talk "friends."
announcer: when life's this hard, it's no wonder 7,000 students drop out every school day. visit boostup.org and help kids in your community stay in school. so i'm knots going to show you the first and last time that we ever saw phoebe in "friends." >> really? >> all right. >> i remember when i first came to this city, i was 14. my mom had just killed herself and my step dad was back in prison and i got here and i didn't know anybody. and i ended up living with this
albino guy that was like cleaning windshields outside port authority and then he killed himself. and then i found aroma therapy so believe me, i know exactly how you feel. >> this is like the best day ever. ever! you guys might get back together. monica and chandler are getting their baby. there's chicks and ducks in the world again. i feel like i'm in a musical! ♪ when the sun comes up bright and beaming ♪ ♪ and the moon comes -- i guess you'll never know how it ends. >> fabulous. what a character. seriously. >> yeah. >> loved phoebe. she was always my favorite. >> really? >> everyone loved phoebe. >> like a mascot. >> are you friends with the "friends"? or is that something we all like to think happens but the reality is that you all move on. >> we've all moved on but it doesn't mean we're not friends. i just heart from matt leblanc yesterday and i still text or e-mail with courtney, matt
leblanc, sometimes matthew perry. i just spoke with david. we're all scattered. >> jennifer missing out on that list? >> yeah. i haven't talked to jennifer in a long time. >> for how long? >> i don't know. >> years? >> a long time but it doesn't mean -- like, don't talk to me about it. there's nothing wrong. it's just that, you know, matt leblanc, we were at a showtime party recently and someone saw us together and they were like, you're really friends still? you guys are all still friends. he's like, no, we haven't seen each other much. but when you're trapped in a building with people for ten years, they tend to scatter. >> do you have a bad temper? >> yes. >> where you completely lose it? >> yeah. i've raised a child, so yeah. >> i can't imagine you exploding with rage. >> it's terrifying. >> really? >> yeah. i think my son can be more
aafraid of me than my husband. >> how hold is he now, 13. >> yeah. >> he's just becoming a young man. i have a 14-year-old and an 18 year old and a 10 year old. i've been through all the stages. it's a fascinating thing to watch young men becoming men, isn't it? >> i haven't had to deal with anything too tricky yet. i'm hoping we don't get there. but he's really sweet. then i hear, yeah, their all sweet -- >> until the drinking starts. >> oh, god. i don't like drunks. >> is he even aware, really of the whole "friends" thing? does it mean anything to him? does he watch it on television when it comes on. >> he doesn't watch it. it's not "south park" or "family guy." but he does recognize in
friends, he'll say your mom's on "friends," phoebe, they're impressed. my son is not as impressed. >> for your parents, obviously, you had this huge career change. they were looking at a daughter that was going to be a byeologist, be very proud of you for that and have a great scientific career and then, boom, suddenly you're on a sitcom. did they take it well? were they concerned? were they despairing of you? >> i wasn't on a sitcom until about eight or ten years later so it took a while. and their first response was -- so you're going to become an actress? thank god, maybe you'll lighten up. that's how they felt. great, good. >> how intense were you before all this? >> i think i was intense. i mean, i don't know. i feel like i'm the same but i think i was just kind of -- >> you don't seem intense now. clearly, it did help soften you, as you say, that's interesting. >> here's the crazy thing. i think going blond softened me, it literally lightened me up when i started going blond.
>> what's your natural color? >> brown. >> you're brown haired? >> yes. >> and you died it blond and you immediately lightened up? >> i just started to gradually lighten up. i think. >> extraordinary. with your biology hat on, what does this mean? >> i think people treat you differently when you're blond. >> they think you're a bit more dipsy? >> but i think people are kinder. you get so much more information because you're not threatening if you're an idiot because they think that you won't, you know -- they can tell you. you won't know what to do with the information so it will be okay. i found that out quickly. >> that's fascinating. >> yeah. well, yeah. >> so you learn more, ironically because people view you as more stupid? >> yeah. they're not as guarded. they don't feel like they have to be add guarded because -- you won't be able to connect the dots.
hi. >> i'm dr. theeona wallace? >> you're camille yeah boner? >> no. that's a very common mistakes. lots of people make it. even very intelligent people. my name is camilla bowner, but pronounced bonner. >> i see. >> as your fellow vassar alum, an episode of "web therapy" the series started online and is now on showtime. it's a great show. tell me about it. why did you come up with this thing? >> well, people kept asking my partner and i if we wanted to do a web series. the answer was "no." i really wasn't interested in doing it. my brain just kept working on what would be a good web series and i thought, people are doing so much on the internet.
you don't know who anybody is on the internet and anyone can be -- you know, anyone can just like throw up a shingle and say, i do this. but i also thought, the worst idea in the world was quick three-minute sessions of therapy. just through web chat, too. not like not in person. i don't know, i thought it was a funny idea. >> meryl streep, goddess? >> yes. >> she's as nice as i assume she is? >> yes. she's so generous and she's so smart. it's intimidating smart to me. >> i would be intimidated meeting her, actually. >> but she wouldn't allow you to be for long, you know? she's just so generous. i keep using that word. and talk about meryl streep and my vocabulary evaporates. she's good. >> do you crave big ratings again?
>> no, i crave enough ratings. honestly, i just want enough ratings, to keep going, which is got with "who do you think you are" and that's what i'd like to get with "web therapy." >> do you think you made the break with phoebe? you said you're 50/50 with the public. do you think you ever will? >> no, i don't think i ever will. >> if you're 90 and you die, the headlines will be "phoebe star exits." >> if people are still watching "friends" by then, then, yeah. that's the one thing i've done that people all over the world will have seen. and that's fair. that's fine. >> what's been the greatest moment of your life outside of marriage and having a child? what's the moment you would relive again if you had five minutes? i had the power to give you any five minutes of your life? >> let's see. one of the more recent ones would be -- you know, it's always when there's certain people that you have respect for will let you know like -- i was a huge fan of "the comeback."
a huge fan of "the comeback." which was a show i created so it meant a lot to me. i think "web therapy" is brilliant. when i saw meryl streep and she said, i that show, that el studio show you do, i think it's funny. it's great. >> having meryl streep doing it is like the pope. >> i'm not catholic but i can imagine. >> i am and that's the nearest. >> i guess you're looking for professional moments like that, yeah. >> and personally? >> personally? oh, my god. that, to me, is when my parents are proud of me. when they call up and my mom is still like -- but did you see this? >> what's been the moment your mother was most proud of you? >> recently there was a magazine cover and a great article about me.
it was "more" magazine and the article was very nice and so, you know, she was really happy. >> does she sort of run around the neighborhood making sure they're all stock theed up? >> whoever comes in and -- did you see this? and that's great. but they get to feel that. now that i'm a parent, you know, i think that's a great -- i'm just so happy i can give them that kind of pride, you know. >> is there anybody that -- >> plenty of men, especially. >> name one person who you think everybody finds funny. >> steve carrel. >> you're right. that's true. >> any women? >> i win. >> women? >> well, yeah. there are. tina fey.
>> okay. she and steve carrel. >> let's end on a happy note. let's play a clip from your show because it will get me out of this terrible hole i dug. >> if you have time -- >> you know what, i don't have any time. i have eight accounts here at clark and west and i have 30 people on managing and a whiney domestic partner. >> so you're gay? >> no, i'm manually but i'm not gay and i don't want to marry him because i can't take on one more thing. i don't have the time. i'm swamped. i'm haven't taken a deep breath since 1988. i don't have to have a snack. i haven't had a leisurely dump in the last ten years. i'm wearing a colostomy bag right now. >> i can't imagine anyone that watches that that doesn't laugh at lisa kudrow.
>> thank you. >> so there's three. steve carell. >> you've just given me a moment. >> that's another dream come true. coming up, a generation's guilty pleasure. beverly hill's "90210." my interview with jason priestly. discover customersl are getting five percent cashback bonus at the pump... and at many of the places their summer plans take them. it pays to switch, it pays to discover.
>> hey, piers. >> i'm 46. how old are you? >> i'll be 42. >> nearly similar age. when i grew up. "beverly hills 90210" in britain was the biggest thing with the possible exception of the hoff. >> the show was very, very popular in england. i remember going on a couple of publicity tours in england and it was -- i got chased through picadilly circus. i felt like i was the fifth
beatle on a couple of instances over there. it was pretty crazy. >> and, of course, all these british women were desperate to marry you. and one of them did? >> yes, one of them did. >> you married a brit? >> i did. my lovely wife, naomi is british. >> really. we'll talk about naomi later. i want to play, first of all, and it would be remiss if i didn't, to go down memory lane to watch a clip from the show that propelled you into the stratosphere. >> you obviously got some kind of problem with me, don't you? come on, make your move. >> i'm not going to hit you. you're like a brother to me. >> you have to. >> no i don't.
if you feel like you want to hit me, why don't you go ahead? >> all right. >> what do you feel when you watch that now? what do you really feel? >> you know, i can't believe i was that young. and i was so clean shaven. you know? i really do, i look at myself and i'm just -- i'm shocked that i was -- literally, at this point in time, i've been seeing an actual clean-shaven face on myself for two or three years. >> do you feel affectionate toward the show? do you feel nostalgic or do you have this kind of impending horror that when you're 96 and you finally shuffle off this mortal coil, the headline will be "beverly hills 90210 heart throb dies at age 96?" >> i've pretty much resigned myself to the fact that that title is going to be in my -- is going to be attached to my name in perpetuity, i'm sure, in some fashion. but, you know, seeing that clip, i'm filled with nostalgia. it's funny for me to watch it now. you know?
but it also feels like a whole other lifetime to me. my career has gone on in so many varied and different places now. and i worked so much behind the camera now that those ten years that i spent on that show, it was a wonderful job for me. and i had a great time and i learned a lot there. but it was just this one ten-year capsule of a job and when i was done with it, i sort of encapsulated it and put it aside and moved on to all of these other jobs that i've had since then. >> it propelled you into an incredible level of fame, while that show was on. >> yes. >> did you enjoy that? or was it enjoyable to start and then very unnerving and then incredibly annoy something how would you describe the process of going through the fame game. >> any time you're faced with fame on that level, it's -- it
can be somewhat unnerving because you're never taught how to manage it and how to deal with it. so you're sort of left out there on your own, trying to navigate those waters for yourself and when it's over do you have that feel of a soldier in the battlefield or a champion boxer? do you crave it again? do you desire that kind of thing again or you just pleased it's behind you? >> i think everyone has their own individual experience. for me, i was pleased that that type of real hysteria was behind me. but the reality is, to be a successful actor and have those kinds of accolades, that comes from being good at your craft. and there is a level where you try to attain and then there's a level that is too much. we got to a level where it was too much. but that was a different time. the paparazzi wasn't as invasive as they are now and certainly
not as aggressive as they are now so we were able to attain the level of enjoyment that people can't now. the social media has made it more difficult. >> it has. but it's also helped in the sense -- i'm an active tweeter and you are, too. i'm sure we'll get a big reaction to that. but it's a great way to communicate with an audience. >> it is. >> but at the same time, there's a lot of people out there that want to just kill you on twitter. >> i always read the most horrible things about myself. and you know it's -- you know, time is an evilness, unfortunately. >> talk about evilness, we're going to come back after the break and talk about your former co-stars, shannon doherty.
>> april 4th, 1984, you stole hatty's lunch and then her death mute twin. >> that was a clip from a show that's been airing on directv for the last few weeks in america. it's been a huge hit in canada, which is your birth country. >> yes, sir. >> congratulations. >> actually the show was nominated for 16 geminis. >> wow. tell me about that. what is the premise of the show? >> the show is about richard fitzpatrick, the character that i play. and actually as you saw in that clip, ernie shows ernie's character -- larry shows up in the pilot claiming to be fitz's conscience. he's a used cars salesman, of course: fitz is a bit of a charlie sheen character. it's a lot of drinking and hookers and blow.
and there is a little bit of charlie in there. >> you and charlie ever per used together? >> back in the day, you know, i used to go down to charlie's house in malibu. this is going back 20, 22 years. i used to play poker down in malibu. yeah. >> i really feel like i missed out in life. there are two caps of men, those that party with charlie sheen and those who never did. >> well, you can count me in the former of those two camps. >> was it all i mentioned it would be? >> no. no. it wasn't -- maybe it wasn't in the later years, you know, i was there in the early years and i think it was a pretty dignified version of what it became later. i think i kind of missed out, too, as a matter of fact.
>> we talked to the evil mistresses which led me neatly to shannen and tori and your other co-stars. have you stayed in touch with them or have you moved on? >> well, a lot of us have moved on because at the end of the day we were all people who worked together. i think that -- >> are you friends with any of them? >> yeah, with some of them. you know, all of us guys seem to remain pretty close. you know, me and luke and brian are all pretty close still and seem to spend a lot of time together. >> who's aging best and who is aging worse, would you say? >> i -- i -- i don't know. >> you do. you do. [ laughter ] >> i don't know. i think -- i think ian is actually aging pretty well. actually aging pretty well. brian is probably aging the best out of all of us. >> because it's a unique pressure. you've been a huge heart throb for so long.
to try and maintain the heart throb, it must be insufferable. >> i guess. i'm just kind of like -- i'm just kind of like living my life, you know. i've got two little kids and i spent all my time running after my kids. i spent so much time working and doing my -- doing comedy and directing projects. i'm really staying busy. i live here in los angeles. >> is there a culture to l.a. or is the culture driven by the entertainment business? >> absolutely. you know, los angeles is a one horse town. it's entirely driven by the entertainment business and that's what it is. >> is it brutal? have you found it brutal? >> yes, it is. >> what has been the toughest moment for you? >> probably 2003, 2004, after i had my big racing accident, i was really trying to get back on my feet.
i broke my spine and i shattered both my feet and i did a lot of damage to my face, too. i ripped my nose off my face, broke my cheekbone and they had to take my eyeball out and they had to rebuild my skull. and it was -- just for fun. nothing like i was doing. >> what's the worst that can happen? my eyeball has to be replaced? >> that's no big deal. i've done that before. endurance racing, go-kart racing. >> when that happened did you fear that might be the end for you in terms of your career? >> i did. when they did all of this stuff over here, it took a while for this side of my face to work again. >> you're hideously disfigured, i hate to say. for all of us furious of you getting all the women, to see you so scarred.
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