So THIS Is How Janice from Friends' Signature Laugh and Catchphrase Came About

So THIS Is How Janice from Friends' Signature Laugh and Catchphrase Came About
By Catriona Harvey-Jenner -

She may not have been one of the core six Friends, but up there with Gunther, Janice Litman Goralnik (or whatever her full name is) is definitely one of the New York-based sitcom's most memorable characters.

If not only for the fact she weaves in and out of every series in the show (except season 6, we're not sure why she wasn't in that one), then it's for her wonderfully grating voice, that laugh, and the catchphrase that gives us chills on Chandler Bing's behalf: "Oh. My. God!"

It's such a stand-out part of Janice's character that we were desperate to find out where it came from; did the show's producers think it up while writing the characters, or was it something they came up with by accident? So obviously when Maggie Wheeler, the actress behind Janice, was in London celebrating the launch of #FriendsFest this week, we HAD to ask her.

And amazingly, we discovered that Janice's trademark characteristics weren't down to the show-makers but to the actress herself. OH, MY, GOD.

"The choice of the voice for the character was mine," Maggie told Cosmopolitan UK. "I made that decision when I went in to audition for the first time. At the top of the page it said 'fast talking New Yorker', I saw the language, and I just thought yeah, I know that girl. So I made that choice and it turned out to be the right one."

Er, YEAH it did. And when people recently saw Maggie in an interview on This Morning, they literally couldn't believe that wasn't her voice in real life.

So how about the laugh? That perilous laugh? Well we can thank Maggie and Matthew Perry for that one.

"The laugh was born in the rehearsal process," the actress explained. "In that very first episode that I shot, because Matthew Perry was so very funny and I knew he was going to make me laugh, I thought 'well, I'd better incorporate this into the character because there's no way he's not going to crack me up'.

"There was just that one moment where he's drinking all of these espressos and he brings me my coffee and I brought it to my face, I hadn't even got it to my face, when he says 'do you want another one?' And that was the first moment that I just went 'hahahaha'. And I just inserted the laugh into the character."

Check it out, the inaugural Janice laugh' at about 1.30 here.


Big moment, guys.

The 'OH MY GOD' then seemed to be a natural development, with writers including it into her character and it's stuck ever since.

"Hats off to the writers, they put it in there and it went from there. The first one is in those first episodes and then from then on it just became signature," Maggie told us.

Oh. My. Gaaaaaaad. We just met Maggie Wheeler aka Janice from Friends! #friendsfest

A video posted by Cosmopolitan UK (@cosmopolitanuk) on

So there's your Friends facts of the day. Tune in tomorrow for more (maybe).


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