On the occasion of the DVD release of the summer film Happy Endings — in which Lisa Kudrow plays Mamie, an abortion counselor searching for the son she had as a teenager and gave up for adoption — TVGuide.com caught up with the actress to discuss her own massage experiences, the unfortunate fate of HBO's The Comeback, and whether Phoebe might ever drop in on her pal Joey.
TVGuide.com: In Happy Endings you and your masseur boyfriend make a fake documentary about the extra-special treatment he gives women. Ever have a crush on a masseur?
Lisa Kudrow: Oh, no. [Laughs] I prefer to be massaged by women.
TVGuide.com: Was it just a big ol' coincidence that your first big post-Friends project was about Phoebe's profession?
Kudrow: Oh, my gosh! A complete coincidence. That is a funny coincidence.
TVGuide.com: Happy Endings, The Comeback, Friends... Why are you so good at playing "awkward" moments?
Kudrow: "Awkward" is the thing that cracks me up the most, so that's my favorite kind of comedy.
TVGuide.com: Should people be surprised to see Tom Arnold so effective in his dramatic Happy Endings role?
Kudrow: He was so good — oh, my gosh. I know him and he's a lovely man.
TVGuide.com: I'll be interviewing him in a few days. He has a Christmas-sy TV-movie coming out.
Kudrow: Oh, he does? Because he also has that [feature] movie, The Kid & I [in theaters Dec. 2], which is supposed to be really good. Tom is just the nicest guy.
TVGuide.com: I loved The Comeback and talked it up to friends, even though, I have to say, I found Val's life at times depressing.
Kudrow: Why, because her house was really nice and she had a husband who loved her?
TVGuide.com: Fair point. But she always fell short of getting her due. What sort of feedback did you personally get on the series?
Kudrow: People loved it. To me what was interesting was just the range of experiences and perceptions people had with The Comeback. For some people, Valerie was just, "Oh my god, how pathetic! When is she going to stand up for herself?" And other people saw her as unbelievably strong. She let [show-within-a-show headwriter] Paulie G. do his stupid stuff and say his stupid things, but she kept her eye on the prize. The other thing that amazed me was that no one questioned her pride. No one questioned why it was so important that someone mention her in a [People's Choice Award acceptance] speech. Why is it so important that the paparazzi is taking your picture?
TVGuide.com: She just seemed to need validation.
Kudrow: But why do you need validation from there? [Laughs] You have a husband who loves you, you have a nice house, you're in good health, so is your husband....
TVGuide.com: Val took a lot of flack from the "Room and Bored" writers, namely Paulie G. Are sitcom scribes such sacred cows in real life?
Kudrow: I think every actor-writer relationship is unique, but they're definitely the boss. It's their show, they created it and they basically have the final word.
TVGuide.com: Were you more outspoken on Friends than Val was?
Kudrow: It was a different relationship. The six of us were treated differently. Our writers, David [Crane] and Marta [Kauffman] and Kevin Bright...
TVGuide.com: Not a Paulie G. in the bunch?
Kudrow: No, no, and they behaved more collaboratively.
TVGuide.com: But there probably are Paulie G.s out there.
Kudrow: Yeah, there are. We had a whole staff of writers who understood how to write the writers.
TVGuide.com: Was there anyone you wanted to guest-star on the show?
Kudrow: Yeah, Diane Keaton.
TVGuide.com: You, along with Michael McKean and Jennifer Coolidge, lent your voice to IFC's animated Hopeless Pictures. Was that a lot of fun?
Kudrow: Oh, yeah. It was so fun. I would just get on the phone and be the ex-wife [of McKean's character]. It was really fun.
TVGuide.com: Much of it is ad-libbed. Were you OK with that?
Kudrow: I loved that. I started in the Groundlings [improv group], but that's a different kind of ad-libbing.
TVGuide.com: What's next for you? A sequel to Analyze That? "Analyze Another Thing?"
Kudrow: [Laughs] I don't think so.
TVGuide.com: Do you no longer get offered Phoebe-type roles?
Kudrow: I get offered a lot of interesting independent-film stuff. And since Wonderland, I don't get offered anything like Phoebe. So that's all good. But I don't know what's next.
TVGuide.com: Well, worst case, Phoebe could easily drop in on Joey, flit in and out of his life.
Kudrow: Phoebe got married by the end of [Friends], so maybe I left Mike and I'm visiting?
TVGuide.com: She went from famine to feast at the end there, having to choose between Hank Azaria and Paul Rudd!
Kudrow: Please, it was like that the whole series! We always joked that Phoebe was the biggest, uh, whore of all!