Janice’s Earth-Ending ‘Friends’ Laugh: Actress Maggie Wheeler Explains Origin
It was a sound that could single-handedly crack the polar ice caps, incite dormant geysers or corral obedient sheep of a cliff: Janice's Friends laugh. For 10 seasons, the character would pop up when ex-boyfriend Chandler (Matthew Perry) least expected it to exclaim "Oh. My. God!" before unleashing the demon sound. And in a new interview with This Morning, actress Maggie Wheeler says she conceived of the cackle, surprisingly, to help her keep her composure.
"The laugh happened organically for me in the first rehearsal, because I needed to find a way to laugh, because Matthew Perry is so funny," she said. "Working with him, I knew right away, I thought, 'This guy's gonna make me laugh on set, I've gotta be prepared. What am I going to do?' So I created Janice's laugh as a safety measure for when Matthew made me laugh."
Though Wheeler estimates she appeared in fewer than 30 episodes, Janice nevertheless became a staple of the series, and the actress maintains she's a bit shocked the Long Island caricature became such an icon.
"It was always a surprise that she continued to have a life on the show. I was always so thrilled every time the writers decided to bring me back," she said. "It started out as a one-shot deal — come in, do one episode — and out of that came ten years of this extraordinary, joyful experience."
And here is Wheeler's favorite Janice line, which we co-sign — Janice said it upon running into Chandler on Valentine's Day after being harshly dumped by him:
"By the way, Chandler. I cut you out of all my pictures. So if you want, I have a bag with just your heads...you could make little puppets out of them, and you could use them in your theater of cruelty."
Watch the interview, and tell us if you're surprised by the origins of Janice's laugh.
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