Lisa Kudrow turned 50 last summer. Instead of throwing a blowout birthday bash—“If you have a big party, then everyone will remember it years from now, when you turn 50 again,” she jokes—the actress headed to Las Vegas to mark the occasion.
Keeping it low key, Kudrow celebrated with her husband of 19 years, French-born businessman Michel Stern, and a couple with whom she’s close. Kudrow spent her time in Vegas playing blackjack and learning craps. So, did she win big? “No,” she says, laughing over the phone from her home in Los Angeles. “Sometimes I win. But I come with a certain amount of money that I’m willing to spend—I don’t say ‘lose’—on the game. I don’t ever want to find myself at an ATM in Las Vegas.”
What are the odds that Phoebe Buffay, the ditz Kudrow so memorably played on Friends for 10 seasons, would take a similarly sensible approach? Not that anyone who has followed Kudrow’s post-Friends career would ever confuse her with her most famous role. In the decade since the legendary sitcom ended, the Vassar-educated Kudrow has made her mark not only as a performer but also as a writer and producer of such smart programming as HBO’s The Comeback, Showtime’s Web Therapy and TLC’s genealogy show, Who Do You Think You Are?, which begins its fifth season on July 23.
Web Therapy, which debuted online in 2008 and was adapted for television in 2011, starts its fourth season later this year. In the comedy series, which is partly improvised, Kudrow plays Fiona Wallace, the world’s worst psychotherapist. Despite its shoestring budget, the show lands big-name guest stars (Jon Hamm, Billy Crystal, Allison Janney and former Friends castmate Matthew Perry pop up this year), thanks to Kudrow’s connections. “We pay $900, plus the 10 percent that their agent would get,” she says. “And we feed them lunch if they want.”
Read the rest of our interview with Lisa Kudrow in the July/August issue of MORE, on newsstands now! You can also read MORE on your iPad. Try it for free!
LEAH ROZEN profiled Chelsea Handler in the June issue of More.
Lisa Kudrow was previously featured in the July/August 2011 issue of More.