Friends co-creator plans all-star comedy fundraiser for those impacted by strikes

marta kauffman
Friends co-creator plans comedy fundraiserVariety - Getty Images

Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman is planning an all-star fundraising event for members of those impacted by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and SAG-AFTRA strikes.

The WGA announced in May that they would be striking, with the dispute regarding, amongst other issues, residual pay in the age of streaming. The acting union followed in July.

With the strike action continuing with seemingly no resolution in sight, Kauffman has announced The Give Back-ular Spectacular, a fundraising event produced in collaboration with The Union Solidarity Coalition.

marta kauffman
Variety - Getty Images

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The event will take place at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles on October 25, with donation opportunities being available in-person and online; the proceedings will also be live-streamed, with the line-up set to be announced in the coming weeks.

The two-hour event is designed to raise awareness for the strikes and benefit technical workers impacted by the strikes, which have affected an “entire community of artists, craftspeople, technicians, production assistants and support staff,” (via Deadline).

In addition to Kauffman, producers for The Give Back-ular Spectacular include Robbie Rowe Tollin, Jesse Schiller, Tony Phelan, Tara Miele, Kate Wagener, Paul Scheer and Paul McCrane, with the latter also serving as director.

Kauffman also served as a writer and executive producer on Friends, which aired a reunion special in 2021. Despite the show being a critical and commercial success, not every character proved to be comedy gold, with director James Burrows recently revealing why Ross’ ex-wife Emily was written out.

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“[Ross actor David] Schwimmer had no one to bounce off. It was like clapping with one hand,” he wrote. “In sitcoms and any type of romantic comedy, the funny is just as important as the chemistry. We discovered that any new girlfriend for Ross needed to be as funny as Rachel [Green, played by Jennifer Aniston].

“Often, you can't recast, because of tight shooting deadlines or other logistical considerations. You need someone who gets laughs. Sometimes you start an arc and it ain't working out, so you have to get rid of that person. If it's a day player, it's a quick goodbye,” he added.

Friends streams on Netflix in the UK, where it also airs daily on Comedy Central. In the US, you can stream the show on Max.

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