What Makes Janice's Laugh on Friends So Memorable? Maggie Wheeler Has a Theory

Wheeler looked back on her time on the fan-favorite comedy for the 25th anniversary

By Chris Harnick Sep 20, 2019 6:34 PMTags
Related: "Friends" Star Maggie Wheeler aka Janice Can Still Do Iconic Laugh

Maggie Wheeler can't escape Friends, but that's not a problem.

"People stop me on the street and they say, ‘Will you laugh? Will you do the oh my god?' whatever it is, and we have a great time," Wheeler, who slipped in and out of her Janice voice, told E! News at the Friends pop-up in New York. "I know this character brought people so much joy, and people express that to me wherever I go, and it makes me happy to bring a little happiness to them."

Wheeler played Janice for 10 seasons of Friends. Originally a girlfriend of Chandler (Matthew Perry), the two would end their relationship and start back up frequently. By the time the series wrapped up its 10-season run, Janice—or at least her voice—popped up in 19 episodes.

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Friends is turning 25 on Sunday, Sept. 22 and Warner Bros., the studio behind the NBC comedy, has gone all out celebrating the fan-favorite series. But for Wheeler, it doesn't feel like it's been 25 years since she first introduced Janice to viewers.

"No one knew it was going to be that, really. It was one episode that turned into 10 seasons of this character coming back at these unexpected moments and doing all these crazy things and it's been such a joy," Wheeler said. "I have people coming up to me from all over the world…it's really pretty thrilling and wonderful."

Alice S. Hall/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Wheeler, whose real voice is nowhere near that of her character's, said there's something about the laugh that makes it all the more memorable.

"The laugh, I think, probably enters some yet-undiscovered part of the brain where it lives forever and ever," she said.

The ever-present nature of Friends on Netflix and airwaves has made it feel like no time has passed at all for Wheeler.

"To me it feels like yesterday, so it feels very surreal that it's been 25 years," she said.

Click play on the video above to hear more from Wheeler.

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In the video below, Gunther himself, James Michael Tyler, reveals how a happy accident got him cast on the series.

All 10 seasons of Friends are streaming on Netflix through 2019. The comedy will move to a new streaming home, HBO Max, in 2020.

"The One Where We Have to Say Goodbye," Netflix tweeted." We're sorry to see Friends go to Warner's streaming service at the beginning of 2020 (in the US). Thanks for the memories, gang."