There’s 1 Detail That Makes The Joey Spinoff’s Lack Of Friends Guest Stars Even More Confusing


  • The lack of cameo appearances by the cast of Friends on Joey may have contributed to the spinoff’s cancellation.
  • David Schwimmer, who played Ross on Friends, directed two episodes of Joey but did not appear on the show.
  • Robert Costanzo, who played Joey’s father on Friends, appeared in one episode of Joey as well, making him the only other actor to play the same role in both shows.

Joey featured surprisingly few guest stars from Friends, but there’s a piece of trivia about Matt LeBlanc’s spinoff show that makes the shortage of exciting cameos even more mysterious. Despite the enormous success that Friends enjoyed over its ten-season run, almost every single cast member decided not to appear in Joey. Although this isn’t necessarily the reason why the Joey spinoff failed, it may have contributed to the show’s rapid cancelation.

Joey started almost immediately after the Friends season 10 finale and ran for just 2 seasons. Among its many criticisms, there were complaints that the spinoff barely made any reference to the events of its parent show and the Friends cast. However, there were some loose ties between Friends and Joey other than Matt LeBlanc reprising his most famous role. While some of these were fan service, others toyed with the edges of what people actually wanted to happen.


Friends: Why Joey Was The Only Friend Who Got A Spinoff

Friends wasn’t the end of Joey, as he got his own spinoff series shortly after, but why was he the only one in the group to get his own show?

David Schwimmer Directed 2 Episodes Of Joey

Ross never appeared in the Friends spinoff

David Schwimmer As Ross And Matt LeBlanc as Joey watching TV In Friends

Two episodes of Joey season 1 had a very famous director with strong ties to the franchise at large. Episode 5, “Joey and the Perfect Storm,” and episode 13, “Joey and the Taste Test” both had Friends royalty in the director’s chair. Having also directed ten episodes of Friends, David Schwimmer, who played Ross Gellar in all 10 seasons of Friends, returned to direct two installments of his former castmate’s spinoff show.

The two Joey episodes directed by Schwimmer mark the only involvement by any of the main cast of Friends with LeBlanc’s show. Joey would have been perfect for the return of any member of the main six characters. This makes it even more surprising that Schwimmer was on the follow-up sitcom’s set twice in an official capacity without stepping in front of the camera as Ross Geller.

Why David Schwimmer Probably Didn’t Want To Play Ross In Joey

Schwimmer had moved on to other successful enterprises other than playing Ross

While it’s disappointing that Schwimmer only contributed to Joey in his capacity as a director, there’s more than one potential reason why he may not have wanted to reprise his role as Ross. Joey season 1 began in 2004 and Schwimmer has a number of other directing credits around that time in both TV and film. As well as directing an episode of The Tracey Morgan show, Schwimmer is also credited as the director of TV movies Americana and Nevermind Nirvana. Beyond 2004, he also directed Simon Pegg’s Run Fatboy Run in 2007 and continued to direct into the mid-2010s.

In addition to his burgeoning career behind the camera, David Schwimmer also walked right into the role of Madagascar‘s Melman after Friends. His franchise debut came in 2005 when the first movie in the series was released. Madagascar went on to become a major franchise with multiple installments across various forms of media, and the Friends star has appeared in every Madagascar movie from the main series. This may have made Schwimmer feel much more comfortable about not relying on his reputation as Ross Geller, resulting in him feeling willing and able to leave the beloved character behind.

Schwimmer has continued to work steadily since his final appearance as Ross Geller in 2004, showing that his decision to step away from embodying the character was effective. By appearing in Joey as Ross, the actor would have mainly been caving in to pressure from fans who missed seeing the famous sitcom character. Instead, Schwimmer’s directorial work and other big roles have made him more than the character that made him a household name.

Schwimmer’s debut as a director was in 1998’s Since You’ve Been Gone, a movie in which he also starred.

Joey’s Dad Was The Only Friends Character Other Than Joey To Appear In Both Friends & Its Spinoff

Robert Costanzo was only in one episode of Friends

Robert Costanzo as Joey's Dad and Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani with both men arguing in suits in Joey

Ross’ absence from Joey didn’t mean there weren’t any Friends cameos at all. Joey season 2, episode 15, “Joey and the Dad,” featured the return of Robert Costanzo as Joey’s father, Joey Tribbiani Sr. As Friends cameos go, Costanzo reprising his role is rather minor when compared to the other possibilities. The actor appeared in a single episode, playing Joey’s adulterous father in Friends season 1, episode 13, “The One with the Boobies.” This made Costanzo the only actor other than LeBlanc to play the same role in both shows.


The Joey Show: 10 Inconsistencies Compared To Friends

Spin-offs are always a TV risk. Joey, the follow-up to Friends, was a huge bomb. It had discrepancies between the shows and Joey Tribbiani himself.

Perhaps even more frustratingly, multiple actors appeared in both Friends and Joey who played separate characters in both shows. The most prominent example is Jennifer Coolidge, who appeared as Amanda in Friends season 10, episode 3, “The One with Ross’s Tan.” Coolidge didn’t return as Amanda in the spinoff but instead became part of Joey‘s main cast. The actor appeared as Joey’s eccentric agent, Roberta “Bobbie” Morganstern, in 37 episodes. This made Coolidge by far the second-most prolific returning star from Friends to appear in Joey alongside Matt LeBlanc.

All 10 seasons of Friends are streaming now on Max. Joey is currently not on any streaming services.


Release Date
September 16, 2004

Matt LeBlanc , Andrea Anders