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Image / Living / Culture

‘Friends’ monkey trainer responds to David Schwimmer’s comments about Marcel


By Sarah Finnan
07th Jul 2021
‘Friends’ monkey trainer responds to David Schwimmer’s comments about Marcel

David Schwimmer is in hot water with Marcel the monkey’s trainer who dubbed him “despicable” for comments he made against the animal recently.

Anyone who watched the Friends reunion episode will know that David Schwimmer apparently had beef with one particular colleague. Thankfully, it wasn’t with one of the other core five castmates – they really were as good pals as we imagined them to be. As it turns out, his issue was with Marcel the monkey (played by two different capuchin monkeys Katie and Monkey). 

Asked by an audience member whether there was anything that they “didn’t like” while working on the show, the group was almost unanimous in their answer with Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, and David Schwimmer all responding “the monkey”. 

Pre-empting his story by emphasising that he is most definitely an “animal lover”, Schwimmer admitted that he found it difficult to shoot scenes that involved either monkey. Why? I’ll let him tell it. 

“Here was my problem. The monkey – obviously it was trained and it had to hit its mark and do its thing right at the perfect time – but what inevitably began to happen was we would all have choreographed bits kind of timed out, and it would get messed up because the monkey didn’t do its job right. So, we’d have to reset; we’d have to go again because the monkey didn’t get it right,” he explained. 

Cue lots of laughs, eye-rolling, and “David’s so angry still” from the rest of the gang. Ignoring their commentary, he continued on with his story. “This kept happening over and over, where we’re about to do something really funny but the monkey didn’t hit its mark so we have to start again.”

I mean, I get where he’s coming from… but it’s kind of hard to blame an animal for not understanding comedic timing, no? 

His grievances didn’t stop there though. Far from it, and Schwimmer said it was the fact that the monkey would often be fed live grubs while sitting on his shoulder that really threw him over the edge. “When the monkey was resting and just waiting for us to roll, it would sit on my shoulder and the trainer would come up and just open and give the monkey live grubs to eat.

“So, the monkey would be sitting on my shoulder, take some grubs, like break ‘em in half – these squirming live grubs – eat it and then he’d just go like that”… a statement he accompanied with actions to show how he’d have “monkey grubby hands all over, all over”. 

LeBlanc, Kudrow, and Perry kept fairly quiet as to their feelings towards the animal but Courteney Cox confessed that the monkey “scared” her a little bit. Marcel did have at least one ally on set though, with Jennifer Anniston telling viewers that she “loved” him… something Schwimmer puts down to the fact that she rarely had to touch him. 

While most will have just taken the story at face value, accepting it as nothing more than just a funny behind-the-scenes anecdote, it appears that it’s had the opposite effect on Marcel’s trainer, Mike Morris, who has since responded to the situation. Branding Schwimmer “despicable” for the comments, Morris accused the actor of supposedly being jealous of the monkey. Just when you thought things couldn’t get more bizarre, eh?!

Hitting back at Schwimmer for what he said on the reunion episode, Morris told The Sun, “I just don’t agree with it, if anything he threw off their timing if we want to be truthful. 

“Schwimmer was fine with the monkeys for the first couple of episodes and happy to be there. But people would laugh at the monkey and I think he got jealous because it wasn’t him getting the laughs.”

Later claiming that the actor (who played Ross Geller on the show) “seemed to get a little bitter” about the monkeys being there, Morris said that he would even refuse to rehearse scenes with them. “It got to the point where he just really resented the monkey being there, he obviously had a problem with her and he’s still talking about it now.”

Sure to make his feelings crystal clear, Morris finished by saying, “I find it despicable for him to still be speaking ill of her.”