Top 10 Hilarious Friends Running Gags

Script written by Alex Crilly Mckean Over the course of 10 seasons, Friends has a lot of running gags. Here’s our favorite running gags in Friends! We were on a break! Smelly Cat, Ugly Naked Guy, How You Doin’?, Chandler’s Job, Monica’s Perfectionism, Could I BE?, Phalange, are some of the best running gags in the show.
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Top 10 Friends Running Gags


Oh. My. God. Welcome to MsMojo and today we are counting down our picks for the Top 10 Friends Running Gags.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most hilarious and iconic moments from this legendary show that kept popping up during its ten-season run. We’ve excluded Mr. Heckles, as his time on the show was so brief.

#10: Phalange

Phoebe has some ridiculous quotes, but one of her most entertaining – and often subtly snuck into scenes – was this little number. Over the course of the series – whether it was pretending to be a businesswoman to win over Joey’s hand-twin, helping Chandler with his job interview skills, or covering for Joey’s inability to speak French, Phoebe’s alter ego was always a welcome addition to an episode. The crowning moment came when it delayed a flight. By ingeniously incorporating the word in a way only she could, Phoebe in essence managed to use phalange to save Ross and Rachel’s relationship. Way to go, Regina.

#9: Could I BE…?

Chandler Bing is well known for his use of sass, sarcasm, and dry wit. As a result, he’s managed to let loose a few zingers over the years, but our favourite moments have to be when he asks rhetorical questions, and emphasizes his sentences in a way that’s singularly his. Often used when put in hilariously unfortunate situations, Chandler’s overuse of kicking himself while he’s down is made all the funnier with how he emphasises the word “be.” Obviously, the others must have noticed because it’s not long before they’re imitating and mocking his catchphrase.

#8: Monica’s Perfectionism

Monica Geller is a lot of things: sister, friend, chef, aaaand a bit of a control freak. Whether it’s noticing crummies, or low-key throwing a fit when someone decides to move the ottoman, she has a track record for making others live in her spic-and-span world. But her need to have everything just so extends way past the confines of her own home. Despite her desire for perfection, over the years Monica has had to learn to roll with the punches – or else she’d go a bit crazy. But hey, even the most perfect people have a few skeletons in their closet… or y’know, just a really messy secret closet.

#7: Janice
No other cameo strikes dread into the hearts of our favorite New Yorkers more than the high-pitched shrill of one Janice Litman Goralnik née Hosenstein. For the longest time, she was the one woman that pined for the love of Chandler Bing more than any other, in her own shrieking kind of way. Whenever she would appear onscreen, we knew that trouble wasn’t far away. Even after she had seemingly abandoned her crusade to make Chandler hers, she would still randomly pop up in later seasons, more often than not at the worst possible time. Do we still love her? Absolutely.

#6: Chandler’s Job
Granted, it may not be the flashiest of jobs, but Chandler’s career in the statistical analysis and data reconfiguration business has still made for a great running gag, mainly due to no one ever remembering what he actually does for a living. While you’d think the joke would become stale after a while, this perpetual amnesia has actually worked itself into some brilliant moments over the series run. Case in point, when it won Chandler and Joey an apartment. Don’t feel too bad there, Chandler, as Monica caught on eventually… after nine seasons.

#5: Ross’ Divorces

It’s fair to say that when it comes to love, Ross Geller is a walking disaster. In total, he has been married and divorced three times, and each was rather brutal. Ever since his first wife, Carol, turned out to be a lesbian, his love life has kinda not gone so well. While exchanging vows with his second bride, Emily, he accidentally said Rachel’s name out-loud, resulting a very messy breakup. Then there was that little fiasco in Vegas where a very drunk Ross and Rachel tied the knot. While we sort of feel sorry for him, we have to admit that Ross’ string of bad relationships has made for great TV!

#4: Smelly Cat & Other Songs

Aside from the occasional burst of wackiness, Phoebe Buffay’s most famous trait is her music. Well, we say music, more like a medley of tracks that confuse and disorientate. But damn are they entertaining. Her most iconic piece would be that of “Smelly Cat,” a song that frequently comes up during Phoebe’s performances at Central Perk, and it’s as nonsensical as you’d expect. Over the years, actual musicians have tried their hands at it, it’s become a jingle, and even got its own music video. If you ever wondered how Pheebs conjured up such an infectious melody, well, she may have been a little inspired by her dad.

#3: Ugly Naked Guy

Just who is this mysterious figure that lives across from the apartment? We have no idea; all we know is that he doesn’t care for clothing, and is quite unattractive. In essence, he’s like the unofficial seventh member of the group. The gang observes some of Ugly Naked Guy’s exciting antics, from the holiday-appropriate, to the positively wacky. The closest we ever come to meeting him is when they all think he’s dead, and when Ross tries to snag his apartment for himself. In spite of his apparently abhorrent exterior, it’s nice to know that there is an Ugly Naked Gal in his life.

#2: How You Doin’?

Joey Tribbiani, before all else, is a ladies man. Oh sure, he cares about his friends, his acting career, and stuffing his face with as much food as possible, but there’s nothing that catches his attention more than a pretty girl. Joey’s got a fair amount of moves in his dating arsenal, but this catchphrase sets hearts aflame and leaves us in stitches more than anything else. Whenever a potential romantic encounter crosses his path, Joey will utter these three immortal worlds. Have they ever failed him? You be the judge.

Before we reveal our number one pick, here are a few honourable mentions.

Gunther Loves Rachel

Phoebe’s Childhood

#1: We Were On A Break

Ross and Rachel’s breakup, and the emotional fallout that subsequently followed was one of the most heart-breaking moments in the entire show, and paved the way for one of the most iconic will-they-won’t-they TV relationships of all time. It also spawned this hilarious catchphrase, which even the most casual “Friends” fan knows. Ross has a tendency to either say the wrong thing or to say it at the wrong time, and you knew he was digging himself a hole whenever he decided to use this as an argument. Ross, just let sleeping dogs lie!

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