1. James Michael Tyler was a real-life barista when he got the job on Friends.
2. He was only there to play the non-named "coffee guy" so that Central Perk would look "authentic."
"I'd worked with the assistant director, Joel Wang, and he gave me the call. He said, 'Hey, do you want to come on and be in the background in a coffee shop? I would love you to just stand by the espresso machine and pretend like you're actually really working it, just so it would look authentic. The show will probably go about six episodes at least.' No one really expected until after that first season that it was going to continue. And 10 years! Who would have thought?"
3. However, he never made coffee on the set.
4. But the sextet were really drinking coffee on set.
5. Gunther's blonde hair became a part of the character by accident.
"I had a friend who wanted to be a hairdresser and wanted to practice bleaching someone's hair, so I offered what hair I had left at the time. It came out white and that was the night before I was called in for the first day of shooting the first season."
6. And that led to him bleaching his hair every week for a decade.
7. The street outside Central Perk looks different in Season 1 and this is why.
"For the first season, we shot on a different soundstage, which was much smaller and the street outside was actually a backdrop. There was not a street in front of it, and if you look at some of those first episodes and compare them out the window to later episodes, it's completely different."
8. He didn't have a speaking line until halfway through Season 2.
"Marta Kauffman actually walked up to me one afternoon when I was outside in between takes and she asked me if I had any acting experience and I said, 'Yeah, I have a Master of Fine Arts in acting, actually. I've done a lot of stage, theater stuff, and things like that.' And she said, 'That's really good to know.' With no explanation! But the next week, I came in and she said, 'Your name is Gunther.' I said, 'Excuse me? What?' And she said, 'Your name is Gunther now.' I still didn't get it. Then, she said, 'Oh, that's your character name. And you get to say, 'Yeah' today. So, we're giving you a line.'"
9. For the first four seasons of Friends, he kept his day job.
"I kept my job at The Bourgeois Pig for the next four years. So I kept my day job, in other words, because I never knew if they were going to bring me back... But once Gunther was more established and they would have me on all week, not just one day a week, basically, I thought, OK, I don't really have time for this. The Bourgeois Pig managers and owners said, 'Honestly, you're only here like one or two shifts,' and there were other employees who were friends of mine. I loved it for the social aspect — it was like my way to see everybody in the neighborhood — but I'm like, I really should give these shifts up. Because it just didn't seem right."
10. Marcel was played by a female monkey.
11. And Mrs. Whiskerson was actually a really sweet cat.
12. Someone from the Dutch Embassy came to the Friends set to teach the cast all about "ezel."
13. It was an unspoken rule not to sit on the orange couch.
14. Gunther and Joey were supposed to kiss!
"Early on, second season, is an episode where the last scene, Joey is trying to learn how to kiss or Ross kisses incorrectly, so David [Schwimmer] and Matt [LeBlanc] kiss at the end of the episode. Originally, that was supposed to be Gunther, from what I understand from some of the writers. That didn't make it in."
15. And Lisa Kudrow's husband was there when Gunther and Phoebe kissed.
"I love Lisa, but it was weird because her husband was there when we shot. He was standing there! But that was great. I just adore Lisa and think she's a marvelous person and fantastic actor, so that was a really fun scene. I told her I'd brush my teeth right before the scene and have some gum or something."
16. Tyler and Jennifer Aniston cried shooting their final scene together.
17. Central Perk eventually became the airport in the finale.
18. Tyler took home some of Gunther's wardrobe and a piece of Central Perk.
"When the series ended, the cast and crew got pieces of the sidewalk outside of Central Perk, and I have some Gunther ties. Gunther was pretty deadpan and kind of a darker, colder character and I think it was just the juxtaposition of having him in these really loud, bright clothes that kind of made that play really well. Wardrobe let me keep the last tie Gunther wore in the scene where he professes his love for Rachel. And at the wrap party, I took the tie and I had the entire cast and the creators and writers of the show sign it for me. So, it's this really cool looking, loud tie with a bunch of Sharpie on it."