Jennifer Aniston joined the Stern Show on Monday, sitting down with Howard during his first day of broadcasting from SiriusXM’s brand-new Hollywood studios.
While all parties agreed Monday’s interview should henceforth serve as the Emmy-winning actress’s official Stern Show debut, devout fans might remember Jennifer gracing Howard and Robin with her presence once before back in 1989 while she served as an ambassador for the weight-loss company Nutrisystem.
“Was that a career move, like, ‘I’m gonna go and be a spokesperson?’” Howard’s co-host Robin Quivers wondered.
“Robin, it was the most terrifying moment of my life,” Aniston said, recalling she had no idea what she was in for when she agreed to come on Howard’s show. All these years later, she still remembers the day quite vividly: “I was wearing white Reebok high-tops with bunchy white socks and a pair of khaki shorts and a tank top, and as I walked in I just remember hearing jungle cries.”
Howard, as it happened, recalled two additional details. “I remember everyone thought you were incredibly hot—that was number one—and number two I remember Gary, Baba Booey … He has said this all those years, ‘Oh, you know, I could’ve gotten Jennifer Aniston before she was famous because she wanted me that day.’”
Aniston wasn’t sure how Gary got that impression, but Howard had his own theory which he thought also helped explain part of her enduring Hollywood charm. “Every guy thinks that, like, Jennifer Aniston would be into him because you come off like you’re not too full of yourself,” Howard said.
As it turned out, Howard isn’t the only entertainment icon Aniston met before getting her big break. She recalled a series of run-ins with “Saturday Night Live” head honcho Lorne Michaels, who apparently wanted her to join the cast of his late-night sketch-comedy show. Aniston, a second-generation actress who had spent much of her career up until that point in acting school and starring in serious dramas on stage, admitted she was “thrown” that Lorne considered her to be a comedic actress.
“I just went to talk with him, and I was such a young twit,” Aniston said, explaining she boldly told Lorne “SNL” seemed like a bit of a boys club and suggested he might try treating his female employees better. “You’re just not the brightest in your early 20s,” she added.
Aniston, of course, ultimately embraced a different NBC comedy gig. In 1994, she signed on to play Rachel Green on the NBC sitcom “Friends.” The show was an immediate hit and ran for 10 seasons, turning each member of its ensemble cast into bonafide superstars. Jennifer told Howard she first knew that she’d become famous after fans followed her into a pharmacy in San Francisco to watch her purchase toilet paper.
“Friends” has been off the air over 15 years now, but its fanbase hasn’t diminished. In fact, there are still constant calls for the cast to get together for a reunion. Howard wondered if that was something Jennifer and her co-stars would ever consider.
“We all miss it, every day,” Aniston confessed, though she wasn’t sure a revival was likely to happen. “I really think there’s an idea that if there’s a reboot of the show it won’t be even close to as good as what it was. So, why do it?”
Regardless of whether the show might ever go on, Aniston revealed she and her “Friends” castmates have no problem maintaining their friendships behind the scenes. She told Howard the whole gang actually just got together for dinner last week at co-star Courteney Cox’s house. “Everyone was there,” Jennifer said. “[David] Schwimmer was in town and we all happened to have a window of time, so we all got together … Oh my God, we laughed so hard.”
Howard was amazed they’ve all remained so close. “No one in that crew annoyed you?” he wondered.
“Not one,” Jennifer told him. “Lightning in a bottle.”
While some of Jennifer’s fans might always see her as Rachel, the actress has done plenty of other well-received projects in ensuing years, scoring a Golden Globe nomination for her role in the indie drama “Cake” and an Emmy nom for her guest stint on “30 Rock.” She's also starred in several hit films, including “Horrible Bosses,” “We're the Millers,” and “He's Just Not That Into You,” as well as opposite Adam Sandler in the recent Netflix comedy “Murder Mystery.”
Jennifer’s latest project is “The Morning Show,” an Apple TV+ series she executive produces along with Reese Witherspoon. The two star as rival news anchors whose morning TV show is thrown into disarray after another newscaster (played by Steve Carell) is fired amidst a sexual misconduct scandal. While the story may sound like its ripped straight from some real-life headlines involving Matt Lauer’s exit at “Today,” Aniston insisted her new show isn’t based on any one person.
“It’s a lot of people,” Aniston explained. “[Carell] is the archetype for, unfortunately, many men. It’s more than just Matt,” she added before admitting Lauer and Carell do share an uncanny resemblance.
There was one real-life situation Jennifer was happy to weigh-in on, however—JD Harmeyer’s upcoming maiden voyage with marijuana. As previously reported, the Stern Show staffer is set to smoke weed for the first time on Tuesday. On Monday afternoon, Aniston graciously offered JD some last-minute advice.
“It could be the worst day of your life or the best day of your life,” she told him, adding, “Don’t worry, you’ll live.”
“The Morning Show” debuts Nov. 1 on Apple TV+.