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James Michael Tyler grateful for Gunther money from Friends repeats

James Michael Tyler is very grateful to still get paid for his role as Central Perk coffee house manager Gunther on 'Friends' 15 years after the show ended.

James Michael Tyler grateful for Gunther money from Friends repeats


James Michael Tyler is very grateful to still get paid for his work on 'Friends' 15 years after the show ended.

The 57-year-old actor played Central Perk coffee house manager Gunther in the American comedy series and due to the programme's continued popularity he gets cheques in the post from the syndication revenue.

However, James' earnings pale in comparison to the reputed $20 million-a-year banked by the main six cast members - Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer and Matthew Perry.

Speaking exclusively to BANG Showbiz, he said: "I'm very happy if I get a residual cheque, I do get residuals. I wasn't paid a million dollars an episode, of course, that would be a completely different story ... I'm paid for episodes I spoke in and it's a sliding scale, I don't know how it works. Very fortunately I'm not an accountant I just stay completely out of that. I'm fortunate to have a supplement into my income because of 'Friends', however, I'm still a working actor. I didn't rest on my laurels and say, 'I was Gunther, I'm gonna buy an island!' I couldn't do that anyway."

James admits he is surprised that 25 years after the NBC sitcom first aired in 1994 that it still remains as popular as it ever was due to it streaming on Netflix and being repeated on various cable channels such as Comedy Central which airs episodes every day.

The 'Episodes' actor thinks the reason 'Friends' appeals to modern audiences is because the show's focus was always on the six main characters and their relationships.

He said: "About five years ago they had the 20th anniversary and the first 'FriendsFest' in the UK and I retired Gunther, I thought that has to be it. And then it launched on Netflix and of course it garnered an entirely new audience of Millennials and young people. They were watching it like it was the first run and it's more popular now than ever. I never would have imagined I'd be here sitting here 25 years after it began, still talking about.

"Although it was a show that was set in the Nineties the only thing that's dated about it is the wardrobe. And now the Nineties wardrobe and fashion is back, hairstyles of the Nineties are kind of back. 'Friends' never really focused on anything that topical, it was more about the characters and their relationships, they're archetypes of everyone who is a teenager or young adult anywhere in the world and it's based upon real experiences of the writers. Now I give that credit to the writers because they were writing about their own experiences and then turning them into something more comedic. Everybody knows a Rachel or a Monica, and I think we all have parts of each character within ourselves. I don't know if everyone has Gunther in them, maybe Gunther is the extant of that theory of mine!"

This year the Christmas and Thanksgiving episodes of 'Friends' are being celebrated in the UK when 'FriendsFestive' comes to The Truman Brewery in London.

Fans can pay a visit to the Holiday Armadillo's Grotto, ring Phoebe's bell outside the mall and recreate the show's titles in the snow among other seasonal activities.

Go to to buy tickets.

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