The last time Friends came to London, Joey wore a big hat and Richard Branson turned up.
We’re not quite sure if the Virgin honcho is in town right now, or whether merchandisers expect sales of Union Jack headwear to spike, but Friends is now back in the capital having landed at the Boiler Room, Brick Lane for FriendsFest.
An already sold out extravaganza, Comedy Central UK is marking 21 years since the first episode of the classic sitcom by replicating major sets like Central Perk and Monica's apartment, and bringing a few props over too.
Knowing something about perks ourselves, we headed down to see it for ourselves and scoff some biscuits. Here’s all you need to know.
You can still win tickets to the event - just keep an eye on @comedycentraluk on Twitter and look out for #FriendsFest.
Viewers wanting to get into the mood for Comedy Central’s FriendsFest can watch episodes of Friends in chronological order, weekdays from 5pm on Comedy Central.
YOU CAN SIT ON THE CENTRAL PERK COUCH
While other customers rarely dared to sit on the hallowed felt sofa of Central Perk (fun fact: producers got around this by including small reserved signs in the odd episode), there’ll be no trouble getting to park your keister on it here for a photo opportunity.
THE DETAIL IN MONICA’S APARTMENT IS STAGGERING
It may feel more compact than it looks on TV but the level of detail is such that a stroll around the apartment and dive onto the sofas will feel near existential, as if you’re watching yourself sitting on the Friends sofa from the comfort of your own sofa. Weird.
BEING ABLE TO PICK UP THE BINOCULARS
Just a word to the wise to anyone angling for extra Facebook likes. Most of the cups, saucers and cookies are glued down, but not the binoculars, making them perfect for a photo opp. And if it’s an Ugly Naked Guy you want to spy on, East London’s brimming with them.
TRYING NOT TO PAT THE DOG
After sidestepping a NYC telephone booth, it isn’t until you reach the real props, encased in a glass cabinet, that you know you’re in the presence of real televisual history. Scripts from Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E. and Days of Our Lives, a speech written by Joey for Monica and Chandler’s wedding, The Geller cup and Joey’s white china dog ‘Pat’ are just a few notable items.
AND PLAY FOOSBALL
Without the distractions of a duck and chick, thankfully.
OR QUICKDRAW THE LA-Z-BOYS
Reclining the La-Z-Boys in a manner of two gunslingers at the OK Corral proved a memorable moment in the eternal bromance between Joey and Chandler. Visitors can recreate this historic battle for themselves.
When attendees flock into the event they’ll be immediately put at ease by the soothing voice of James Michael Tyler, better known as baritone barista Gunther, who gives a quick rundown of the show via a quick video. Added incentive to wander off and quaff a strong brew.
THE GUEST STARS
There were some stellar A-listers to guests on Friends during its mighty run. And you can familiarise yourself with this illustrious few by checking out the framed pictures hanging above the ‘audience seats’. Names like Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Jon Lovitz – yep, all the big ones.
GET WET BY THE FOUNTAIN
Yes, it’s here – step outside and you’ll find an umbrella-strewn area complete with working fountain, reminding us all that once upon a time a group of twenty somethings manically flounced around in a big water fountain to the sounds of the Rembrandts. And by ‘get wet’, we’re naturally referring to London’s autumnal weather.
PLAYING 'SMELLY CAT' IS POSSIBLE
If you want. Up to you. We Wouldn’t. Yet strumming along to that chord-ruining song is an all too tantalising opportunity when an acoustic guitar is one of the props you can pick up and have yourself photographed with in front of a big yellow taxi - another song that might work.