Evolution of Rock

Catch Taylor Swift and Lisa Kudrow’s Surprise “Smelly Cat” Performance

Celebrity crossovers and joint performances are not a new phenomenon. They’ve been happening for years, especially at arena tours where audiences are surprised with a guest appearance and a special song; sometimes, these are unique occurrences like the one between Taylor Swift and Friends star Lisa Kudrow.

At Los Angeles’ Staples Center on August 26th, 2015, during Taylor Swift’s sold-out 1989 World Tour, audiences were in for a rare and unexpected treat. Lisa Kudrow—best known as Phoebe Buffay—reprised her role for a live acoustic rendition of the comedic Friends song “Smelly Cat,” as seen in the video below:

Before Lisa Kudrow took the stage, Taylor Swift hinted at her special guest. “This singer, she’s only ever played in coffee houses before,” she said. “She’s never played in a big venue like this, so we’ve got to make her feel welcome.” When fans realized it was one of Friends’ biggest stars, they went wild, even more so when they learned they were about to hear an exclusive performance of “Smelly Cat.”

“Smelly Cat” became a cult comedy song from the Friends TV show shortly after the episode “The One With The Baby On The Bus” aired. The song recurred throughout multiple episodes featuring Phoebe and became a significant part of her character’s personality. This running gag became a fan favorite and remains one of the most referenced aspects of Friends to this day:

During their unexpected duet at the Staples Center, Lisa Kudrow and Taylor Swift shared a guitar and began singing “Smelly Cat” together. When it was Taylor’s turn to sing a verse solo, Kudrow promptly interrupted her, humorously correcting her and mentioning that she had to ‘feel the lyrics.’ After some playful back-and-forth, the duo resumed the song, with the entire audience joining in for the final verse.

Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour was a global hit, with arenas sold out worldwide in celebration of her fifth studio album, 1989. The album marked a significant departure from her country roots, showcasing her growth as an artist. It features some of her most successful songs to date, including the pop anthem “Blank Space,” which quickly soared to the top of global charts after its release.

“Smelly Cat” has become more than just a Friends-related cult comedy classic; it has been covered by numerous artists, including Chris Isaak, James Michael Tyler, and even co-star Courteney Cox (Monica Geller). In 2021, the cast of Friends reunited for a one-off Reunion Special, where Lisa Kudrow performed “Smelly Cat” with the iconic American singer-songwriter Lady Gaga.

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