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Interview With Lisa Kudrow

Aired August 5, 2011 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, star of one of the most popular sitcoms in television history, whose picture is splashed front pages all over the world.

One absolutely shocking thing about Lisa Kudrow, she's normal.


LISA KUDROW, ACTRESS: Hey, Piers, remember I said I would be too boring for your show? Good luck. I hope you're good with awkward pauses and dead air.


MORGAN: I think I'll have to disagree with you there. Actress, producer, wife, mother and a woman who even made boring funny, Lisa Kudrow.


MORGAN: Nice to meet you.

KUDROW: You've just given me a moment.


MORGAN: And the man that put "90210" on the map, one of the greatest teen idols of all time.


JASON PRIESTLEY, ACTOR: Come on, Piers, that was a long time ago -- very long time ago.


MORGAN: Tell that to the woman in my office, mate.

"Beverly Hills 90210" to actor/director, race car driver, the multitalented, Jason Priestley.


(MUSIC) MORGAN: Lisa Kudrow is not Phoebe from "Friends." Let's get this right out of the way from the start. She looks like Phoebe. She talks like Phoebe. And I've just discovered she laughs like Phoebe, but she's not Phoebe. She's an accomplished actress and producer.

And Lisa Kudrow joins me now to tell me why you are not Phoebe.


MORGAN: That's a ridiculous intro, isn't it?

But it made me laugh.

It's like you're so iconic. And this is the trouble with those kinds of shows, isn't it, you become so iconic. You're the most Phoebe in -- in the history of mankind.

KUDROW: Right. But you know what it does, is it give me a lot of privacy.

MORGAN: Does it?

KUDROW: Because I'm nothing like her.

MORGAN: Right.

KUDROW: So people miss me a lot, because I'm not -- I'm not, you know, smiley and warm and lovely like Phoebe is. So, I mean people still, obviously, recognize me and say, "Hey, Phoebe." But --

MORGAN: When people see you in the street, how many say -- percentage wise, just a rough guess -- how many say Phoebe and how many say Lisa?

KUDROW: It's 50-50. Yes.

MORGAN: And do you mind?


MORGAN: Or are you -- are you -- are you sort of proud and warm about Phoebe and what it did for you?

KUDROW: I'm proud and you said warm?


KUDROW: You didn't say warb (ph).

MORGAN: No, no, warb.

KUDROW: That's what I heard but --


KUDROW: -- but, no, I'm very and very grateful because for a lot of reasons. I mean, you know, first of all, Phoebe was so light and wonderful and I was not until -- until I had to inhabit her for 10 years --

MORGAN: So you're not real --

KUDROW: -- and it really lightened me up.

MORGAN: Did you become a lighter, warmer, cuddly person as a result of playing this character?


MORGAN: Really?

KUDROW: I mean, definitely -- well, between Phoebe and the five other actors on the show, we were all really affectionate and warm and, you know, we just had a great relationship. So, yes, it really -- it did. It all lightened me up, I have to say. And then, also, just what it got me, this kind of life professional independence, I think.

MORGAN: Because you have made squillions and squillions, right?

KUDROW: Squillions?


KUDROW: Well, I've -- that would have been even -- more is more. So --

MORGAN: But you made enough money and had enough clout in the business to now call your shots.

And what's fascinating about your career path is you're really making that work for yourself. I mean, you're becoming a very distinguished producer. You know, you came up with this brilliant concept based on the British show, "Who Do You -- Who Do You Think You Are?" -- which is this kind of biographical journey through people's lives and their ancestors and so on.

I mean, it's an impressive resume you're building up away from Phoebe.

KUDROW: Well, I mean, to be fair, you know, I didn't do much with the concept. I just saw a show that I thought was the most compelling thing I'd ever seen. And just really trusted that the American audience would also find it compelling, and I was really happy that I was right.

MORGAN: Let me show you a clip and then we'll talk about this some more.



KUDROW: Hello.

Oh (INAUDIBLE). It's so good to meet you.

Oh, my gosh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will translate, because grandfather is forgetting English. This is my father

ANDREZ BARUDIN: Nice to see you. It is amazing. Lisa Kudrow in my home. You're not in my TV? I don't believe.

Nice to see you.

KUDROW: It's good to see you.


MORGAN: Even now when you're watching that, you're emotional. Extraordinary.

KUDROW: Oh, yes. I teared up. I'm -- yes.

MORGAN: Isn't it -- it was an incredibly powerful how, your show.


MORGAN: I mean, there were moments just -- I will always remember the moment when you traced your grandmother and you just stood where she had been wiped out by the Nazis with hundreds of other Jews.

KUDROW: Right.

MORGAN: And it was a heartbreaking moment for you, but astonishingly powerful to watch you reliving your family's horrific time at the hands of the Nazis.

How did making that program change you, do you think?

KUDROW: Well, I think it -- in a -- in a few ways. I mean, one of the things is that, you know, I've always been very much a realist and not actually an optimist because I knew about the Holocaust since I was probably too young to know about it. And it really did shade how I saw the world, is that, you know, there are atrocities and that's sort of -- that's what's always happened and always will happen. And if anything nice happens, that's a real bonus.

So I've always had that kind of dark view of the world. And when I saw that that relative, that my father's first cousin, who everyone was certain was dead, that he was actually alive, it was like a miracle to me. And that really gave me hope, I have to say. I mean it mind sound real like cliche or --

MORGAN: I mean what -- what --

KUDROW: But it's that basic for me. That that gave me hope.

MORGAN: Well, what was interesting me was I met you soon after I launched this show, earlier this year. And I said I'd love to have you on. And you said, oh, my -- my life's far too boring.

KUDROW: Um-hmm.

MORGAN: And then anyone who watched that program about your -- your life, your family and so on, but it couldn't have been less boring. I mean, you've had this riveting --

KUDROW: Well, that's my great grandmother and that's --

MORGAN: Yes, but it's still part of what you are --

KUDROW: That's not --

MORGAN: -- isn't it?

And I think the emotion that you showed there and the fascination you had for it all said a lot about you, too.

KUDROW: Yes. Well, I'm -- you know, that show, there's something very deep about that show. There are so many layers. And that's what I'm always drawn to, that things are really complicated and we're all here because of a series of accidents or minor decisions or major decisions and otherwise we wouldn't even have ever been born.

And I think that stuff was interesting, you know?

MORGAN: How would you describe yourself?

I mean, what's the real Lisa Kudrow like?

KUDROW: Oh, I don't know.


MORGAN: We're putting you on the therapist's couch here. But, you know --


KUDROW: I think I -- I'm not a big game player. You know, I don't like being manipulated at all. I have -- I mean, it's -- I have a strong aversion to that.

And so, I don't do it myself. I try to be as direct as possible. And -- and, yes, I mean, it's a miracle that I ever got married, because I was never flirty and --

MORGAN: Really?

KUDROW: Yes. It felt like such obvious behavior that I was too embarrassed to try to --


MORGAN: -- this is really, really weird thing, quite a happy marriage.

KUDROW: Um-hmm. Yes.

MORGAN: Which is unusual by Hollywood standards. You haven't been through the charge. I try and find it in your -- in the research I read -- incidents of terrible drug abuse, alcoholism, multiple marriages, cheating, affairs. There's nothing there.

KUDROW: No. I know. I mean --

MORGAN: You're Miss Squeaky Clean.

KUDROW: Well, I mean, I was born and then it's like I turned 30 --


KUDROW: -- almost immediately. And, yes, I was the one in high school who would say, wait, but if we get in the car with those boys, they're only 17. They're, historically, the worst drivers in the world and have the worst judgment --


KUDROW: -- and I think they've been drinking so I'm not going to go.

I was that person. So weird. I mean, I think I'm weird. I mean, I'd love to be my parents, because you don't have to worry, but weird.

MORGAN: Why do you think that you've been able to have such a sustainable and happy marriage?

KUDROW: Because of the weird.

MORGAN: Because you're weird?

KUDROW: I think it's the weird.

MORGAN: And because your husband likes weirdness or tolerates weirdness?

KUDROW: I think he tolerates it, because he definitely -- he tolerates it. But, you know, I also have a close family and we all live really close to each other. So you get grounded that way. And then, I don't know, just at -- with my husband and my family, just the priorities.

I mean, I think -- I think people can change a whole lot. But it's the priorities that change that make you look like you've changed a lot.

That's it. I mean --

MORGAN: I mean, it's pretty remarkable. You will know, just from your former "Friends" colleagues and so on, how difficult that is.

KUDROW: I think it's --

MORGAN: And how lucky, perhaps, you are and he is that you've found that.

KUDROW: No, I do think so. I'm not even -- I mean, I know this is a tough business for stability. You know, I mean just the -- the profession, it's always changing. There's something nomadic about it.

But I think in the every -- for everybody, it's tough to sustain a marriage.

MORGAN: How do you avoid the pitfalls, the cliches?

KUDROW: I come -- I mean, honestly, I think just commitment and thinking very far ahead, sometimes maybe too far ahead. But just thinking down the road and far ahead -- is this going to -- is this behavior going to serve me later on?

And I don't want to have regrets and, you know, it's not that spontaneous.

MORGAN: At what -- at what stage of your "Friends"' mayhem did you meet your husband?

KUDROW: Oh, I met him just before -- I met him before "Friends".

MORGAN: So you --

KUDROW: We got engaged during the very first season.

MORGAN: So he lived the whole thing with you?

KUDROW: Yes. But this is how he's so phenomenally wonderful, OK, because I think it's inexplicable that there's six of us in the cast and there's constantly like we should go on a trip together and let's just all the six of us go out and -- but just us.

And he, every time, would say, go. You need to bond. That's what's important right now. This is -- just -- just allowing me to -- he didn't have a personal -- he didn't take it personally if he's not included or, you know, I don't know. I think that's extraordinary.

MORGAN: Well, that shows the kind of unusual strength of character and also an understanding that successful relationships really come from allowing each other to have a bit of independence.

KUDROW: Yes, we're independent, that's for sure. I mean, we are independent. We have friends who are always amazed that I let him go on golf trips and, you know --

MORGAN: To Vegas?

KUDROW: They don't go -- no.

MORGAN: Would you allow that?

KUDROW: Yes, I would.


KUDROW: I would.

MORGAN: Because you completely trust him?

KUDROW: I trust him. I mean, I think we both know that we're com -- absolutely committed to our marriage so, you know --

MORGAN: Did you find fame corrupting at all?

KUDROW: Yes. Yes, in certain ways.

MORGAN: Did you? Did you -- did you go through periods when it affected the kind of person you are?

KUDROW: Yes, I think so. I think so. I mean, I think there's something -- it's an unattractive, babyish quality that comes out, because you just have too much power. And so, you're just -- you want what you want and you're allowed to want it and you're allowed to expect it.

MORGAN: Did you become a little bit of a diva?

KUDROW: I mean, for my standards?

I think, yes. Um-hmm.

MORGAN: Does part of that, is it the insecurity that comes with you may lose this phenomenal thing at any moment? Is that part of it?

KUDROW: I do think that's part of it.

MORGAN: Because I've always thought that with actors, is that most of them are chronically insecure people --

KUDROW: Well --

MORGAN: -- because the nature of the business is --

KUDROW: I think --

MORGAN: -- insecurity.

KUDROW: I think there's something, also, about it -- I think it's tied in with like ambition and being driven, you know, to succeed. And there are markers along the way. And if you ask for something and you don't get it, that means your star is falling.

MORGAN: Right. Your power --

KUDROW: Because --

MORGAN: -- your power isn't what it should be.

KUDROW: Right. So --

MORGAN: So you get more demanding --


MORGAN: -- to test the power.

KUDROW: That used to be free. How come it isn't anymore?

MORGAN: Really? That's fascinating.

KUDROW: Yes. Like there are all sort of indications of where you are on a -- on a star meter. And I think that's what sets people off. You know, I think that's what can make it tricky.

MORGAN: I mean, you're probably -- it's unlikely you'll ever have that kind of star power from one entity again.

KUDROW: Right.

MORGAN: Anyone involved in that series. I mean, it's one of the biggest series of all time.

Does that bother you or is it almost liberating that you had this incredible Mount Everest moment in your career?

KUDROW: Yes. It's liberating because I think just like I said, I mean financially, what it afforded me was, you know, the ability to do whatever I want after that.

The great thing that I was able, I think, to wrap my mind around really quickly was, OK, so that was as big as it's ever going to be. So, know that and, you know -- and just -- and that way you manage your expectations for whatever is going to come later.

MORGAN: Well, hold that thought and we'll have a short break.

When we come back, I want to talk to about the biggest thing you've ever done.


MORGAN: I want to know if you're friends with the "Friends," what happens after your friends.


MORGAN: Who you're most friends with? Let's talk "Friends."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MORGAN: We're now going to see the first and last time that we ever saw Phoebe in "Friends."

KUDROW: Really?



MORGAN: But --


KUDROW: I remember when I first came to this city. I was 14. My mom had just killed herself and my stepdad was back in prison.

And I got here and I didn't know anybody. And I ended up living with this albino guy who was like cleaning windshields outside Port Authority. And then he killed himself.

And then, I found aromatherapy. So, believe me, I know exactly how you feel.

This is like the best thing ever -- ever.

You guys might get back together. Monica and Chandler are getting their baby. There are chicks and ducks in the world again.

Oh, I feel like I'm in a musical.

(singing): When the sun comes up bright and baby. And the moon comes -- good morning.

They'll never know how it ends.



MORGAN: Fabulous. What a character. I mean, seriously.


MORGAN: I loved Phoebe. She was always my favorite.

KUDROW: Oh, really?

MORGAN: Everyone loved Phoebe.


MORGAN: Don't you think?

KUDROW: Like a mascot.

MORGAN: Are you -- are you still friends with any of the "Friends," or is that just mythology? Is that something we all would like to think happens? But the reality, you all just move on.

KUDROW: We've all moved on, but it doesn't mean we're not friends. I mean, I still -- I mean, I just heard from Matt LeBlanc yesterday and, you know, I still text or e-mail with Courteney, Matt LeBlanc, sometimes Matthew Perry. I just spoke with David and -- you know, but we're all scattered.

MORGAN: Jennifer missing out on that list?

KUDROW: Yes, I haven't talked to Jennifer in a long time.

MORGAN: So how long?

KUDROW: I don't know.

MORGAN: Years?

KUDROW: It's been a long time. But it doesn't mean that, you know, like don't talk to me about it. I mean, there's nothing --


KUDROW: -- there's nothing wrong. It's just that, you know -- Matt LeBlanc, we were at a Showtime party recently and someone saw us together and went, you're really friends still. And he --


KUDROW: -- and like you guys are all still friends. And he was like, no, we haven't really seen each other much. But, you know, when you're trapped in a building with people for 10 years and then they let you out, you scatter. So --

MORGAN: Do you ever like lose your rack? Do you ever really have a bad temper tantrum?

I just can't imagine it.

KUDROW: Oh, yes.

MORGAN: Do you, where you completely lose it?

KUDROW: Well, I mean I've raised a child so, yes.


MORGAN: I just can't imagine you exploding with rage.

KUDROW: It's terrifying.

MORGAN: Really?

KUDROW: Yes. I mean I think my son can be more afraid of me than my husband.

MORGAN: He's -- how old is he now, 13? KUDROW: Yes.

MORGAN: So, he's just becoming a -- a young man.


MORGAN: I've got a -- I've got a 14 -year-old and an 18 -year- old and a 10 -year-old so I -- all boys. So I --

KUDROW: Uh-huh?

MORGAN: I've been through all the stages.

KUDROW: Right.

MORGAN: Before, during and after, you're going to go through. And it is a fascinating thing to watch young men becoming men, isn't it?

KUDROW: So far. I mean, so far, so good. I'm -- I don't know what I'm bracing myself for, but I feel like we haven't hit anything tricky yet. So I'm hoping we don't get there.

He's really sweet. But then I hear, you know, right, yes, they're all sweet until like --


KUDROW: -- I don't know when.

MORGAN: Until the drinking starts.

KUDROW: Oh, God.


KUDROW: I don't like drugs. I don't know how there's going to be.

MORGAN: Is he --

KUDROW: He'd better not.

MORGAN: -- is he even aware, really, of the whole "Friends" thing?

Does it mean anything to him?

Does he watch it on television when it comes on?

KUDROW: He doesn't watch it. He doesn't watch it. It's not "South Park" or "Family Guy" --

MORGAN: You're not cool enough?

KUDROW: -- or "The Simpsons," so -- no. But not nearly enough, no.

But he does recognize in friends who will say, your mom was on "Friends," she was Phoebe, that's, you know -- they're impressed. My son is not as impressed.

MORGAN: For your parents, obviously, you had this huge career change. They were looking at a daughter that was going to be a biologist, presumably very proud of you for that, a great scientific career and everything, and then, boom, suddenly you're on a sitcom. Did they take it well? Were they concerned? Were they despairing of you?

KUDROW: Well, I wasn't on a sitcom for like eight or 10 years later.

MORGAN: So it was a slow burn.

KUDROW: So it took a while. And their first response -- oh, look at them. Their first response was, so you're going to become an actress? Thank God, maybe you'll lighten up.


KUDROW: That's how they felt. Great, good.

MORGAN: How intense were you before all this?

KUDROW: I think I was intense. I mean, I don't know. I feel like I'm the same but I think I was just kind of...

MORGAN: You don't seem intense now. Clearly, it did help soften you, as you say, which is interesting.

KUDROW: It did, well, here's the crazy thing. I think going blonde softened me, too. I think it literally lightened me up when I started going blonde.

MORGAN: So you dyed your hair, what was your natural color?

KUDROW: Brown.

MORGAN: You were brown-haired?


MORGAN: And then you died it blond and you immediately lightened up?

KUDROW: I just started to gradually lighten up, I think.

MORGAN: That's extraordinary. With your biology hat on, what does this mean?

KUDROW: I think people treat you a little differently too when you're blonde.

MORGAN: Don't they think you're a bit more ditzy?

KUDROW: They might. But people are a little kinder.

MORGAN: Really?

KUDROW: Yes. And they're much more -- you get so much more information because you're not threatening if you're an idiot because they think that you won't -- you know, they can tell you, you won't know what to do with the information so it will be OK. I really found that out quickly.

MORGAN: That's fascinating.

KUDROW: Yes. I mean, well, yes.

MORGAN: So you learn more, ironically, because people view you as more stupid?

KUDROW: Yes. They're not as guarded. They don't feel like they have to be as guarded because, well, you won't know I'm talking about or you won't be able to connect the dots. Yes.

MORGAN: Well, one thing you're not is a dumb blonde. So we're going to explore after the break your new TV project, which is very different than Phoebe. And also Meryl Streep, I'm going to talk to you about, who is another very, very non-dumb blonde.




KUDROW, "FIONA WALLICE": I'm Dr. Fiona Wallice.

STREEP: Hi, yes, here you are.

KUDROW: And there are you. You're Camilla "Boner"?

STREEP: No, no, no. That's a very common mistake. Lots of people make it. Even very intelligent people. My name is Camilla "Bonner," spelled B-O-W-N-E-R, but pronounced "Bonner."

KUDROW: Oh, I see. OK.


MORGAN: That was your fellow Vassar alum, Meryl Streep, in an episode of "Web Therapy," the series, of course, started online, is now on Showtime. It's a great show. Tell me about it.

KUDROW: Well, thank you.

MORGAN: Why did you come up with this thing?

KUDROW: Well, it was just -- you know, people kept asking my partner, Dan Bucatinsky, and I if we wanted to do a Web series. The answer was no. I really wasn't interested in doing it. But my brain just kept working on what would be a good Web series then.

And I just thought that people are doing so much on the Internet. You don't know who anybody is on the Internet. And anyone can be -- you know, anyone can just like throw up a shingle and say, I do this.

But I also thought the worst idea in the world was quick three- minute sessions of therapy. Just through Web chat, too. Like, not in person. I don't know, I just thought it was a funny idea.

MORGAN: Meryl Streep, I mean, goddess, right?

KUDROW: Yes. Oh, yes, yes.

MORGAN: In real life as big a goddess?

KUDROW: Yes. I think so.

MORGAN: She's as nice as I assume she is?

KUDROW: Yes. She's so generous. I think maybe -- and she's so smart. It's intimidating smart to me, but, you know.

MORGAN: I would be intimidated meeting her, actually.

KUDROW: Right. But she wouldn't allow you to be for long, you know? She's just so generous. I keep using that word. I talk about Meryl Streep and then my vocabulary goes, it just evaporates. She's good.

MORGAN: Do you crave big ratings again?

KUDROW: No, I crave enough ratings. Honestly, I just want enough ratings to keep going, which is got with "Who Do You Think You Are?" and now that's what I'd like to get with "Web Therapy."

MORGAN: Do you think you've made the break from Phoebe? You said you're 50/50 with the public. Do you think you ever will?

KUDROW: No, no, I don't think I ever will.

MORGAN: Do you think when you die, say you live to be 90, the headlines will be "Phoebe Star Pegs It."

KUDROW: I mean, if it's still in reruns, if people are still watching "Friends" by then, then, yes. Yes. And that's fair. I think that's fair. I mean, that's the one thing I've done that the most people all over the world will have seen. And that's fair. That's fine.

MORGAN: What has been the greatest moment of your life outside of marriage and having a child? What's the moment you would relive again if you had five minutes to go? I had the power to give you any five minutes of your life? KUDROW: OK. Well, let's see. One of the more recent ones would be -- you know, it's always when there's certain people that you have respect for will let you know like, I was a huge fan of "The Comeback," which was a show I created so it meant a lot to me.

Or, it's like, OK, I think "Web Therapy" is brilliant. Like when Meryl Streep, when I saw her and she said, I love that show, that L Studio show you do, I think it's really funny. It's great. That was...


MORGAN: Just having Meryl Streep do it, it's almost like the pope blessing you if you're a Catholic, isn't it?

KUDROW: That's exactly -- yes. I'm not a Catholic but...

MORGAN: I am. I can only imagine it's the nearest theatrical thing to that.

KUDROW: Yes. So those are moments. Those are -- I guess you're looking for professional moments like that. Yes.

MORGAN: And personally?

KUDROW: And personally? Oh, my God, I mean, that, to me, is when my parents are proud of me. When they call up and my mom is still like showing my highlights, but did you see this?

MORGAN: What has been the moment your mother was most proud of you?

KUDROW: I mean, recently there was a magazine cover and a great article about me.

MORGAN: Which magazine.

KUDROW: I think it was "More" magazine, and the article was very nice and so, you know, she was really happy.

MORGAN: And does your mom (INAUDIBLE) does she sort of run around the neighborhood (INAUDIBLE) making sure that they're all stocked up?

KUDROW: Yes. Whoever comes in, you know, and did you see this? And that's great that they get to feel that. Now that I'm a parent, you know, I think that's a great -- I'm just so happy I could give them that kind of pride, you know.

MORGAN: Is there anybody who everyone finds funny? I can't think of anyone.

KUDROW: Yes. There are plenty of men, especially, I think that...

(CROSSTALK) MORGAN: Name one person who you think everybody finds funny.

KUDROW: Steve Carell.

MORGAN: That's true. I've never heard anyone who doesn't find Steve Carell funny. You're right.

KUDROW: Right.

MORGAN: That's right. That's true.

KUDROW: I win.

MORGAN: Any women?

KUDROW: Well, yes. I mean, there are, you know. All right. Tina Fey.

MORGAN: I'm feeling that. She and Steve Carell, you're right.


MORGAN: You've proved me wrong.

KUDROW: Then I win.

MORGAN: This is not a good moment.

KUDROW: Are we...

MORGAN: I think we're done, yes.

KUDROW: Because I win, and now...

MORGAN: Yes, you know what, that's a pretty depressing way to end it. Why don't we end on a happy note. Let's play a clip from your show.


MORGAN: Because it will get me out of this terrible hole you dug me into.

KUDROW: All right.

MORGAN: Of losing. Lisa, thank you.

KUDROW: Thank you.


KUDROW: So if you have time...

JANE LYNCH, "CLAIRE DUDEK": Actually, you know what, I don't have any time. I have eight accounts here at Clark and West and I have 30 people I'm managing, and I also have a whiney domestic partner.

KUDROW: Oh, so you're gay?

LYNCH: No, I'm not gay, I'm manly, but I'm not gay. And I don't want to marry him because I can't take on one more thing. I just don't have the time, OK? I'm swamped. I haven't taken a deep breath since 1988. I've got responsibility up to here. I don't have time to have a snack. I haven't even had a leisurely dump in the last 10 years. I'm wearing a colostomy bag right now. And my office smells like the inside of a nursing home.


MORGAN: You know something, I'm actually going to add your name to the list. I can't imagine that anyone that watches that that doesn't laugh at Lisa Kudrow.

KUDROW: Thank you.

MORGAN: So there's three of you. Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Lisa Kudrow.

KUDROW: Thank you.

MORGAN: People that everyone finds funny.

KUDROW: Thank you very much. That's great.

MORGAN: It has been a pleasure. Nice to meet you.

KUDROW: You've just given me a moment.

MORGAN: Now that's another dream come true.

Coming up, a generation's favorite guilty pleasure, "Beverly Hills 90210." My interview with star Jason Priestley.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. We're following breaking news tonight. Standard & Poor's has downgraded the U.S. credit rating from a solid triple-A rating to double-A-plus. The White House reacting strongly tonight, challenging the assessment by saying S&P's economic model was off by $2 trillion. In its press release, S&P pointed to the political in-fighting in Washington is partly to blame for the downgrade, saying policy-making has become, quote, "less stable."

We've all the angles for you tonight on the breaking news at top of the hour in 15 minutes. John Chambers, head of the sovereign rating at Standard & Poor's will join me live as well as John King and Dan Lothian in Washington, covering the political angles. And there are many political angles. Ali Velshi here in New York covering the money and former Comptroller of the U.S. David Walker on what it means for you, for interest rates, the effect on consumers. We'll take a look at what all of this means for Washington, the White House, and for you, and how it could play out on Wall Street on Monday. We'll see you in 15 minutes at the top of the hour on "AC 360."

MORGAN: Women across America have been waiting for this very moment. Joining me now, the man that they all wish they went to school with, "Beverly Hills 90210" star, director, actor, and racing enthusiastic, Jason Priestley.

Jason, welcome.


MORGAN: I feel like I'm seeing my youth in you. I'm 46. How old are you now?

PRIESTLEY: I'll be 42 in a couple of weeks.

MORGAN: You'll be 42. So it's nearly similar age range. But when I grew up, "Beverly Hills 90210" in Britain was the biggest thing with the possible exception of the Hoff. You were the biggest thing in my country through my teenage years.

PRIESTLEY: It was -- yes, the show was very, very popular in England. I remember going on a couple of publicity tours in England and it was -- I got chased through Piccadilly Circus. I felt like I was the fifth Beatle on a couple of instances over there. It was pretty crazy.

MORGAN: And, of course, all these British women were desperate, desperate to marry you. And one of them did.

PRIESTLEY: Yes, one of them did.

MORGAN: You married a Brit?

PRIESTLEY: I did. I did. My lovely wife, Naomi, she is British. She is from Hemel Hempstead.

MORGAN: Really.


MORGAN: Well, we're going to talk about Naomi a little later. I want to play you, first of all, it would be remiss of me not to, for both of us to go down memory lane and watch a clip from the show that propelled you into the stratosphere.



LUKE PERRY, "DYLAN MCKAY": You know what, man, you've obviously got some kind of problem with me, don't you? Right now is your chance. Make your move. Come on. PRIESTLEY, "BRANDON WALSH": I'm not going to hit you, man. You're like a brother to me. I'm not going to do it.

PERRY: You have to.

PRIESTLEY: No, I don't have to. But if you feel like you want to hit me, why don't you go ahead?

PERRY: All right.



MORGAN: What do you feel when you watch that now? What do you really feel, warts and all?

PRIESTLEY: You know, I can't believe I was that young. And I was so clean-shaven. You know? I really do, I just look at myself and I'm just -- I'm shocked that I was -- because literally, at this point in time, I haven't see an actual clean-shaven face on myself for, I don't know, two or three years.

MORGAN: Do you feel affectionate towards the show? Do you feel nostalgic or do you have this kind of impending horror that when you're 96 and you finally shuffle off this mortal coil, the headline will be "'Beverly Hills 90210' heartthrob dies at age 96?"

PRIESTLEY: Well, you know, I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact that that title is going to be in my -- is going to be attached to my name in perpetuity, I'm sure, in some fashion.

But, you know, seeing that clip, I'm filled with nostalgia. It's funny for me to watch it now. You know? But it also feels like a whole other lifetime to me. My career has gone on in so many varied and different places now. And I work so much behind the camera now that those 10 years that I spent on that show, it was a wonderful job for me. And I had a great time there and I learned a lot there.

But it was just this one 10-year capsule of a job and when I was done with it, I sort of encapsulated it and put it aside and moved on to all of these other jobs that I've had since then. But it was...

MORGAN: It propelled you into an incredible level of fame, while that show was on.


MORGAN: Did you enjoy that? Or was it enjoyable to start and then just very unnerving and then incredibly annoying? I mean, how would you describe that process of going through the fame game?

PRIESTLEY: Well, any time you're faced with fame on that level, it's -- it can be somewhat unnerving because you're never taught how to manage it and how to deal with it. So you're sort of left out there on your own, trying to navigate those waters for yourself. MORGAN: When it's over do you have that feeling of a soldier in the battlefield or a champion boxer? Do you crave it again? Do you desire that kind of hysteria again or are you just pleased it's behind you?

PRIESTLEY: You know, I think everyone has their own individual experience. For me, I was pleased that that type of real hysteria was behind me. I think that -- you know, but the reality is, you know, to be a successful actor, and to have those kind of accolades, that comes from being good at your craft.

But there is a level of it that is what you're trying to attain. But there is a level of it where it becomes too much, and that's where I think -- you know, we got to a level where it was too much. But also that was a different time.

The paparazzi wasn't as invasive as they are now and certainly not as aggressive as they are now. So we were actually able to enjoy the level of success that we attained in a way that I think that people can't now.


PRIESTLEY: Social media has made it more difficult.

MORGAN: It has. But it has also helped in the sense that I -- and I'm an active tweeter, you are, too.

PRIESTLEY: I am too, yes.

MORGAN: I tweeted a picture of you earlier. I'm sure we'll get a big reaction to that. But it's kind of addictive and at the same time it's a great way of communicating directly with an audience.


MORGAN: At the same time, as I'm sure you've experienced, there's a lot of people out there that want to just kill you on Twitter.

PRIESTLEY: I always read the most horrible things about myself. And they are always things about, you know, wow, I really used to love him when he was in them, but what happened to him, he's so old now and he looks so terrible. You know, it's -- but, you know, time is an evil mistress, unfortunately.

MORGAN: Well, talking of evil mistresses, we're going to come back after the break and talk about your former co-stars, Shannen Doherty, Tori Spelling, and other evil mistresses.

PRIESTLEY: Ah, jeez.



PRIESTLEY: Conscience? Do you think you're my conscience? You're even thicker than I thought.

ERNIE GRUNWALD, "LARRY": April 4th, 1984, you stole Hattie Farnham's lunch and then you felt up her deaf mute twin.


MORGAN: That was a clip from a show called "Call Me Fitz," it has been airing on DirecTV for the last few weeks in America. It has been a huge also hit in Canada, which is your birth country.

PRIESTLEY: Yes, sir.

MORGAN: You've actually been nominated for a Gemini award, their equivalent of an Emmy. So congratulations.

PRIESTLEY: Yes. Thank you. The show was actually nominated for 16 Geminis.

MORGAN: Wow. Tell me about that. What is the premise of the show?

PRIESTLEY: The show is about Richard Fitzpatrick, the character that I play, Fitz. That other actor you saw in that clip is an actor named Ernie Grunwald, and Ernie -- shows -- Ernie's character Larry shows up in the pilot claiming to be Fitz's conscience. Because Fitz doesn't have a conscience. He's a used car salesman, of course.

MORGAN: So there's a touch of the Charlie Sheen sort of character, are we getting here?

PRIESTLEY: Fitz, yes, Fitz is a bit of a Charlie Sheen kind of a character. This show is a lot of drinking and hookers and blow. And yes, there is a little bit of Charlie in there.

MORGAN: Have you and Charlie ever caroused together on the town?

PRIESTLEY: Back in the day, you know, I used to go down to Charlie's house in Malibu. This is going back 20, 22 years. I used to play poker down at Charlie's house in Malibu. Yes.

MORGAN: See, I really feel I missed out in life. I think there are two caps of men now, especially in L.A., those that partied with Charlie Sheen, and those who never did.

PRIESTLEY: Well, you can count me in the former of those two camps.

MORGAN: And was it all I imagined it would be?

PRIESTLEY: No. No. It wasn't -- maybe it was in the later years, you know, I was there in the early years and I think it was a pretty Disney-ified version of what it became later. I think I kind of missed out, too, as a matter of fact, Piers.

MORGAN: Now we talked sort of evil mistresses, which led me neatly to Shannen and Tori and your other co-stars from the show. Do you stay in touch with any of them or does everyone just move on?

PRIESTLEY: Well, a lot of us have moved on because at the end of the day we were all just people who worked together. I think that...

MORGAN: Are you friends with any of them?

PRIESTLEY: Yes, with some of them. You know, all of us guys seem to remain pretty close. You know, me and Luke and Ian and Brian are all pretty close still and seem to spend a lot of time together.

MORGAN: Who is aging best and who is aging worst, would you say?


PRIESTLEY: I -- I really -- I don't know.

MORGAN: You do. You do. Quietly, you do.

PRIESTLEY: I think I'm aging pretty well. I don't know. I think -- I think Ian is actually aging pretty well. I think Brian is aging probably the best out of all of us.

MORGAN: Because it's kind of unique pressure. You've been a huge heartthrob for so long. To try and maintain the heartthrob status, it must be insufferable, isn't it? I mean...

PRIESTLEY: I guess. I'm just kind of like -- I'm just kind of like living my life, you know. I've got two little kids and I just spend all my time chasing after my kids. I'm just spending so much time working and doing my -- doing "Call Me Fitz," and I spent so much time directing projects. You know, I'm really staying busy.

MORGAN: Where do you live now?

PRIESTLEY: I live here in Los Angeles.

MORGAN: Is there a culture to L.A., do you think, or is the culture just driven by the entertainment business?

PRIESTLEY: It's absolutely. I mean, Los Angeles is a one-horse town. It's entirely driven by the entertainment business and that's what it is.

MORGAN: Is it brutal? Have you found it brutal?

PRIESTLEY: Yes, it is.

MORGAN: What has been the toughest moment for you personally?

PRIESTLEY: My toughest moments were maybe in 2003, 2004, after I had my big racing accident, I was really trying to get back on my feet after that.

MORGAN: Because you broke your back.

PRIESTLEY: Yes. I broke my spine and I shattered both my feet and I did a lot of damage to my face, too. I ripped my nose off my face and I broke my orbital bone, my cheekbone, and my ocular mantle.

They actually had to take my eyeball out and rebuild part of skull...



PRIESTLEY: Yes, yes.

MORGAN: Seriously.

PRIESTLEY: Yes. And it was -- I did a lot of -- I really hurt myself pretty badly and so... MORGAN: Do you still race...

PRIESTLEY: I do, yes.


PRIESTLEY: Yes, I mean, just for fun. I mean, nothing...


MORGAN: What's the worst that can happen? My eyeball has to be replaced?


PRIESTLEY: That's no big deal. I've been through that before. No, you know, I just do some stuff for fun, endurance racing and go- kart racing and stuff just for fun.

MORGAN: When it happened, though, that big accident, did you fear that that might be the end for you in terms of your career?

PRIESTLEY: I did. When they did all of this stuff over here, it took a while to get this side of my face to work again.

MORGAN: I mean, you're hideously disfigured now, I'm pleased to say.

PRIESTLEY: I know. I know. It's difficult.

MORGAN: For all of us that used to be furious and jealous of you nicking all the women, to see you so scarred and...

PRIESTLEY: I know, it makes you feel better.

MORGAN: Honestly, it brings a warm glow to my heart.


MORGAN: It has been a great pleasure to see you, Jason.

PRIESTLEY: Thank you, Piers. MORGAN: I still hate you for pulling all of the women back in my home town and indeed marrying them.

That's all for us tonight. Now "AC 360" starts right now.