‘Friends’ Star Maggie Wheeler Reveals How Her Character Janice Got Her Iconic Voice & Laugh
Maggie Wheeler, a regular guest star on the hit sitcom, Friends, as Chandler’s earliest love interest, Janice Hosenstein, has revealed that her inspiration for her character’s voice came from the actor’s firing off of the Ellen show.
Upon being let go from Ellen DeGeneres‘ sitcom, Wheeler found herself devastated yet ready to take risks. She auditioned for the role of Janice and took a risk by speaking her lines in fast-paced Queens, New York accent. Many fans have speculated her character was a parody of Fran Drescher’s The Nanny.
In an interview with Australia’s news.com, Wheeler recounted, “I distinctly remember I could see them all sit back on the couch, I thought that might not have been what they were looking for… On any other day I might have done the audition differently, but it came hot on the heels of that and I felt free and decided to do what I wanted to do on that day and it worked in my favor.”
Wheeler would make regular appearances that would always be a shock to the other character as well as the audience, her entrance usually being followed by her iconic “Oh my God!”
While the voice was meant to be annoying and something akin to a piercing shrill, though it has become much beloved by the fan base. Her character appeared well into season 10 of the hit series, with her last appearance being in the episode where Chandler and Monica attempt to buy a house.
As of 2018, Wheeler works predominantly in animated features given her vocal talents and even directs a community choir in Los Angeles, all while raising two children.