For all the budding actors out there here’s a recap of Joey’s “smell the fart” acting technique from Friends. Poor Joey Tribbiani may have been a jobbing actor, but he wasn’t very good at it. Throughout Friends’ ten seasons, Joey was in and out of work with various acting gigs like playing Sigmund Freud in an off-off-Broadway musical and a corpse in an episode of Law & Order. And let’s not forget the time he lost a job as Al Pacino’s butt double for taking the role a little too seriously.
One of Joey’s biggest and most consistent acting gigs was playing Dr. Drake Ramoray on Friends’ in-show spoof of soap opera Days Of Our Lives. Joey nabbed the role of the noted neurosurgeon during season 2 of Friends but Dr. Ramoray was written out after Joey vexed the Days Of Our Lives writing team by bragging in an interview he wrote most of his lines. Joey was eventually rehired when Dr. Ramoray was brought back with the help of a life-saving brain transplant and kept the gig until Friends ended. Joey’s stint on Days Of Our Lives even earned him his very own stalker, the unhinged Erika (Brooke Shields).
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Joey learned some valuable things on the set of Days Of Our Lives too. Before his first appearance as Dr. Drake Ramoray, a co-star divulged a technique known as “smell the fart” acting. According to Joey, it involves adopting a serious expression that kind of looks like smelling a fart and gives an actor a bit of time to recall their lines. Or, to quote Joey himself:
“It’s like, you got so many lines to learn so fast, that sometimes you need a minute to remember your next one. So while you’re thinkin’ of it, you take this big pause where you look all intense.”
“Smell the fart” wasn’t the only useful tip Joey picked up via his various acting gigs either. When Joey got a job teaching acting for soap operas to a class of budding actors, he shared other techniques with his students. One was cutting a hole in your pocket and surreptitiously tweezing hairs from your nether regions to induce tears, while another involved solving confusing math problems to look like your character has just received bad news.
As funny as Joey’s “smell the fart” acting technique may be, it seems his unusual approach to the craft has inspired at least one actor outside of Friends. In a 2014 episode of The Graham Norton Show featuring Matt LeBlanc and Kit Harington, the Game Of Thrones star admitted he’d used the “smell the fart” technique a few times during his career. It makes you look at Jon Snow’s scenes in a whole new light.
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