Mr. Bean Star Rowan Atkinson Accuses ‘Friends’ Of Stealing His Joke
Actor and writer Rowan Atkinson, has said the classic Thanksgiving gag in Friends, where the sight of Joey and Monica with their heads stuck inside turkeys aired, was originally one of his, as it featured in an episode of Mr. Bean six years earlier in a report by The HuffPost.
Rowan has claimed that writers on the hit US series “stole” the joke for the iconic episode The One With All The Thanksgivings in 1998, in which Joey (Matt LeBlanc) winds up with the bird stuck on his head.
In Happy Birthday Mr. Bean, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the character, Rowan and show creator Richard Curtis revealed that they had actually done the gag first in the 1992 episode, Merry Christmas Mr. Bean as well as in the 1997 movie, Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie.
As a result, Rowan revealed some US audiences believed that the UK’s Mr. Bean copied the joke from Friends, rather than the other way around. He said:
In the end, you can’t steal jokes. But jokes are there to be stolen or to inspire. Inspire others. I’m absolutely dazzled by the Friends thing. I only saw it the other day. I literally can’t believe what happened there. Bizarre.
Last week, Rowan admitted that he really doesn’t enjoy playing Mr. Bean, who he describes as a “child in a grown man’s body”, admitting it’s “stressful and exhausting”.
With a new Mr. Bean animated movie in the works, the actor says it’s easier to just provide the voice of the character. He said:
We’re now in the foothills of developing an animated movie for Mr. Bean, it’s easier for me to perform the character vocally than visually. I don’t much enjoy playing him. The weight of responsibility is not pleasant. I find it stressful and exhausting, and I look forward to the end of it. I don’t actually like the process of making anything – with the possible exception of Blackadder, because the responsibility for making that series funny was on many shoulders, not just mine.