Meet Jerome, the Cape Town man who featured in Friends: The Reunion
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Meet the Cape Town Friends fan Jerome Swartz who had his few seconds of fame when he was featured in the recently released Friends reunion special.
With a little bit of luck, he was sought out and selected to feature in the montage of fans that was part of the reunion episode. Throughout the reunion show – which was viewed by millions around the globe – fans of the show were featured as they discussed their favourite moment from the 90s hit sitcom which ran for ten seasons and ended in May 2004.
Swartz, a father of two who lives in Muizenberg, admitted that last year during the lockdown, he rewatched all seasons of Friends and has stopped counting how many times he has rewatched the show.
“I did catch it in the 90s and then, over the years now and again, I would just rewatch it, because it was still as funny to me as it was the first time.”
Swartz pops up on screen with the iconic Table Mountain in the background, as he shouts, “Pivot, pivot!” repeatedly, a reference to a scene in Friends when the characters attempted to move a couch up a flight of stairs. Ross Geller, played by David Schwimmer, screams “Pivot, pivot!” at Chandler (Matthew Perry) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) who are trying to help manoeuvre the couch around a tight corner.
The story of how Swartz landed on screen is almost too good to be true for a Friends fan. He said: “I belong to a lot of the different Friends fan pages on Facebook and on one of the fan pages they asked a simple question, ’Where in the world do you watch Friends?’ ”
He responded and was then contacted by a stranger, asking if they could chat: “I got a Facebook message from a stranger asking if I would be available for a conversation. I was hesitant so I replied and said, ’please explain yourself’ via Messenger and this woman responded that she preferred Skype.” Swartz agreed and soon learnt that he was chatting with one of the show’s producers who asked if she could record their Skype conversation and share it with her colleagues. He agreed and the next day received an email from another Friends producer.
Swartz said: “This guy Dave reached out to me and he asked if I would mind just doing some stuff for this reunion that they were considering. At that stage it was just a concept; they asked if I would mind almost just to play along. They sent me some scripts and instructions.”
He roped in a buddy and the two of them filmed clips on their own and Swartz sent it to the Friends producers. He said by that stage he was a little bit more trusting of what was happening because he had checked online to see who he was chatting with. Swartz sent the video clips and then never heard back from anyone.
He said he was excited when he heard that the Friends: The Reunion show was actually happening but he still wasn’t sure if he would feature in any way. “I only told my wife about this and my buddy who helped me, so even when the reunion aired my mom called, shouting at me about why I never told them about it because they just saw me on TV,” he said.
Just like the characters from Friends, Swartz loves a great cup of coffee and although he hasn’t opened his own Central Perk, he does own a coffee truck business – Barista Muiz so he’s always ready to meet other Friends fans and chat about the show.
Swartz said that he was just as shocked because he had no idea if any of his material would be used.
He also has exciting news for Friends fans – more content from the Friends Reunion will be released soon.
“There was a lot of content I sent them… they said they will be releasing bonus content and on some of these things, our material, would be shown a bit more.” Still a bit overwhelmed that he made it to feature in the reunion episode, Swartz said: “It's mind blowing to me that I’ve been watching them on screen for years and just for a few seconds they saw me on screen.”
* Friends: The Reunion is now streaming on Showmax.