Friends’ monkey trainer says David Schwimmer lied about the monkeys’ behavior

David Marcel
Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepard, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy, William Shatner and George Takei – Hollywood loves a good co-star feud. It’s time to add another one to that list: David Schwimmer and… Katie the monkey? According to Mike Morris, the trainer in charge of the two monkeys who played Marcel on Friends, the feud was real and all David’s fault. David has maintained since his Friends days that he was no fan of working with his capuchin monkey sidekick. I haven’t paid too much attention to his comments but generally thought they were of the, “that d@mn monkey” variety whenever someone brought them up. But I guess David has actually slung some accusations around about Katie and Monkey, the monkeys who were hired to play Marcel. He has accused them over the years of throwing poop, trying to bite him, and getting grubs in his hair. I’d heard the grub story, that in between takes, the monkey would be on his shoulder and they’d feed the monkey. The monkeys would eat over David’s head and the grubs would fall onto his scalp. Honestly I’d think I’d object to that too. But during the Friends reunion, Marcel was brought up and David, once again, got prodded for his feelings about Marcel. This time he elaborated further, saying the monkey didn’t hit its mark and messed up scenes. He accused Katie and Monkey of not doing their “job right”. And that, apparently, was the last straw for Mike. He spoke to The Sun, breaking his 30-year silence about David the Fink Schwimmer and his jealous rage against monkeys.

FRIENDS star David Schwimmer has been branded “despicable” by Marcel the Monkey’s trainer for saying he hated working with the animal.

Animal handler Mike Morris said Schwimmer – whose character Ross kept Marcel as a pet on season one of the hit sitcom – was “jealous” that the capuchin monkey got more laughs than him.

The Sun tracked down Mike and Katie the monkey, one of two simian actresses who played Marcel, to the San Fernando Valley.

Speaking about his bitter experiences on the set of Friends, Mike, 53, didn’t hold back as he let rip against David.

He said the star’s comments trampled on the memory of the other animal actress who played Marcel, known as Monkey, who passed away from cancer at the age of 36 in August last year.

Mike exclusively told The Sun: “I have never ever watched Friends because of Schwimmer’s comments about the monkeys.

“I have refused to ever since he did an interview after the animals got written out of the show and he said they tried to bite him and throw poop at him.

“They didn’t do any of that. None of it is true, when I was there none of that ever happened.

“I didn’t speak out back then but I am now.

“Of course, I didn’t watch the reunion interview but I heard from others what Schwimmer said.

“I just don’t agree with it, if anything he threw off their timing if we want to be truthful.

“Schwimmer was fine with the monkeys for the first couple of episodes and happy to be there.

“But people would laugh at the monkey and I think he got jealous because it wasn’t him getting the laughs.

“He seemed to get a little bitter about them being there after that.

“And of course the monkeys didn’t like working with him after he turned on them.

“It made it harder to do the work – a five-camera show is hard to work on with animals anyway so if you have an actor that’s not very helpful, it makes it even worse.

“He’s not the kind of actor who can improvise.

“Schwimmer wouldn’t prep with her, he didn’t want to rehearse with her.

“We had to rehearse with the monkey by herself and then he would come in and things wouldn’t be the same so it made it harder.

“It got to the point where he just really resented the monkey being there, he obviously had a problem with her and he’s still talking about it now.

“The other capuchin who played Marcel was called Monkey and passed away recently away from cancer so Schwimmer was talking ill of the dead when he made those comments.

“I find it despicable for him to still be speaking ill of her.”

And he responded to David’s prior claim that as trainers they wouldn’t let the actor bond with the animals.

He said: “It is true that we prefer that actors don’t become too friendly with the monkey.

“An actor is a prop to the monkey and has to work with that prop.

“We don’t want them to become friends because then they think ‘Oh it’s my friend, I don’t have to work’.

“If they see the actor as their friend they won’t do the job.

“They just want to go hang out with their friend instead of doing what they’re supposed to do.

[From The Sun]

Mike said both Matt LeBlanc and Jennifer Aniston worked with the monkeys and had no problem with them, something they have both said publicly as well. They frequently tease David about it too, it’s generally what sets him off in things like the reunion. Up until now, that was always the vibe I got from it, that the monkey was a button with David and the other Friends push it to rile him up. Even after the reunion, I just didn’t take it that seriously. Mike kept saying that David couldn’t improvise with a monkey. He’s a trained theater actor who has plenty of evidence of improvising, I don’t know why a monkey would change that. And I can’t get on board with the “jealous of a monkey getting laughs” argument.

However, Monkey just died and Mike’s still hurting from that. It would be hard to hear her reputation being besmirched, even if it was for laughs. I understand how personal this is for her trainer. If David’s saying the monkey didn’t do her job, then he’s saying Mike didn’t do his job well enough either. So if David is playing it up, he needs to think about who he’s hurting in the process. However, if he is honestly b*tching about working with a monkey for eight episodes, 30 years ago, for which he’s made millions of dollars since? Mike’s right, David needs to let it go.

This is Jennifer Aniston on David’s back, not his Friend’s co-star Katie or Monkey

“A Friends b*tch says what?!”

Photo credit: Avalon Red

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51 Responses to “Friends’ monkey trainer says David Schwimmer lied about the monkeys’ behavior”

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  1. EnormousCoat says:

    This reminds me of when Kramer got into a fight with Barry the monkey. I’m trying to figure out what mindset I would need to disparage a monkey, to publicly air my grievances. I guess it reads as funny to him and it is comical, but I wouldn’t want to diss the trainer’s work, which seems to be the issue here. Maybe the monkeys just didn’t like Schwimmer’s character. No one else did.

    • BlondieR says:

      Katie and Monkey were smart girls who knew from the get go that Ross was the worst!!

      • Donna Martin says:

        💯 believe DS was jealous of the laughs the monkeys got. He definitely wouldn’t want the attention away from him.

    • Mimi says:

      When all of a sudden I was hit in the head with a banana peel, and there’s this monkey really laughing it up 🤣

  2. Merricat says:

    I love all animals more than I love most people, but I wouldn’t want to work with a monkey.

    • Honey says:

      I second that. Give me literally any other animal. Even a snake or spiders. I find monkeys so off putting and a bit scary.

  3. Kviby says:

    The monkey didn’t ´come up’ in the special. The first question was was there anything that wasn’t good . David brought the monkey up himself and went on about it for a bit. Would have loved to hear something else more interesting that wasn’t good.

  4. Red Weather Tiger says:

    I preferred Marcel to Ross and wish they had kept the monkey and booted Schwimmer.

    • Bettyrose says:

      If it had been decided by majority vote that’s how it would’ve gone down.

  5. Spaniard says:

    I am sorry for the trainer’s loss, but animals shouldn’t be used for “work” at least not entertainment work, this is the same as a Circus. Monkeys are not dogs.

    • Honey says:

      I think that is the real issue that is being overlooked! Can we stop using exotic animals in movies please.

    • Jules says:

      Agreed. I also find it easy to believe Schwimmer was jealous of the monkey getting all the attention.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I totally agree.

      Some of my friends have said I should try and get my dog into show business because she has such a unique look, but WHY would I want my dog to work? That wouldn’t add to her quality of life.

  6. Driver8 says:

    The monkey storyline was ridiculous. I’m glad they ditched it. Still not a huge fan of the show. I’m sorry for the trainer’s loss.

  7. Lucy2 says:

    Eh, like most “feuds“ the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. The trainer does not want the monkeys’ or his own reputation hurt by appearing unprofessional, and it probably wasn’t the best working environment for Schwimmer.

  8. Willow says:

    Not everyone likes animals but he needs to let go of that grudge. Definitely punching down. However, monkeys belong in the wild. Give jobs to humans, make CGI animals, and stop trying to domesticate monkeys.

  9. Darla says:

    I don’t think Aniston or LeBlanc had to work with the monkey on their heads and shoulders though. I can’t recall any scenes like that, maybe a one off? But Schwimmer constantly had that monkey on him. I wouldn’t want to do it, but I am no animal lover myself, and that of course, is worse than being a serial killer or a trumpster in our society. So David is in for it now.

    • Laura says:

      Please relax. Absolutely no one is saying that.

    • ItReallyIsYou,NotMe k8 says:

      Darla, I am self-conscious about admitting that I am not a fan of pets for the same reason. I actually had a co-worker tell my boss and I (neither of whom have pets) that she doesnt “trust” anyone who doesn’t like dogs. How about, I grew up with parents who did not have pets until I was out of the house, I am extremely petite so I absolutely hate it when big dogs jump on me, and my spouse has allergies that make it hard to breathe when pet hair is in the air. It’s like pet owners think not wanting a pet is some kind of indication of your character instead of a lifestyle choice like any other.

      • tealily says:

        I’ve never heard of not trusting people who don’t like dogs, but I have heard of not trusting people who dogs don’t like. Which isn’t the same thing at all! I think that’s an okay guideline… I would never fault someone for not wanting to be around a dog though.

      • Haylie says:

        I don’t trust people who use that “I don’t trust people who don’t like dogs” statement. I’ve seen too many people who love dogs, but hate black people, women, ethnic minorities, etc.

        It’s a stupid, poorly thought out statement.

        I don’t particularly like dogs, but more often than not, it’s the dog owner that I really truly can’t stand. Too many of them think their poorly trained and sometimes aggressive pet’s behavior is cute. It just lets me know that they aren’t really up for the responsibility of pet ownership.

      • Darla says:

        I feel you believe me! I am afraid of dogs myself, and I hate when someone says “he’s just saying hello”. If a man jumped me no one would say “he’s just saying hello”. They always want to force their dogs on you, and i think some of them, a few anyway, enjoy my obvious fear.

        As for the “I don’t trust people who don’t like dogs” thing…Trump didn’t help us there. I hold that against him too!

      • Winechampion says:

        “I don’t trust people who don’t like dogs” is just a stupid thing people say to signal themselves as “good”. Same with “I like animals more than people!” A dumb statement they’ve heard before and think it sounds cool. “Look at me, I’m a cynical misanthrope with a heart of gold because I hate people but LOVE animals. I’m unique!” Tiresome.

    • Jules says:

      I don’t get this logic.

  10. Mtec says:

    I believe David. He’s the one that had to have the monkey on his shoulder and spend the most time with it. And I remember a video of Jen also complaining about the monkey, but now I don’t know if she was joking or not.

    And i can totally see how a monkey can get in the way of improv. the actors on that show were very physically with their acting and I’m guessing having a monkey your shoulder would limit your movements. Also if the monkey decided to move around or make noise during a take or an ad-lib then that would get ruined too.

    Also wild animals shouldn’t be working and that’s all i’ll say on that.

    • Kate says:

      Agree. But I’ve never really liked animal humor either – it always feels kinda cheap laughs to me.

  11. LaUnicaAngelina says:

    The captions for the last 2 pics! I’m dying! 😂🤣☠️

  12. Ferdinand says:

    They all seemed to agree with David’s accusations during the reunion, so I’m pretty much on David side here.
    He might have been uncomfortable with the monkey and the monkey sensed that.

  13. Darla says:

    Monkeys are dangerous.

  14. Golly Gee says:

    Awww. You crazy kids should stop flinging poop at each other. Split a banana and make up.

  15. Charlotte says:

    The trainer complained that David Schwimmer didn’t rehearse with the monkey, but then later goes on to say that they don’t want to actors to spend extra time with the animals as they’ll get too familiar. It sounds like he cancelled out his own complaint?

  16. Lex says:

    Omg lol who cares. Is this guy still p*ssed about this? Dude move on

  17. lunchcoma says:

    I can understand why the trainer is upset. He had his work disparaged, and I’m sure it hurt to hear unkind things about a deceased animal he cared about.

    That being said, I wouldn’t want to work with a monkey, either, and it’s for the best that the show wrote the monkey’s character out. It’s terrible to portray primates as pets in media and only encourages people who can’t properly care for them to buy them.

  18. Ann says:

    “This is Jennifer Aniston on David’s back, not his Friend’s co-star Katie or Monkey” HAHAHAHAH

  19. Lizzie Bathory says:

    RIP Monkey.

    This is such a weird feud & I kind of love it. It sounds like coworkers who simply didn’t get along on set. I suspect that Schwimmer never liked the idea of working with animals, hence his avoiding rehearsal with the monkeys. I’m fascinated by the details, though, like that the monkeys consider actors “props.”

  20. Tinnie says:

    I wonder about the ‘friend’ part. It seems kind of cruel to not let the monkey consider this person a friend and I wonder if it’s true they then wouldn’t work as hard. That said, they shouldn’t be working! I agree tho’ negative comments aren’t necessary from Schwimmer. They’re animals; they’re not going to ‘act’ like people.

  21. tealily says:

    That’s what you get for not hiring Crystal, the greatest monkey actress of our day.

  22. Brubs says:

    honestly my impression was that obviously david didn’t like to act with the monkey but that the whole thing on the reunion was more a “bit”
    like he went on a rant and it’s funny when people do that and he was talking about the monkey hitting his marks and stuff and it’s all a little absurd, I think the point was to be a little over the top – for comedy reasons

    • North of Boston says:

      I agree with you, and it came across as DS “punching down” as someone mentioned above, because using that ‘bit’ meant disparaging the professional work of the monkeys’ trainer. Hence the trainer piping up to defend their reputation and their monkeys.

      And whether it was a bit or DS really still is that annoyed with the monkeys, it just made me like him even less. I never got the appeal of Ross, and have never seen an interview with DS that left a good impression. The most surprising thing I learned watching that reunion was that TPTB fashioned the Ross character with DS in mind and wanted that kind of character in that show.

  23. Concern Fae says:

    This is super normal in Hollywood. The animal trainers think their animals are wonderful and completely trained. That confidence is basically a job requirement. The actors and the rest of the crew know that their job is to work with the animal, no matter what happens, because if they piss off the animal trainer, the trainer might walk, taking the animals and ruining the production. So, the actors grit their teeth and work through it. The animal trainer never hears any complaints and is horribly hurt when the truth comes out.

    Apparently the goat playing Black Phillip in The Witch was a nightmare. The trainer did all sorts of complaining when the interviews came out at release time. But the goat broke Ralph Ineson’s ribs on one of the first days of shooting. WTF did the handler expect?

  24. Mina_Esq says:

    Dude needs to relax. Both David and the show did OK without the monkey lol

  25. Haylie says:

    Team David.

  26. Ann says:

    I don’t know what Schwimmer is like as a person but to be fair, he’s a good actor who played the part very well. There don’t appear to have been any issues or feuds with his human co-stars, so if he didn’t like working with the monkey, I’m sure it was for good reason. I like monkeys but I wouldn’t want to have to work with one on top of me all the time.

    I mean, kicking a bad habit or demon is literally called “getting the monkey off your back.” Enough said.

    Team David. No offense, monkeys.

  27. Mimi says:

    TEAM DAVID no offence to monkeys’ 🐒

  28. Laura says:

    My ex is the type of person who would have been jealous of a monkey, and would have exaggerated stories in interviews. I believe it.

  29. CC2 says:

    Yeah team David here lmao

  30. Premadonna says:

    I actually DO buy that David Schwimmer was jealous of the monkey. I remember hearing that he was very resentful that Jennifer Anniston kept getting nominated for Emmys when he thought HE should be getting nominated and while that isnt exactly the same thing it just sounds like he’s someone with lots of professional jealousy and maybe a bad attitude and i always thought that contributed to his LACK of a career after friends.

  31. AmelieOriginal says:

    Team David. I hate monkeys, they freak me out. They’re like huge squirrels only bigger with human hands and they can grab things and cause so much havoc.

  32. Susan says:

    I took my kids to a rescue zoo nearby and there was a “Marcel” capuchin monkey there. It was in a large enclosure and seemingly very happy, well adjusted, etc. Apropos of nothing, it went over, grabbed some it’s mate’s fresh poop and threw it at my 7 year old daughter. Obviously she was fine, we all had a good laugh, no harm no foul but…ugh. I love animals but they are just that—animals. Even my darling cats, who I love more than life, occasionally surprise me. I’m generally unnerved by people (like this trainer guy, it sounds) who attach human emotions and behaviors to animals.

  33. Lou says:

    Marcel didn’t even get many laughs, what is this trainer talking about? Thestoryline was so lame!