What Is Gunther From ‘Friends’ Currently Doing?
To begin, the white-blonde hair has (mostly) vanished.
Michael Tyler, 58, is still working as an actor in 2021. While his income is supplemented by syndication revenue from Friends, he continues to book roles. “I didn’t sit back and declare, ‘I was Gunther; I’m going to buy an island!’ I couldn’t do that in the first place “In 2019, he told the New Zealand Herald.
Equal parts romantic and acerbic, Gunther has remained one of the most beloved characters in the Friends universe. The show’s most frequent guest star was James Michael Tyler, who played the Central Perk barista. The gang was constantly congregating at the coffee shop, and Gunther hung around, hoping to catch a glimpse of his longtime crush Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston). We know what happened to the show’s main cast members—all of whom have remained in the public eye to varying degrees—but what happened to Gunther, a.k.a. Michael Tyler, in the 17 years since Friends aired?
How has Tyler been spending his time?
Though he is best known for his role on Friends—and who among the cast isn’t?—
Michael Tyler is currently working on additional small-scale projects. According to his IMDb page, he shot two short films last year; prior to that, he appeared as himself in 2012’s Episodes alongside Matt LeBlanc. He also made five appearances on the show Modern Music. He also appeared on Scrubs, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, and Just Shoot Me during and after the run of Friends. He also appeared in a music video for British artist Chicane (he appears in the first minute as a mailman):
Additionally, Michael Tyler has appeared in a number of Friends pop-ups and events. He opened a Central Perk pop-up in London in 2009 and another in New York’s SoHo neighborhood in 2014. He also provided the voice for the 2005 video game “The One With All the Trivia.”
While Gunther was known for his bleached blonde hair, Tyler returned to his natural dark brown color following the show’s conclusion. (He would restore it to its natural color only for his Friends appearances.) Here he is on The Today Show in 2019:
And here he is in 2015 at FriendsFest:
Tyler’s attitude toward Friends has shifted recently.
“I never imagined I’d still be here, 25 years later, talking about [it],” he told the New Zealand Herald. “They celebrated their twentieth anniversary and launched the first FriendsFest in the United Kingdom, and I retired Gunther. That has to be it, I reasoned. And then it debuted on Netflix, where it immediately drew an entirely new audience of millennials and young adults.”
In a 2019 interview with E, he discussed the origins of the character Gunther. “I vividly recall my first day on set as a background actor. Gunther played no part. For a year and a half, I was simply a coffee guy. I walked in with bleached blonde hair—it had happened the night before as a result of my friend practicing to be a stylist, so it was entirely coincidental… It was the most fortunate accident, the most fortunate blunder, I’d ever made in my life.”
Will Gunther attend the HBO Max Friends reunion?
Indeed! Michael Tyler has been confirmed to appear in the HBO Max special, which premieres on May 27. He’ll appear alongside the show’s main cast and a number of beloved guest stars, including Jack and Judy Gellar, Janice, and Dr. Richard Burke.
Tyler stated in 2009, when asked what he believed Gunther would be doing today, “He’d probably have a very traditional marriage, with lots of white-haired babies running around with hair as bright as the sun.”