That's a twelve year-old mystery solved
Sometimes when a writer is on the trail of a story, they’ll find themselves going to great lengths. Some journalists travel to war zones, others trek across deserts. In the case of Huffington Post writer Todd van Luling, the quest to find a story led him on an epic odyssey… to find the actor who played the Ugly Naked Guy in Friends.
And boy, did it take some detective work.
Originally, sources claimed that Michael Haggerty, who played the apartment building’s caretaker, also played Ugly Naked Guy. But van Luling wasn’t going to settle for rumours, he got Haggerty on the phone, and it turned out it wasn’t true. Haggerty was not Ugly Naked Guy.
So that’s when the real journey started. First of all van Luling called the casting director for both episodes starring Ugly Naked Guy, with no luck. Then he called Central Casting, an agency that took care of providing extras for Friends, but still nothing. Even David Crane, the show’s casting director, told van Luling that had no clue who the mystery actor was.
Eventually, when he was close to giving up hope, he got a clue from producer Todd Stevens.
Stevens told van Luling. ‘It was an extra, and we wanted it to fly under the radar because we didn’t want somebody, like, being Ugly Naked Guy… We just had Central send a few people over. It was not somebody with a history on the show.’
Again, van Luling thought that perhaps his quest was going to be unsuccessful, but then he got an email from the Central Casting agency who previously had said they couldn’t help. It read, ‘I have very good news for you. A little while ago the infamous “ugly naked guy” came in for a visit. I will put in a call to him to see if he’s okay to make contact with you.’
Finally, the quest paid off! Ugly Naked Guy’s identity was revealed as Jon Haugen, who, as it turns out, isn’t ugly at all, but actually very, very smiley.
Mystery solved. It might seem like a lot of work, but fans of Friends needed to know the truth.
They’ve already come up with multiple Friends fan theories about the show, including what happened to Ross’s son Ben, or even that the Friends group only exist in Phoebe’s mind. So yes, they are a fandom to be reckoned with.
But given that there hasn’t been a new episode in over a decade, what else are we supposed to do?