After Grammy and Tony-winning singer, Cynthia Erivo performed an R&B, slowed-down rendition of the "Friends" theme song, "I'll Be There For You," the group of actors reenacted the fan-favorite episode from Season 3, "The One Where No One's Ready."
Led by Union, who took on the role of narrator, the table read starred Aduba as Phoebe, Hinds as Monica, Pope as Chandler and Sampson as Joey. Real-life spouses, Bathe and Brown, portrayed Rachel and Ross, respectively.
"The One Where No One's Ready" is centered on Ross as he struggles to get the gang to get ready for a formal event where he's scheduled to give a speech. However, all of the friends are preoccupied with different problems. Chandler and Joey argue over who gets to sit in a chair, while Monica becomes obsessed with investigating a voicemail she received from her ex-boyfriend Richard. Rachel can't decide what to wear and Phoebe, who was the only person to arrive fully dressed, has to find another outfit after Joey accidentally stains her dress with hummus, which he aimed at Chandler. While the entire group dawdles, Ross gradually becomes more anxious.
The all-Black cast performance of the episode, which was directed by Salli Richardson-Whitfield, also included a few modern changes to the script to fit with the times as well as to point out the racial contrast between the original all-white cast and the Black ensemble.
At one point in the original episode, Ross realizes it started to rain and sarcastically points out "that will make it easier to get a cab." In Brown's portrayal of the scene, he said, "It's starting to rain. That will make it easy for a Black man to get a cab."
The script also updated a pop culture reference in another scene in which Chandler yells at Joey to get out of the chair.
"In the words of A.A. Milne, get out of my chair, dillhole!" Chandler says in the original. However, in the Zoom table read, Pope as Chandler yells, "So, in the words of Jordan Peele, 'Get Out!'"
The charity event, which was part of the "Zoom Where It Happens" table read series, benefitted the nonpartisan nonprofit When We All Vote and took place on Voter Registration Day. Following their performance, Union and the group spoke about the importance of voting in the election and explained how and where they all plan to vote.
Pope and Brown also took to Twitter after the table read, saying that they both hope to work together again soon.
"Yoo! that was too much fun. thank you to everyone who tuned into FRIENDS #ZoomWhereItHappens," Pope tweeted, to which Brown replied, "Absolute pleasure working with you, bruh! Let's do it again!!!"
Pope wrote back, "No doubt. Let's make that happen"
In addition to the many "Friends" fans around the world, filmmaker Ava DuVernay also tuned in and shared her thoughts on the event. See highlights from the table read in the clips, below.