Simpsons

actor Hank Azaria has opened up about the one role he wishes he'd landed, revealing that he auditioned twice to play Joey in hit 90s sitcom Friends.

Azaria, who voices characters including Moe, Chief Wiggum and Apu in the iconic animated sitcom, reveals in a new interview with Howard Stern that Friends was "the only job I've ever begged for. That, I knew, was going to be huge."

It was the part of out-of-work, airheaded actor Joey Tribbiani that Azaria was convinced he was perfect for. However, those casting the show thought otherwise.

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Actor Hank Azaria. Photo / Getty
Actor Hank Azaria. Photo / Getty

"It was a very fast no. They liked my audition, they just thought Matt LeBlanc was better. History has proven that choice to be correct."

Complicating the matter was the fact that Azaria's close friend, fellow actor Matthew Perry, had landed the role of Chandler Bing just as he was being rejected from the show.

The pair had been friends since Perry was a teenager.

"He goes in for Chandler and gets it, I went in for Joey and did not get it," he recalled.

"I had to tell him, 'Bud, I'm burning with jealousy. I'm consumed with hatred for you right now'."

The jealousy did dissolve, though.

"Once you express it and are honest about it, it kind of goes away. You can just be happy with your friend. I needed to say, 'You have to know that a part of me's dying.'"

And Azaria did receive a consolation prize in the end - he ended up with a recurring guest role on Friends, appearing as Phoebe's on-off boyfriend Dave across five episodes of the series.

While he admitted that the initial rejection stung too much for him to watch early episodes of the show, "I certainly watched the episodes I was on. Narcissistic actor and all that."