When Naftali Arden agreed to stream his Friends-themed barmitzvah live on Facebook, little did he know that he would end up as a guest on The Late Late Show, hosted by James Corden, and even get to chat to one of the sitcom’s stars.
Thanks to the lockdown, 13-year-old Naftali from Borehamwood had to cancel his barmitzvah – but ended up having a virtual one instead.
The March ceremony was streamed live for friends and family in London, Manchester, Israel and America. But it was also viewed by about 4,000 others, who logged on for Naftali’s haftorah and speech.
The buzz around the virtual barmitzvah piqued the interest of the producers of The Late Late Show.
“You can relate to all the characters, and it’s really funny,” Naftali told Corden as they chatted about their shared love for Friends.
“I am a huge Friends fan too, so I loved your whole approach to this, and I was really impressed to see someone so young loving the show as much as I do,” said James.
“A friend of mine was also impressed by your whole barmitzvah, and she wanted to pop in and say hi too,” said Corden as Courteney Cox, who plays Monica Geller, logged on to their online chat.
“Oh my Gosh, hello!” said the starstruck Naftali. He then admitted that he has watched the entire show seven times from start to finish.
After asking whether he recognised her, Cox said: “I was really touched by your story. Since you couldn’t have you barmitzvah the way you wanted, I decided to get you a foosball table just like the one in Joey and Chandler’s apartment.”
Naftali’s mother Tania told the JC: “He really was starstruck, he was so excited about being on The Late Late Show anyway, but when Courtney Cox appeared – it really was a dream come true!
“Of course, what we really wanted was to celebrate with friends and family but this was a pretty good alternative.”
Speaking about the surprise of Naftali’s barmitzvah going viral online, Tania said: “Everyone at that point was very despondent, everything was being cancelled and people were feeling really low, so it was a really lovely thing to happen.”