Why Russ Is Played By “Snaro” (When It’s Really David Schwimmer)

Friends Russ Snaro Ross David Schwimmer

Although only one of the main characters in Friends has a twin, Rachel once dated a guy named Russ, was near-identical to Ross (and also played by Schwimmer). So, who played Russ on Friends? Audiences were impressed at the quality of the Ross doppelganger, believing him to be “Snaro,” (as the character is credited in the show), not David Schwimmer. For years, the Friends mystery character remained something for the audience to speculate about. It is now known that Snaro and David Schwimmer are one and the same, leaving audiences to wonder where the name came from and what it means. Friends had a particular focus on the romance between Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and Ross (David Schwimmer), which wasn’t exactly the healthiest relationship. Before they officially got together, they dated different people, and among the guys Rachel went out with was Russ, a man scarily similar to Ross.


So, who is Russ? After their first kiss, Ross and Rachel got into an argument, as the former made a list of cons and pros of her and his girlfriend Julie (Lauren Tom), as he didn’t know who to pick. Hurt and seeing no future with Ross, Rachel started dating a man named Russ, who made his debut in season 2’s episode appropriately titled “The One With Russ.” Russ was way too similar to Ross, with only a few, slight differences. Of course, the joke for audiences was that Russ was just David Schwimmer in a wig, but in the show, the similarities were enough to freak the group out — except for Rachel and Ross, who just didn’t see it. In the end, Rachel realized Ross and Russ were almost identical copies of one another and broke up with Russ. Unlike what many people believed for years, Russ wasn’t played by a David Schwimmer lookalike, and it was, in fact, Schwimmer himself, though he was credited as “Snaro.”

Related: Friends: A Complete Timeline of Ross & Rachel’s Relationship

Snaro Was An In-Joke Used To Confuse Friends Fans

Russ and Ross talking on Friends

So, who played Russ on Friends? With a little bit of makeup and TV set magic, Schwimmer played both Ross and Russ, though audiences were left to wonder for many years. David Crane joked that Snaro was his Croatian friend to further the ruse and keep fans guessing about the identity of Snaro. Schwimmer looked just different enough in the role of Russ for fans to have an inkling of doubt whether David Schwimmer’s lookalike was really him. However, it is obvious looking back on the episode that Schwimmer plays both, as no one could be so similar to Ross as the man who knew him best. It was later confirmed that Snaro and David Schwimmer are one and the same. Schwimmer was credited as Snaro as a tribute to one of his friends, and it’s also an alias he used from time to time.

Were Ross And Rachel On A Break In Friends?

Ross and Rachel talk in the living room in the pilot of Friends.

The Ross and Rachel “break” debate raged on throughout Friends, prompting many people to take sides, but there is a direct answer to the question that puts the theories to bed. During the Friends reunion special, host James Corden asked the cast whether or not the couple were “on a break” the night that Ross brought home Chloe. The cast all agreed that the pair were, in fact, “on a break.”

The break debate began in Friends season 3 during their first real dating stint. Rachel started to thrive in her career and gained a new friend in the process in the form of her coworker Mark. Ross, as usual, became insecure about her success and the company of her handsome new colleague. Rachel had to work on their anniversary, so Ross thought he’d surprise her by bringing a picnic to her office. She was understandably annoyed because she had to work. In turn, she told him to leave, and he had the gall to ask if it had anything to do with Mark. She proclaimed they needed a “break” (which probably just meant space).

Then, Snaro aka Ross went to a club and took home Chloe afterward. He intended that his little tryst would remain a secret after Rachel wanted to get back together the next day. That, unfortunately, didn’t work out for him, as Chloe was roommates with Gunther, so Rachel heard all about it anyways. The tension around the “break” never came from the technicalities; Ross created a trust issue by not being open. The mystery of Snaro, however, is at least an amusing byproduct and one of many fun behind-the-scenes stories from Friends. Though, it’s one that might still trick new viewers into thinking there’s a David Schwimmer lookalike out there who did an excellent job as Ross Geller’s doppelganger “Russ” in the earlier seasons of Friends.

Related: It’s Too Late For A Friends Revival (No Matter How Popular It Would Be)

Friends Used The Credits To Make Jokes More Than Once

UNDATED PHOTO: Actors Courteney Cox Arquette (L), Jennifer Aniston (C) and Matthew Perry are shown in a scene from the NBC series “Friends”. The series received 11 Emmy nominations, including outstanding comedy series, by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences July 18, 2002 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Warner Bros. Television/Getty Images)

The Snaro incident wasn’t the only time that Friends used the credits to make a joke. Friends season 6, episode 1, “The One After Vegas” saw everyone’s name in the credits changed to say “Arquette” at the end. This was because of Courteney Cox. Over the break, she had gotten married to her Scream co-star David Arquette, and had therefore changed her name to Courteney Cox-Arquette. To celebrate the couple’s nuptials, the production team decided to change all of the actor’s names in the opening credits to match hers. It’s a fun bit of Friends trivia, like the answer to the question “who played Russ on Friends,” that only superfans know. Friends was a landmark sitcom overall, and it’s only been made better over time with the number of in-universe jokes that have gone on, like Phoebe’s twin Ursula also being a waitress in Mad About You.

Next: Friends: Every Time Ross Was Married (& Why He Got Divorced)

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