Did you research wine for the show?
A friend of mine is one of the top somms in New York, and he gave me a crash course. I waited tables for seven years–at Ed Debevic’s [in Chicago], where the waiters were on roller skates, but also all over L.A. before Friends–so I thought I knew how to open a bottle of wine. Turns out I was crap.
Do you consider yourself a foodie?
If the definition of foodie is someone who flies to a new city or country just to try a restaurant, then no. If the definition is someone who, once they hit the ground in that new city, looks up the best restaurant there, then I guess I am.
You took a long break from TV. Why did you return?
Before I met my wife, I was a workaholic. When my daughter was born five years ago, I made the conscious decision to take my foot off the pedal. Then I started to get the itch again, and O.J. happened to come along.
Did you worry people would continue to think of you as Ross?
I spent my whole time on Friends worrying about that. Then I just stopped caring. People will say, “Oh, that’s Ross as a lawyer or a somm.” That’s fine.
How has starring on a hit TV show changed in the years between Friends and O.J.?
I honestly didn’t think with all the different platforms–Netflix, YouTube–you could have a watercooler show on cable these days. I was surprised.
Have you heard from the Kardashians about your portrayal of Robert?
I spoke to Kris Kardashian as research for the role. I have not heard from them since it aired. I would be interested to.
This appears in the June 06, 2016 issue of TIME.
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