1000 shows and counting: Stars rejoice to honor Director James Burrows

Photo Credit: ChrisHaston/ NBC/ NBCU/PhotoBankaroun d GettyImages
Photo Credit: ChrisHaston/ NBC/ NBCU/PhotoBankaroun d  GettyImages

Photo Credit: ChrisHaston/ NBC/ NBCU/PhotoBankaroun d GettyImages

By Jaritza Mendoza | Staff Writer|

NBC’s much anticipated “Must See TV: An All-Star Tribute to James Burrows” gave fans a memorable night filled with nostalgia and laughs as numerous TV casts reunited Feb. 21.

The 3-hour event honored iconic TV director James Burrows, who recently directed his 1,000th episode with the upcoming show, “Crowded.”

“I didn’t know [Burrows] directed all these shows, my wife and I grew up watching these shows 20 years ago and still now with “The Big Bang Theory,” said student Richard Anderson.

Andy Cohen hosted the event, which had 5.5 million viewers, and the list of celebrities was endless.

Apart from the six main casts set to appear, celebrities from past and future shows, directors, writers, and singers like Bruce Springsteen came to celebrate Burrows, who actor Sean Hayes (Will & Grace) describes as “The Godfather of Television Comedy.”

The show began with a prerecorded sketch where Jim Parson and Hayes seem to have forgotten their promise to NBC to create the ultimate tribute for Burrows, which lead Hayes to make over 150 phone calls to reel in celebrities.

Cohen stepped out from the purple lit stage to introduce the show “Will & Grace,” which was then followed by several hilarious clips throughout the shows eight seasons.

“The show was entertaining and was also welcoming seeing them be normal and how they were being portrayed as loving easy going people,” said student Otto Perez

With the exception of Debra Messing who played lead Grace Adler, the cast talked about memorable scenes while working with Burrows.

Actress Jane Lynch talked with the cast of “Cheers,” which aired in 1982 and ran for 11 seasons, about Burrows’ talent.

“He knew how to save laughs, when he saw an actor starting to go up, he would say up,up to redo the moment so that the punchline wouldn’t be ruined, and that was a very handy tool to have,” said Shelley Long.

Bill Nye the Science Guy said, “There are two basic ways to measure great comedic timing. You can measure the chemical process as endorphins are released in the brain or you can also do it by watching new episodes of ‘The Big Bang Theory.'”


Other casts featured were “Taxi,” “Mike and Molly” and the biggest buzz of the night “Friends.”

Matthew Perry, [who played funnyman Chandler Bing], was featured in a prerecorded tape explaining his absence due to his play in the U.K. and introduced the rest of the “Friends” cast.

They shared how they first bonded playing poker in Burrows dressing room, which inspired one of the episodes.

When asked how they would describe Burrows’ legacy Jennifer Aniston answered, “Just look at this room, that’s his legacy right there.”

The night concluded with thank-you videos from numerous celebrities who have worked with the director.

Teary-eyed Burrows came up on stage, while the audience gave a long standing ovation, to thank everyone involved with the production.

With “Crowded” set to air March 20., Burrows shows no sign of retiring soon.

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