Ursula Pamela Buffay is a fictional character appearing on the two sitcoms Mad About You and Friends. She is portrayed by Lisa Kudrow, who also portrayed her sister and one of the six main characters on Friends, Phoebe.

Ursula originally appeared as a ditzy waitress on Mad About You, working at Paul and Jamie's favorite New York City restaurant, Riff's. When Lisa Kudrow was cast as Phoebe, who also lives in New York City, producers decided to have the character cross over into "Friends".


Phoebe and her twin sister Ursula was the result of a sexual relationship between Phoebe Abbott, Frank Buffay and Lily Buffay. A scared Phoebe wasn't ready to be a mother, so she gave then to Lily after she gave birth. Lily and Frank adopted both twins and raised them together. Frank abandoned Lily and the twins and Lily married another man. He went to prison, and Lily committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. Ursula went into care while Phoebe ended up on the streets.

On Mad About YouEdit

In Mad About You, Ursula was a particularly inept waitress, often forgetting orders entirely. Her character was more fully developed in Friends. On the last episode of Mad About You, it was revealed that Ursula will become the Governor of New York in the near future.

On FriendsEdit

Ursula often appeared cruel and hostile to twin Phoebe, who is still upset by the things Ursula did to her when they were young, for example, throwing her Judy bus and stealing her first boyfriend. This drove a wedge between the sisters, and the estrangement continued into adulthood. Although Phoebe ended up homeless by her mid-teens, following the various deaths/abandonments/imprisonments of their parents, Ursula apparently did not; how the sisters came to be separated as minors was never revealed.

Naturally, Phoebe became worried when Ursula dated Joeyin The One With Two Parts. It was revealed that Ursula had always known the truth about her and Phoebe's parentage; she even claimed to hold a suicide note from their adoptive mother that revealed the identity of their birth mother. When Phoebe asked to see the note, Ursula showed Phoebe a note that she (Ursula) had hastily written up. In Ursula's word, her version "got the gist"of the original suicide note, which she had apparently lost in the interim. Ursula also sold Phoebe's birth certificate to a Swedish runaway; as a result, Phoebe does not know what her middle name is. In " The One Where Chandler Can't Cry", it is revealed that Ursula works in the pornography industry, using her sister's first name so she was credited as Phoebe Buffay. She appeared in such films as "Buffay the Vampire Layer", "Sex Toy Story 2", "Lawrence of a Labia" (an actual adult film title), and "Inspect Her Gadget". Much of her earnings were stolen by Phoebe as revenge since Ursula had used her name for the films. In " The One With The Halloween Party" Ursula and her fiance, Eric (played by Sean Penn) attend a Halloween party thrown by Monica and Chandler. Pheobe discovers that Ursula has been lying to her fiance claiming that she is a teacher at the Top Secret School for the Children of Spies, that she was in the Peace Corps, saying "It wasn't a town when I got there, but it was a town when I left" and also that she doesn't smoke and is a part of a church group. Phoebe reveals this to Eric upon which he breaks up with Ursula and begins dating Pheobe. However they soon break up because Eric has sex with Ursula thinking she is Phoebe.


  • On one occasion, the character Jamie Buchman from Mad About You walks into Central Perk and confuses Phoebe with Ursula. Since Ursula is naturally forgetful, Jamie writes off Phoebe's genuine ignorance of who Jamie is as one of Ursula's quirks.
  • In the another crossover with Mad About You, Jamie causes a city-wide power blackout in New York City in "Pandora's Box," and the effects of the blackout are seen in the Friends episode, "The One with the Blackout," and a blackout-which may or may not have been the same one-also occurred in the episode "Birthday in the Big House" of the short-lived NBC sitcom Madman of the People. All 3 episodes originally aired during the evening of November 3, 1994, alongside a Seinfeld episode which did not incorporate the blackout premise.
  • In The One With The Halloween Party, Phoebe tells Ursula's fiance, Eric, that she is a minute younger than Ursula.