Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin’s Off Screen Friendship Led to ‘Grace & Frankie’

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin have been friends for many years. Which made their decision to link arms for the Netflix comedy “Grace and Frankie” an easy call for both.

Fonda told the crowd at the Television Critics Association press tour on Sunday that she gets great joy just by being with Tomlin. “Grace and Frankie” bows its second season on May 6.

“I come from a long line of depressed people,” Fonda said, to a big laugh. Tomlin “has a true funny bone. I get to spend time with someone who’s take on everything comes from a place of funny,” she said.

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Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin on Aging, Exes and ‘Grace and Frankie’ Appeal

When the cast and crew of Grace and Frankie took the stage Sunday at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour, they did so with money on their mind.

Partway through the session, star Jane Fonda revealed that anyone on the panel who could make the cavernous ballroom of reporters laugh would get paid $100. “We were told you were very serious and don’t laugh very much,” the actress joked, racking up an easy $100. Over the course of the lively panel, her Netflix co-stars Lily Tomlin and Sam Waterston found themselves cleaning up, too.

In between the laughs, however, came poignant insights about what made their comedy about two seventysomething women whose husbands have fallen in love with each other resonate. “I think people are astonished by this show,” said Waterston. “They don’t expect such delicate, difficult and hard subjects as late-life sexual orientation changes, divorce, death itself and aging to be funny at all.” Fonda added that the series likely gives its older viewership hope as well.

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