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‘Will & Grace’: Debra Messing Talks David Schwimmer’s Guest Role

Don’t expect to see Ross Geller on “Will & Grace.”

Debra Messing assures us that David Schwimmer’s character on the upcoming 10th season of “Will & Grace” is nothing like his iconic “Friends” persona.

“He’s as far away from Ross as he can possibly get because he’s already mastered Ross,” Messing told Variety on Saturday night in Los Angeles at Project Angel Food’s Angel Awards, where she was honored with this year’s Founder’s Award. “I think people will be excited to see him in our world playing a different part.”

NBC announced earlier this month that Schwimmer signed on for five episodes as a love interest for Grace. The gig marks Schwimmer’s return to comedy television since starring on “Friends” and a 3-episode stint on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” He co-starred in Ryan Murphy’s 2016 FX drama “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” as defense attorney Robert Kardashian.

Meanwhile, Messing was presented with her Angel Award by “Will & Grace” creators Max Mutchnik and David Kohan. While Messing jokingly called them “assholes” for telling the crowd of 500 that she likes to arrive to work in ripped sweatshirts and pajama bottoms, she got serious and emotional while recalling having to watch her favorite college acting teacher die of AIDS. “He was living alone,” she said of his final days. “He had very little money and he was declining. My fellow students between classes and rehearsals cooked meals and delivered them to his apartment. In December of 1993, at age 41, he was gone. It was a devastating loss.”

Project Angel Food launched in 1989 to provide meals for people with HIV/AIDS. Since then, it has expanded its services to include any person battling a critical illness. It now prepares and delivers 12,000 meals every week throughout Los Angeles County.

“There are living angels all over the world working toward an AIDS-free generation and now that is finally within reach,” Messing said. “There is still a lot of work to do. There’s so much awfulness going on in the world today, so many of us being attacked by this administration — the LGBTQ community, women, minorities, immigrants, children, Muslims, the environment and the press. It is our responsibility — our duty! — to speak up, step out of our comfort zones and stand up for those without a voice.”

Celebrity hairstylist Chaz Dean also was honored with the Corporate Leadership Award.

Cheyenne Jackson performed a three-song set, including Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” and “Let Me Be Your Star” with Messing’s “Smash” co-star Megan Hilty. “Fuller House” actor Juan Pablo Di Pace performed, “You Raise Me Up,” while the evening’s presenters also included Jolie Fisher, Pauley Perrette, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Charlie Sheen, Charo and Stuart O’Keefe, co-host of the new Food Network show, “Let’s Eat.”

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