The producers of Scrubs can’t take all the credit for the show’s comedy, since Neil Flynn is backing them up.  Though he plays Sacred Heart’s resident janitor, he’s actually responsible for some of the laughs the show is known for. 

One thing Flynn thanks is his background doing improv comedy around Chicago.  “I was there during a crucial time for the iO Theater,” he said.  During those years, plenty other comics came to Hollywood, including Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers. 

“I was a dramatic actor until I was 30,” admitted Flynn.  “I’d never done comedy of any kind.”  Even so, he still managed to snag his ideal role of the tough-talking janitor on Scrubs.

Bill Lawrence, the executive producer of the series, sees Flynn as his “go-to” guy on set.  With all the opportunities to improvise, Flynn just can’t pass up any of them.  “They’re just a chance to come up with something on the set.  We always do a scripted line and then we go a little farther.  Sometimes the crazier stuff is funnier.  As long as you have the ‘as written’ locked down, you’re not hurting anybody to try different things.” 

“He’s one of the best improv comedians working in our country,” Lawrence said of Flynn.  That’s just one of the many reasons why the actor’s still on the set of Scrubs.

“I thought the pilot was the only episode I was going to be in.  That was fine with me.  You string together enough weekly paychecks and you’re OK.  The fact that it turned into more was a complete surprise.” 

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There are more surprises in store for his character too.  Now that the show is moving to a new home on ABC, the producers of the series are planning on putting more meat to Flynn’s role.  The Janitor will soon be marrying Lady, his girlfriend, in a Bahamas ceremony.  In addition, there might be a few hints on the man’s real name.  But no one’s hurrying to expose that little Scrubs secret just yet.

“I wouldn’t want to be accused of making it a Kramer thing,” Flynn explained.  “It can only end up being a letdown.  Besides, what could it be that would be a big payoff?  There’s no name that could possibly be the Rosebud of television.” 

Despite a shift in focus to his character on Scrubs, Flynn knows that it won’t last too long.  “I knew it wouldn’t be ‘The Janitor Hour,” he says with a smile.  “I’m aware of my comparative importance.”

Besides, there are always other projects he could start doing.  “When you watch Nick at Night, you notice the number of actors who have never worked after a series.  When this ends, I’d do another series, but I’m not going to be so picky that I won’t take anything.  I could disappear into obscurity.”  But with a background like that and a stint on one of TV’s best comedy-dramas, people would surely be lining up to see more of Neil Flynn.  

-Maria Gonzalez, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: Sioux City Journal
(Image Courtesy of ABC)