Donald Faison isn't shy about expressing his feelings. In fact, it's his affinity for over-sharing that makes the comedic actor the entertaining character that he is, both on-screen and off. Since Faison's breakout role as Stacey Dash's flame Murray in 1995's Clueless (never a bad look), the funnyman has enjoyed a smattering of film roles, including turns in Remember The Titans and Waiting To Exhale. But it was his nine-year stint on the Emmy-nominated Scrubs, as Turk, the eccentric doctor and unabashed heterosexual life mate of J.D. (Zach Braff), that solidified Faison's specific brand of comic earnestness.
Now, Faison is bringing his unrestrained honesty to The Exes, TV Land's new sitcom that debuts tonight at 10:30pm EST. The Exes follows three newly-minted divorcees (Faison, Wayne Knight, and David Alan Basche) who live under the same roof, courtesy of their never-been-married divorce lawyer (Kristen Johnston).
Complex spoke with Faison about working with seasoned sitcom vets, his long-term bromance, and his irrational fear of losing his best friend to Jay-Z. As expected, he didn't hold back.
Interview by Shanté Cosme (@ShanteCosme)
Tell us about The Exes.
It's fun. I love coming to work. I love the people I work with. They're all really talented veterans, so I'm learning a lot and I'm also contributing a lot. Every now and then I have to pinch myself and say, "Wayne Knight and Kristen Johnston?", which is kind of cool. They're both very funny and sharp and talented, and I love it. It's a good feeling to be around seasoned vets.
Wayne Knight killed it as Newman on Seinfeld; is it intense working with him?
It's not intense. He's a very laid-back, easygoing, funny, charming man.
Do I sense another bromance brewing?
[Laughs.] Maybe... You never know! I don't know what Zach will say about that. I'm only allowed to have one white friend and that's Zach, and he's only allowed to have one black friend, and that's me. Any time he hangs out with somebody like Puffy or Jay-Z or something like that, I feel a little threatened, because there's a possibility that they're going to take my white friend away from me.
I don't think you'd be upstaged by them. You two clearly have something special.
It's a possibility. If anyone on the planet can upstage me, I think those two can. Puffy will dance around me and Jay-Z will rap me to death.
Both are valid points. Bromance aside, your character Phil on The Exes is billed as a ladies man, which is a big departure from your character Turk on Scrubs, who was tied down the majority of the show. Was it difficult to go from super-committed to suave?
Well, when we first had a read-through, the producers came over to me and said, "Try not to be so goofy, man. You're a ladies man." I was at the read-through playing Turk. When you're first reading a script, you just go for what you know. They were like, "Hey, hey, hey... Let's tone down the goofy and go more with the suave."
Was that a stretch for you?
I'm not a suave guy, I'm going to be honest with you. It's going to be very fun learning how to be suave.
Does going the goofy route work for you with the ladies in real life?
I mean, I think every woman wants to be with someone who's going to make her laugh, right?
Definitely. Mostly because suave tends to come off as artificial.
Yeah, it comes off as fake. But if you have the looks to go along with the suave, it works. Look at Ryan Gosling—he's a suave guy!
Speaking of guy love, male bonding was always a running joke on Scrubs. Are we going to see that dynamic explored again on The Exes?
We all play newly divorced men, so there not a lot of guy love going on right now. There's room for it, but it's not happening yet. Everyone is trying to find out where they fit in a room full of vulnerable men. Like, I want my space, David wants his space and Wayne wants his space. I don't know if you've ever been married, but you want to be where you want to be and not be judged for sitting on the couch all day.