You know Scrubs' John C. McGinley, even if you don't think you do. Now get to know him better.So Scrubs debuted mid-season this year?
And last year. It's the only show to ever be nominated for an Emmy two years in a row and not be on the starting squad! [Laughs] I know NBC has so many hit comedies, so I understand why they would put us on in January. I saw three episodes in editing the other day, of the seven we've done so far, and they're astounding. The show is just great. I don't get it. We're shooting a musical [episode] that the guys who won the Tony for Avenue Q wrote for Scrubs. These guys are genius, and it's the most ambitious thing we've done in six years. Everyone in the cast has done at least half a dozen to a dozen musicals. So you're letting these ponies run, and it's unbelievable how everybody's rising.
It's a tough time for network shows, isn't it?
A couple of really great things happened during our hiatus. The show went into syndication in September, and new people are watching. The third and fourth years of the show on DVD sold more than Disney thought they would. The show got nominated [for an Emmy] for a second year in a row for Best Comedy. Those are three huge things. Any one of those would have been great. My hope is when we come back on that people will watch the show more. Maybe we will come back for a seventh season, which I would love.
Do you have a lot of moments as an actor where you worry about crossing a line that perhaps you shouldn't?
Yes, and especially since Max has come around. My pet peeve, and what I will be doing a lot of this year with support on different TV shows … it just kills us when people say "retard," "retarded," or "tard." The way it impacts caregivers of people with special needs, it's the same as the N word or when you say inflammatory things about Jewish guys or any other minority, except the difference is when you say something about someone who's African-American or Jewish, you're going to answer to the NAACP or the Anti-Defamation League. When you pick on a kid with special needs, you hit the trifecta. Nothing's going to happen. You've hit the perfect storm of cowardice, and it stinks. Somehow the word retard has integrated its way into the vernacular of our compatriots. "Don't be a retard." "What are you, retarded?" I want to let people know that it is just like an arrow through my sternum when you say that. So that's what we're going to be doing a lot of.
Is it true that your son introduced you to your fiancée?
He walked up to Nichole on the beach. I was down by the water with my two chocolate labs, where there was a fellow running his two terriers, and I didn't know if Hudson and Haley would cause any shenanigans with them. Five minutes later I look over my shoulder, and Max is talking to the hot blonde up in the sand. I said, "Max, you get over here and run the dogs, and let me talk to this beautiful woman." So we switched.
Could you talk about your biennial family pilgrimage to Ireland to play golf?
It started right around 2000. My two brothers, my father, and I went to Ireland, which obviously makes a perfect foursome, and we had a big time in Cork, Killarney, and Kerry. All you can say after you see everybody is, "Boy, we've got to do this again." Cut to 9/11 - my brother was in the second building, on the 63rd floor. When Mark made it out, and everybody finally collected themselves and got back together, it just felt like, "When we say we're gonna do something, let's do it!" So every two years, come hell or high water, we have congregated over in Ireland, and it's just become this really special time. It's just the three boys and my father. Don't get me wrong - my father adores my two sisters, but it adds years to his life when he's with the three boys over in Ireland. And we all stink [at golf]. Nobody's better than a 12 handicap. It's all the goofy, Hallmark Hall of Fame stuff. It's just great.
Is there anything you'd like to accomplish that you have yet to do?
I think if you're going to make a career out of acting, it's about stamina and endurance. It's not easy. You can make a splash in something and then go away, because the Vegas odds are that that's what you're going to do. But my thing is to persevere and to continue and be this group's Robert Duvall. That's what I would aspire to be.