Zach Braff

September 27, 2011

I AMA Zach Braff.

Any chance of a return to TV in a lead role? You really made Scrubs what it is.

Thanks. Yes one day. I love TV. People always shit talk TV, but I love it. I like the freedom right now to write, act in movies, travel. The ONLY downside at all to TV is that you sign a contract for 7 years that limits your life a smidge.

Do you and Donald have a real life close bromance? I feel that life would be worth living if this were true.

He is my best brown best friend. Josh Radin is my best white best friend. We are all going on vacation together soon.

Oh, he's black? I totally didn't notice because I basically don't even notice that people have different races, since I'm so not racist.

Seriously though, that's pretty awesome. It comes across in the on screen bro chemistry.

One of the reasons the show worked so well, is that Donald and I really did become best friends with the exact same sense of humor. Some of those adventures Bill took right from our lives.

What made you decide to become an actor?

My dad did community theater when I was a kid. It was so much fun. Never got into sports, just took to trying to make people laugh. I was a class clown in school. Enjoyed the feeling of making people laugh.

How do you feel about being portrayed by James Deen, the pornographic actor, in the XXX parody of Scrubs?

Comparison portfolio headshots here - SFW

Full site here - NSFW

I've never seen his work. But I did a funny segment on Jimmy Kimmel about this when it came out. But no, I have yet to Fap (i know all your lingo) to a porn movie where I am one of the characters...

Ya know, I've just gotta add to our collective appreciation a bit by mentioning that this is the first AMA that I can remember where the questionee has actually answered follow-up questions. It really adds to the whole experience for us.

I'd also like to say that Scrubs going into syndication on about 50 million channels has done terrible terrible things to my productivity level. I'm pretty sure I've even seen more than one episode in Spanish (a language which I do not speak...), and I'd like to sincerely thank you for that. I'm a huge fan of all your work and I hope you keep directing/acting/writing for a long long time.

Thanks for the kind words Mr. Rabbit. I have always been nice to rabbits even though I can say honestly that Rabbits have not always been nice to me.

Have you still been writing scripts? Garden State has been one of my most personal films and I'd love to see some of your writing talent on the big screen again.

Yes. Written several since GS. But 3 have fallen apart. I also had to balance that with Scrubs. So now that the show is over I hope to direct soon. But I just got this super cool part in the prequel to "Oz" so I'm writing something here during my downtime...

Do you really drink appletinis?

No. I'm sorry. They do not make me feel fancy like JD.

Do you browse Reddit normally under a different account?

I just discovered it. So I've been exploring a bit. I find it funny sometimes. Sometimes a bit mean for my taste. But there is plenty on here that has made me laugh.

I think that's how most people feel about Reddit

Oh... okay. Cool.

What is your favorite episode of scrubs?

I'm biased. The one's I directed. :) Love the one where Donald and I go on a quest to give the note to Molly that gives me permission to have sex with her. That ep was everything I loved about Scrubs. Also love Wizard of Oz ep (a theme in my life I guess) and My Old Lady. third one we ever did. (i didn't direct that one...)

TIL you directed episodes of Scrubs.

I think I directed 6 or more. Forgot.

Is it annoying when someone sees you in public and calls you JD?

No. SO grateful and appreciative. People are 99.9% respectful.

... would you mind if anybody actually did try it?

If you see me, please don't Eagle me without permission. I heard Donald has Eagled several people. But he is strong like bull. The .1%

Ha. That's funny.

Do you find yourself missing Scrubs? I would imagine in particular other cast members...

I read you and Donald Faison are good friends. Did that happen because of the show?

Really enjoyed that show. Thanks for all the laughs.

I miss laughing everyday. Just watched the doc about Conan's live show tour. Made me nostalgic. That's what it was like at Scrubs: we laughed all day with our friends. Dead legs, fart jokes; it was like you never had to grow up. So I miss my friends the most. But I see Bill and Donald. The 2 I was closest with.

What song do you recommend I rollerblade to?


What was your favorite moment on the set of Scrubs? Favorite episode?

Neil Flynn could make me laugh harder than anyone. So my scenes with him were some of my faves. And directing was awesome. Felt like they gave the kids the keys to the candy shop.

How long did it take you to get your pilots licences. How worth it has it been so far. I am thinking about getting one.

It took me a long time, cause my schedule changes. To do it quickly you have to go regularly like 3 times a week. I couldn't do that. But I stuck with it. I love it. It's not an inexpensive hobby. Which is too bad. I wish there was a way for more people to experience it.

Yeah, what do you fly?

I fly a Cirrus SR-22 Turbo. It's naughty.

I didn't know you were a pilot! What airport did you train at? I trained at Van Nuys. I'm sad I haven't kept it up as much as I would like... as you say not an inexpensive hobby..

At Van Nuys in LA. Now I train out of KMMU.

i loved garden state, do you plan on doing anymore dramatic movies?

Yes. I made one called "The High Cost Of Living". It's coming out on DVD a week from today. (SHAMELESS PLUG) But after that, yes. I love to try lots of different things. Most people don't know (because I broke out with Scrubs) that drama's where I started after Northwestern. My first 3 roles out of school were in Shakespearian plays.

When can we expect Garden State 2?

"This time it's personal"... Never. But don't worry; I'm gonna make more movies.

who was your favorite scrubs guest star?

John Ritter. He was/is a hero of mine. He was supposed to shoot his second episode the week he died. I think about him often.

If you don't mind saying, do you know what the second episode was supposed to be story-wise?

Not sure. I know it had something to do with he and my brother though.

What is your fondest memory of filming Garden State? I love that movie.

Every second of it was surreal. I kept thinking I was gonna wake up.

I really liked the Soundtrack of your Movies, is this your music taste or did some kind of "council" chose this?

Also your fav. Album?

I have a lot of friends who know a lot more about music than I do. So they recommend songs. Joshua Radin for example intro'd me to Nick Drake. And I love to listen to Pandora and now Spotify and itunes. I just kind of stumble upon things. But I've always said the GS and LAst Kiss soundtracks were just kind of mix tapes me and my friends were listening to. If I'm decent at anyting, perhaps its placing the right song with the right moment. And maybe this comes from growing up on musicals.

What are your thoughts on Season 9?

I'm glad we tried to keep the show going. You have to try things. No matter what you do: some people are gonna hate it, others are gonna love it. But if you haven't gone out on a limb and taken brave shots at achieving your goals.. what are you doing? You can't be an artist and get too caught up by what everyone thinks. I'm not saying that's easy, but you have to try.

I once saw you in a Coffee Bean but I didn't come up to say hi. I didn't have anything to say besides "Hey, you're Zach Braff." Still, it feels like a missed opportunity. In the future, how can I make interesting small talk with people who I'm sure would just like to be left alone?

A smile is always nice. No creative person ever minds being told that you're a fan. The pictures with the mom who can't operate a cell phone camera... that can be tricky...

I once saw you drinking a 40 oz of beer (I assume) in a brown paper bag on the street in NYC, close to the Union Sq movie theatre (I think it's 13th st and Broadway). You were with a girl and my buddy and I said "Hey that's Zach Braff drinking a 40!" and you turned back and gave some wry smile.

This is a god-honest true story. How do you explain yourself?!?!

Haven't had a forty since high school. Maybe it was a root bear from Dos Torros.

I'm guessing something along the lines of "Beer is nice. Ladies are nice."

You know what, this is a way better answer than mine.

What do you feel has been your proudest moment in life?

Standing at Sundance in the back of the theater when GS screened for the first time. No one had seen it. Not one person in my whole family. The room was filled with SO many people who had passed on the script. (Some multiple times.) I cried. And a few hours later Harvey Weinstein called me on my cell phone.

What has been the most challenging thing you've done as a writer, actor and director - out of any project?

I find writing the hardest. When it turns out good, there's nothing better. But it's SO easy to procrastinate. Like going on reddit when you should be writing, for example.

How long will it take you to answer all of these questions?

I won't eat or sleep tonight.

Will you ever consider doing theatre in either lead role or directing in the West End (London?)

Working on bringing the play I've written "All New People" to the west end next year. We have an offer, and I'm trying to work out the logistics. I would play the lead. :)

Can I be your new personal assistant I'll work for cheap.

How fast can you skin a squirrel?

If you hadn't done Scrubs, where do you think your career would be right now?

P.S. I love you.

I'd still be making movies. But might not be known around the world... Who knows? Isn't it crazy how our lives unfold. I wanted to be cast in an off-broadway play so badly. Didn't even get a callback. Had I gotten it, I wouldn't have been free to audition for Scrubs.

Why did you go from doing a TV show to writing and doing plays? Do you not like where TV is going? Or something else?

Just wanna try lots of things. Needed a smidgen of an LA break... I really love New York City.

What's your favourite type of candy?

Rasinets. As a kid: Fun Dip, Big League Chew

I was sent here from Facebook. Are you going to share new songs?

Yeah. People seem to like it when I do, so I shall continue.

How do you get your hair so perfect?

Mousse... and twist

How did you get the role of JD, what were the auditions like? and when did you first meet everyone?

I auditioned 6 times. In the end I was up against 4 guys. One was kinda famous. I knew Bill wanted me, but sometimes the network disagrees. I wore the same outfit every audition and listened to Radiohead's "Stop Whispering" and Blind Melon's "Change" to get me pumped up too.

Does wearing the same outfit make it easier to be remembered or something?

No, I think it was just weird nervous superstition.

if you could have 1 role from any tv show or film which would it be?

Right now I'm acting in Sam Raimi's prequel to The Wizard of OZ. It's called "Oz". It stars James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz and myself. It's epic! I'm here till December. Such an honor as a film geek and techno geek to be a part of filmmaking on this scale.

Who was a better kisser: Sara Chalk or Natalie Portman? I must know.

They were both wonderful. Both very pretty ladies. :) Kissing Natalie is the question I get asked most btw. But no judgements; i understand the curiosity. I am human.

To expand: Who was your best on-screen kiss?

Amy Smart. TCW. Answered.

I drew a couple pictures of John Candy:

What do you think?

Also do you like this other picture I drew?

This is why I love reedit.

Do you still have this shirt?

Yes. I think it's in my garage...

What about this shirt?

That's funny. Can't really wear that shirt anywhere but a tv set.

Hi Zach,

I just wanted to let you know that Garden State is one of the main reasons why I pursue and love independent movies. That being said, I have some questions relating to the movie.

  1. What was it like taking on all of the major filmmaking roles (writing/directing/producing) for the first time?
  2. Were there any major influences from other movies or people that helped you write and direct the film?
  3. What were the biggest hurdles you had to face in getting Garden State from a dream to a reality?
  4. Do you think your television work and experience gave you some leverage in getting GS made?

Thanks so much for doing this IAMA!

Wow, this is a lot. Let me pick one part. I was very inspired by Hal Ashby. "Harold and Maude" is one of my favorite movies. It was an early quirky love story. I love the style and music and the fact that it's a story about lonely-ass people, but you've got smile on your face the whole time. I like sad movies that make you laugh. That's my favorite genre.

It might have been afternoon. It was a long time ago. Him and Lauryn Hill - that's pretty easily verifiable, though. No big secret they went to the same high school.

We were on the PA crew. There were tryouts and, another girl, Lauryn and Zach.

So, basically 50% of the people who did that are now famous and 25% is sitting at their computers drinking wine watching "Ringer."

This is funny and true. Lauryn Hill and I (and this person) did the announcements over the PA in middle school. So if that doesn't give me nerd/geek cred on reddit: nothing will!

Where did "EAGLE!!!!!" come from??? Also: you rock.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined this would become so popular. I was once in Israel in the middle of nowhere and this beautiful Israeli girl came up to me and said "Eagle?" like she was asking a question. So bizarre. Brendon Frasier was swinging me around and I thought it would be funny if JD couldn't help but enjoy it. He felt free like an Eagle. Made me laugh. Guess it made some others laugh too. Eaaaaagllleeeee!

It sounds like he had a stroke or heart attack while climbing beaches, and fell to his death screaming eagle...

This is why I love this site when it's good, you don't know whether to cry or laugh. So sometimes you do both.

[No question]

974 downvotes? Tough crowd!

Nothing personal. Redditors even downvote kittens.

Okay. As long as they do it to kittens too...

Welcome to reddit, Zach.

Like a beautiful Jewish Goddess.

What is a Never Nude convention really like? What goes on/is discussed?

So honored to be a never nude. We basically share thoughts on chafing, how best to deal with jean short fringe.

Reappearance in the Arrested Development movie?

I would love to if they ask me. But don't know if my one episode role will be worked in to the movie. :)

can you publically share your music playlist?

I do little by little on facebook and twitter.

How much planning went into this proposal, ?

Ha. This is so awesome. Everyone who loves Scrubs should see this. I was really nervous!!!

I've heard you were in Phi Kappa Psi when you were in college, do you ever associate with them any more? If not, why not?

I am currently a brother of Phi Psi at NJ epsilon. (Rowan University)

I had a lot of fun there as a freshman and sophomore at Northwestern. But I think by the time I was a junior it was less fun for me. But I LOVED it while I was in.

If you had a chance to be a guest star on any current tv show, which one would you pick, and why?

Maybe Zooey D's new show, cause i love her. I also like Mad Men.

What's your opinion on this picture? (NSFW).

There is a chance this is the greatest thing I've ever seen. Forwarding to my gf right now.

My opinion is that it is the ideal woman.



Yes. Rob is really that guy. I had to tell him to chill the fuck out.

Wait, so you and Donald Faison are actually best friends, and The Todd's high fives are actually painful? Was the show just the result of putting all of you in a hospital and filming what happened?

There came a point when the characters and the people playing them kind of merged. Only Ken Jenkins who played Dr. Kelso is unlike his role. Nicest guy on the planet.

That's excellent to hear. Does John C. McGinley really hate Hugh Jackman, then?

Dude... he's Wolverine. No one really hates Wolverine.

When you got punk'd, did you punch that kid for painting on your car? Because I'm pretty good friends with him and when he tells the story he said you were (very reasonably) pissed.

I punched him in the stomach (as I recall). Who amongst you wouldn't have? They edited it out though. You're not allowed to punch little kids on MTV. Lame.

What happened to Rowdy?

They promised me Rowdy, but then some executive henchman came and took him and put him in a storage closet. One day, I'll get him back.... one day... I should make a short film where me and Donald try to break into the studio to steal Rowdy back.

Did you, in fact, tell all over Donald's face?

HA! not yet. Gotta wait till I get to LA. Then the telling will happen all over him.

How much shit did you give Donald for Homie spumoni?

You just reminded me. I have to do much more of this. Thanks.

Zach Braff, Thank you for creating Garden State, it is truly an incredible film.


Go call Dan Harmon, tell him you want to do a guest spot on Community. NOW.

BTW, 2 of our best Scrubs writers are the head writers of that show.

What do you have to say about this?

I guess I kind of see it. I also get Dax Shepard a lot. I think we could be cousins...

[No question]

I have to go to set now. I will try to finish answering these later. Thank you all for supporting me so much over the years. Please follow me on twitter and facebook so I can continue to try to entertain you. xoxo zb

Is it true you were incredibly drunk filming this scene? Any other drunken appearances?

I wasn't drunk, but Donald and I had been up partying all night. So I was sooooooo hungover. One of those times when you can't leave bed... I had to act like Fonzie.

I thought your cameo role on Arrested Development was hilarious. How did you find your way to that part?

Just loved that show. Let them know I'd do anything to be a part of it.

What do you think of the Zach Braff Quotes meme, and had you seen it before?

edit: I'm really mad this didn't get asked earlier by someone else. I've been wanting to know what he thought of the meme since I first saw it.

What can I say? I think it's horrible. Wish I wasn't the one chosen for this. It would be one thing if it was funny; I can laugh at myself. But I think it is crass and tasteless.

Zach Braff! One time I was at a club in Vegas and you and Donald walked in. My friend was super excited so she danced her way over to you and grabbed your ass. Apparently she grabbed you pretty hard. Then she took off running.

I don't really have a question, I just wanted to apologize for my friend. She's a silly woman.

Ass cheek still hurts.

Why would you put a penny in the door?

I don't think he ever put the penny in the door. (But I don't know what Bill really thought.)

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Zach Braff conducted on Reddit on 2011-09-27. The Reddit AMA can be found here.