Donald Faison is not a doctor, even if it seems like he should be after playing Dr. Christopher Turk on Scrubs for some nine seasons.
What he is, though, is the star of The Exes, which just began its fourth season on TV Land (Wednesdays, 10:30 p.m. ET) and features fellow sitcom vets Wayne Knight (Seinfeld), Kristen Johnston (Third Rock from the Sun) and Leah Remini (The King of Queens).
We caught up with Faison to talk—rather candidly—about the show, going on a pregnancy diet(!) and being recognized as “black Scrubs.”
“I want to be around well into my son’s 30s and 40s. So what if I’m 80? I want to be there.”
The fourth season of The Exes just started on TV Land. You pumped?
I’m very excited about it. This year there are a few things that happen. Leah Remini is back, which is great. Anytime you have Leah Remini on your show, that’s a good thing. The rest of the cast is back as well. Kristen Johnston, myself, David Alan Basche, Kelly Stables, Wayne Knight. We’re all back. And at the end of the year there’ll be a wedding. So somebody might not be an ex at the end of the year.
Yeah. Not that that person’s getting written off the show or anything like that. But there’s gonna be some changes.
What do you get the most comments about when you’re out walking around? Scrubs? Clueless? The Exes?
You know, I was just in the elevator, and somebody—actually, a young person—was like, “I know you from somewhere. You’re on that show The Exes!” And that was a shocker, you know? TV Land isn’t necessarily known for having the youngest of viewers, and to have a young viewer say that felt good. And I just so happened to be surrounded by a few people that work for TV Land, and I know that made them feel good as well. But for the most part I get, “Yo, it’s black Scrubs!” Or “Hey, it’s the dude from Clueless!”
All those years spouting medical jargon, do you feel like you’re a half doctor at this point?
No, there’s no way. I don’t feel like I’m anywhere near a doctor. If something’s going down and you need some type of medical attention, you should call the hospital. Do not think that I can help, you know? Because I can’t.
Have you ever been in a situation where someone needed a doctor and they looked at you like, “Step in here and do some surgery?”
No. Thank goodness, no. Because I would tell that person: “You’re going to die. Sorry. I can’t do nothing to save you!”
You turned 40 recently. Is it harder to stay fit at this age?
Turning 40 came with the belief that I can never be ripped again. I’m going to try to defy that belief, but it’s going to take some hard work. My wife’s having a baby right now—not at this moment—so at first I was like, “I don’t care, we’re having a baby, so let’s just eat!” And she was like, “No, we need to do this pregnancy diet.”
What does the pregnancy diet consist of?
It includes not a lot of coffee, very little carbohydrates, like no bread and stuff like that. If you’re going to have a carbohydrate, it should be a vegetable. Good proteins, a lot of water, very little sugar. And right now I’m probably the heaviest I’ve ever been, so I think I’m going to try it. At 40 you gotta change everything because you start to see the difference. I used to eat whatever I wanted and wouldn’t gain a pound. And right now, that is not so.
When you do work out, what’s your typical fitness routine?
Normally I work out five times a week, usually some type of MMA fitness workout. So I’ll hit the mitts, I’ll use kettlebells, kick a pad for a while, throw the medicine ball against a wall, throw it up in the air. And then roll around with dudes, to wrestle and grapple and try to submit somebody. Right now, when I look down, all I see is stomach. When I was doing that, I had a six-pack. I feel like I can do it again. It was only two years ago. We’ll see what’s up.
So you were doing MMA type stuff five times a week?
I was trying to get in shape for this movie Kick-Ass 2. And so I did it every day for four or five months. And then when the movie was done, I continued doing it for a while. And then I just got burnt out and took a break, and the break was so long [laughs], and now I look in the mirror and I’m like, I don’t even recognize me, man. Who are you?
Do you have any specific tips or things you’ve learned to avoid?
Yeah. You can’t drink booze. You kinda gotta throw that out the window. Especially the darker liquors. You know what I’m saying? You drink a glass of Scotch and you’re drinking a crap-ton of calories. But what I’ve really noticed is that water is key. You gotta drink a lot of water.
When’s your wife due?
She’s due in April.
And you two already have a child together, right?
That probably makes working out and eating right even more difficult.
I don’t want to blame my kid for me being a chubby guy right now, you know what I mean? But I don’t think about what I’m putting in my body right now. I think about mostly what I’m putting in his body. But I think I need to lead by example now. Show him what it looks like.
Yeah, you gotta get fit for him.
I want to be around well into his 30s and 40s. So what if I’m 80? I want to be there.
Got any final words of wisdom?
I think Tom Hanks’ character in A League of Their Own said it best: “Avoid the clap.”