Actor John C McGinley (Dr. Cox on Scrubs) Talks Life Lessons

Erik sits down with actor John C. McGinley from the long-running comedy series Scrubs and Stan Against Evil which recently launched its new season on IFC. You’ve also seen John in the acclaimed films Platoon, Wall Street and Office Space. Follow @JohnCMcGinley on Twitter.

  • 4:28 – John discusses his introduction to golf. John explains that growing up his father was a member at Baltusrol. Although John did not play golf as a child, he grew up caddying at this club. Erik responds to this by bringing up how Baltustrol got it’s name: through a murder.
  • 11:09 – John discusses when he decided he wanted to be an actor. John explains that as a sophomore in high school he first realized he wanted to be involved in storytelling. He went to Syracuse in hopes of being a sports broadcaster, this did not pan out. He ended up going to NYU and applying to their grad program while in undergrad, which helped kick off his career.
  • 16:54 – John explains why being an actor is not an ideal career path. John says that if you have another career option, do not be an actor. For most people, the constant rejection will be tough to deal with. If you get too good at dealing with rejection, you lose your loveliness. He says your ability to deal with rejection is not what makes you a great actor.
  • 19:48 – John explains his concept “Elvis Dust.” Something that actors bring into an audition, John says it cannot be fabricated.  He says, “it’s a combination of self-esteem, preparation, being in the right room at the right time, and luck.”  
  • 33:47 – Erik and John discuss his devotion to Down Syndrome Awareness. John discusses his involvement as an activist for those with Down Syndrome. John speaks passionately about the “spread the word to end the word” campaign, which aims to eliminate the casual use of the “R” word. His most sobering statement in this portion of the interview comes when he says “[The ‘R’ word] puts down a population that has never done anything to anybody, and is for the most part just trying to get through the day.” He says using the “R” word makes you a coward, as you are attacking a group who cannot fight back on their own.
  • 42:30 – John’s son Max (who has Down Syndrome) learned to speak Spanish through working at Starbucks. John explains that although he has spent thousands of dollars trying to help his son Max with his speech, the community at the Santa Monica Starbucks helped his son learn Spanish. While he is at work, he only speaks in Spanish to customers. He was able to learn through pure saturation and exposure to the language, and due to an accepting community.
  • 51:25 – John speaks on how having a child with special needs provides the opportunity to be good at something. John explains that most people just try to get by in their day to day life, not ruffle any feathers, and do a mediocre job. He states that when you have a child born with special needs, this behavior is unacceptable; you need to do greater. He presents this as an opportunity for both the parent and the child in the relationship to succeed.
  • 61:34 – John discusses his philosophy behind how he “minimizes the lie” in his job as an actor. For the remainder of the episode, John talks about how every role is really just a lie, and it’s the actor’s job to minimize the lie in order to make the role believable. He cites several interviews from Playboy, in which several famous actors (i.e. Dustin Hoffman) discuss how they are able to integrate their personality into a given role. John validates the points made in these interviews, and then goes on to discuss how he minimizes the lie in his own roles.