‘Scrubs’ Star Zach Braff Wows U. of Florida Fans

By Virginia Breen

Mar 3, 2009 12:33pm

ABC News On Campus reporter Alyssa LaRenzie blogs: Zach Braff really lights up a room. Walking onto the stage, he throws up his hands to a sold-out crowd, then turns around to show off his rear end to the hundreds of flashing cameras. He requests that the lights in the University of Florida’s Curtis M. Phillips Center be turned up so he can see his cheering and adoring fans. Dim blue lighting, two square wooden chairs and two water bottles look small in the center of a large stage. I half expect James Lipton from "Inside the Actors Studio" to take the stage at any moment.
Instead, master lecturer Mike Foley sits across from THE Zach Braff. Foley interviewed Diablo Cody and mentioned to my class that he had become one of her few Facebook friends. The interview starts: "Zachary Israel Braff. Are you Jewish?" Foley begins. Cursing, jokes, laughter and sign language fill the hour. Braff tries to get the sign language interpreter to sign a series of obscenities. He then mentions that he’d love to have an interpreter follow him around for a day and watch everything that he says get signed. The notion sounds like a J.D. dream sequence on "Scrubs." In fact, having watched the show, Braff reminds me of J.D. — and not just because they look identical.
Braff sits with legs crossed in his chair, like J.D. would. He cracks jokes at first, and then gets to the serious answers, like the ending of a "Scrubs" episode. And J.D.’s best friend Turk on "Scrubs" is one of Braff’s closest friends. "I have a guest house that’s called ‘Brown Bear Cabin,’" he said, in reference to Turk’s nickname on the show. During the student question portion, many ask Braff about "Scrubs," one requests he sing "Guy Love" and another wonders whether he drinks appletinis in real life. (He doesn’t.) Braff welcomes "Scrubs" questions because the show, which will end May 6, lasted eight years, for which he is grateful. "Not only was I so blessed to have the job," he says, "but there was ultimate freedom for me to be creative and improvise and eventually start directing the show myself." The 25-minute interview focuses more on the life and times of Zach Braff than the student questions do. Foley asks him about entering into film, conquering his fear of flying and having Sharpie marker obscenities written on his forehead. After an hour, Braff thanks everyone for coming to see him with a degree of modesty that I don’t expect. He says he feels touched that so many people waited in line just to see him. "I’m shocked to see this many people here," he says. "It means a lot to me."

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