Already have an account?
Get back to the

Neil Flynn: Catch Up With the Talented and Beloved ‘Scrubs’ Janitor!

Why he’s grateful for the way things turned out.

Neil Flynn, a versatile actor known for his memorable roles on both the big and small screens, has carved out a distinguished career in Hollywood. From his humble beginnings to his remarkable success, Flynn’s journey is one of determination, talent and unwavering commitment to his craft.

Looking back on his career, Flynn is grateful for all the success he’s had. He says, “I’ve been at it for a long time, and it eventually paid off more than I could have expected. I guess I was eventually let into the party and just refused to leave.”

MUST READ: ‘Scrubs’ Cast: See The Sacred Heart Hospital Crew Today!

The early career of Neil Flynn

Flynn, a Chicago, Illinois, native, first came on to the entertainment scene in the 1980 and 90s. He had small bit parts in several movies including Magnolia, The Fugitive, Mean Girls (he plays Lindsay Lohan’s character’s dad, Chip Heron), Rookie of the Year, and Home Alone 3.  He was also the voice of XR in the TV series Buzz Lightyear of Star Command from 2000-2001.

Niel Flynn in 'Mean Girls' (2004)
Niel Flynn in ‘Mean Girls’ (2004) Pictures

MUST READ: ‘Mean Girls’ Trivia: 12 Fun Facts About the Ultimate ’00s Teen Comedy

Then in 2001 he landed his career-defining role as the Janitor in the hit show Scrubs, starring opposite comedic talents like Zach Braff, Donald Faison and Sarah Chalke.  

The wildly successful show followed intern John “J.D.” Dorian (Zach Braff) who worked at Sacred Heart Hospital, as he learned the ways of medicine, friendship and life. Flynn played the janitor, a mysterious and often antagonistic member of the hospital staff who frequently torments J.D.

The 'Scrubs' cast (2002)

Flynn said, “I learned the ropes on Scrubs. I was lucky to be along for that ride; I came out of that with the confidence of knowing how a TV show runs and what’s expected of an actor.” Portraying the enigmatic and mysterious janitor, Flynn became a fan favorite and a staple of the show’s comedic ensemble.

Neil Flynn in 'Scrubs' (2009)
Neil Flynn in ‘Scrubs’ (2009)

Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence knew how funny Flynn could be so it wasn’t uncommon for the script notes to include: JANITOR: Hey, Neil, say something funny. Flynn was then allowed to ad lib what he thought was best. And it almost always landed a laugh.

Life after Scrubs

After his successful Scrubs career, Fynn landed a role in the TV series The Middle, which ran from 2009 to 2018. The series follows the dysfunctional lives of the Hecks — a middle-class, middle-America family — from the fictional town of Orson, Indiana. Flynn plays the role of Mike the stoic husband/father that struggle to make the ends meet. The devoted Colts fan tends to keep to himself and hardly ever smiles, but audiences start to see his soft side throughout the series.

Fynn quickly became a fan favorite on the show. He said his role in The Middle was opposite that of his Scrubs character, saying “The characters were quite different. I was a down-to-earth man of few words on The Middle and the janitor could do or say virtually anything and it would fit the character. I also learned quickly that the other actors on Scrubs had been committing a lot more of their lives to be on set than I had as the janitor. With a bigger part comes many, many more hours at work. But I was 100 percent happy to be there; I welcomed the weightier part.”

MUST READ: The Middle’ Cast: Find Out What the Hecks Have Been Up To 

Neil Flynn and Patricia Heaton in 'The Middle'
Neil Flynn and Patricia Heaton in ‘The Middle’ (2017)

Many critics view The Middle as one of the most under-rated comedy shows. It’s a show that’s very relatable, no matter where you live. Flynn mentioned in an interview that The Middle did extremely well in New Zealand saying, “I think that tells you that families aren’t that different. I mean, you have your outliers, but the bulk of ’em? I think it doesn’t matter where you live in the United States or where you live in the world: A family’s a family. And I think this show reflects that well.”

Flynn says that while he may be recognized on the streets, it’s not always for the right show. He tells the story of someone on the street asking him if he’s the guy on TV, the guy from Malcolm In The Middle.I still get that a lot. Or sometimes they’ll just say, ‘Hey, you’re on In The Middle!’ But whatever. I guess as long as they’re watching us, it doesn’t matter what they call us.”

'The Middle' cast (2013)
‘The Middle’ cast (2013)

After The Middle, Flynn joined the cast of the Abby’s. Of his decision to join the cast, Flynn said, “I looked at the pedigrees of the producers and writers and was impressed by what they had done. These guys have worked on some quality television, so I wanted to join up and see what we could do.” Unfortunately, the series was canceled after one season.

However, he continued acting. He went on to play the voice of Vorlauf in the podcast series Carcerem in 2020-2021. Since then, he has had guest appearances in TV shows including Lopez vs. Lopez and Shrinking as well as voice overs in shows like Chicago Party Aunt, Clone High and the movie The Santa Clauses.  

We can’t wait to see where he ends up next.

Click here for more entertainment!

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.