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EXCLUSIVE Interview with Scott Krinsky, Who Plays Jeff Barnes on CHUCK

Mike Vicic - January 27, 2012




Just in time for the series finale of CHUCK! Scott Krinsky, who plays fan-favorite Jeff Barnes, took some time to answer 17 questions in this exclusive interview with TV Tango. Krinsky reminisced about the last day on the CHUCK set, dished about his character's past, present and future, and laughed about the idea of competing as Jeffster on THE AMAZING RACE.



NBC airs the two-hour series finale of CHUCK on Friday, January 27, 2012 at 8pm ET/PT. Krinsky teases, "I'm really excited for the finale. I think fans will be really satisfied."


TV Tango: When did you find out that Jeff's behavior was partly driven by carbon-monoxide poisoning rather than substance abuse?

Scott Krinsky: That was like episode 3 [of the current season], I believe. I think I found out fairly quickly when we were going to begin shooting the season. [CHUCK co-creator and executive producer] Chris Fedak told me that my character was going to have a change in his character. So I kind of knew going into the season that something was going to happen -- I didn't know exactly what episode it was going to happen and how long it was going to last. He did alert me to the fact that Jeff was going to come-to a little bit and actually get some clarity.

I thought it was brilliant. Really, really funny. I thought it was interesting too because everyone's always referring to Jeff and his substance abuse and his pills and the alcohol, but it turns out it was just the carbon monoxide poisoning. I think he handles those things [alcohol & pills] in moderation, but the clarity of mind -- staying away from the carbon monoxide -- has helped him clean up the rest of his act as well.

TV Tango: Do you think Jeff would completely give up alchohol with his newfound clarity?

Scott Krinsky: I don't. I don't think alcohol is an issue for him. I don't think he needs to rely on those substances. His mind is a lot more clear now.

TV Tango: What was Jeff's childhood like? Have the writers or creators told you anything?

Scott Krinsky: We know my mother's in jail. My parents aren't together anymore. We know his sister; she's a stripper.


We never got into his childhood. I could only imagine it might have started off with a bit of stability when he was younger, and it just got a little crazy -- his mother got herself in jail. I could only imagine what led to that.

TV Tango: If Jeff lives in a van, why, at least according to Wikipedia, does he carry a card with the address "1629 Handley Avenue"? Who lives there?

Scott Krinsky: Well, he has a home, but he stays in his van a lot. His van is like his fort. He likes to sleep in his van. It's like his man cave. It's his crib on wheels because he's out and about.

TV Tango: When you wrapped production, what was the last day on set like?

Scott Krinsky: It was sad; it was bittersweet. At the same time, it was another day at work. It was hard to let it sink in that it was the last day. You're going about shooting and the day seems normal in that sense, but it was sort of hard to grasp that it was the end.


When we got near to that last scene -- I wasn't actually working that day, but we were all there. We spent the whole night on set or in the trailers, hanging out and reminiscing. It was a great day -- sort of a last day of bonding with everybody. As good as it could have been, sharing stories and being all together.

TV Tango: What was the best story from that last night on set that you would like to share with fans?

Scott Krinsky: It was really great sort of remembering the beginning. That day at lunch we watched the pilot. It was just interesting to look back and sort of see the way we looked and to see how far the show has come. To see how the story travelled. To see Lester [Vic Sahay] and watching our first scene in the pilot. There was such a chemistry there with everybody -- with all the characters. That charm, it was all right there in that first episode.

I think that's kind of rare for TV, for the pilot to have it all right there in the first episode. When I think of some of my favorite shows or shows that haven't made it, I realize how lucky we were to have it all right there in that first episode.    

TV Tango: What was your favorite episode of this season?

Scott Krinsky: I really loved the "Chuck Versus the Frosted Tips" episode, where Jeff had that first day of clarity after Dr. Awesome diagnosed him.  That was great because I sort of got to play old Jeff and new Jeff all in the same episode.


TV Tango: Better than the "Tom Sawyer" episode that you used to identify as your favorite episode of the entire series?

Scott Krinsky: I think it would be up there. It would definitely be the runner-up episode. They're both so different. That was a whole other side of Jeff. That was his teenage years. It's hard to pick one; they're both up there in my favorite episodes.

TV Tango: What was your favorite Jeffster performance?

Scott Krinsky: I always think back to the first time we did it with Toto: "Africa." Just because that was a special episode as well for Jeff and Lester and their relationship. Just that it was the first time we did Jeffster. I kind of always think back to that one.


After that, I really liked when we did "Mr. Roboto" at the wedding.

TV Tango: What was this year's Chuckfest like?

Scott Krinsky: It was great. It's always incredible just to meet our fans because they are the reason we were able to stick it out so long. I always love the opportunity with Chuckfest and Comic-Con to meet the fans in person.

TV Tango: Do you think Chuckfest will continue?

Scott Krinsky: I don't know. I don't know what the plans are of the people who organize it, but I would have no problem. I think it would be great to have some sort of Chuckfest, and mabye we'll have new fans as well. Hopefully when CHUCK goes into syndication, we'll have new fans. I'm excited for the people who have yet to discover the show. Obviously, we didn't always kill it in the ratings so there's a big audience out there for CHUCK still awaiting.

TV Tango: When fans see you on the street, what do they say to you?

Scott Krinsky: Usually, it's "Jeffster." It's not "Jeff." [Laughs] We've sort of become one over the years.

TV Tango: What do you have lined up for 2012 [as of mid-December 2011]?

Scott Krinsky: We just wrapped and then, of course, with the holidays so close, things have kind of slowed down. I'm starting to read some TV pilots. It's sort of wide open, which is back to the adventure of being an actor and not knowing what's going to be next.


I feel so good about what we did with CHUCK and how long we were able to do it. You feel such a great sense of accomplishment, it sort of does make it easier to be open to whatever is next.

TV Tango: Besides CHUCK, what's on your DVR?


TV Tango: Speaking of LOUIE -- and since you have a background as a standup comic -- what are your thoughts of what Louis CK did by selling his comedy special online for $5 per download?

Scott Krinsky: I think it's great. I love the idea of how he just did all that on his own -- how he writes it, shapes it. It's inspiring for any artist, what he's accomplished.


LOUIE is just brilliant -- it's drama, it's comedy, it's everything. It's so truthful; I think that's why it hits home with so many people.

TV Tango: If you could pick one show, which reality competition series would you choose?

Scott Krinsky: Probably THE AMAZING RACE. Just to get to travel around the world.


TV Tango: Would you go as Jeffster?

Scott Krinsky: [Laughing] That would be like the Odd Couple on THE AMAZING RACE. We have fans all over the world. We could make appearances and have them cheer us on.

TV Tango: Who would you take?

Scott Krinsky: [Still laughing] I don't know, who's game? That's a big adventure. I don't know who I would take. "Who'd want to go?" is a better question.

Want to read more about Scott? Check out his recent interviews with other sites: