Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Scrubs stars The Blanks shoot from the hip

The Blanks
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YOU may recognise them from a guest stint in the hit US show Cougar Town – when they jumped into bed with former Friends star Courtney Cox.

More likely, you will know them as the a cappella band who made frequent appearances in the medical sitcom Scrubs, led by regular character Ted Buckland.

Now California barbershop quartet The Blanks are taking the Fringe by storm.

“We’re having a ball in Edinburgh,” says singer Sam Lloyd, who played Buckland in eight seasons of Scrubs. “It’s our first time at the Fringe and it’s everything people said it would be.

“It’s pretty unique, this Fringe of yours, and you’d need to be a pretty strange person not to enjoy what’s going on here. It’s amazing and it’s definitely exceeded my expectations.

“I’ve heard about it for the past 25 or 30 years, because a lot of my friends have been out here before. But I think you have to experience it for yourself.”

So far, that experience has been a positive one for Lloyd and his band, whose show, The Blanks’ Big Break, has been playing to a packed room every night at the Gilded Balloon.

“The crowds have been great, and we’ve had standing ovations the last two nights, which is fantastic,” he says.

Over 55 minutes, The Blanks perform the songs that earned them cult status on Scrubs, including hilarious covers of Rihanna’s Only Girl (In The World) and Katy Perry’s 
Teenage Dream.

“If you like Scrubs, you’ll hear pretty much all the songs we did on the show. But even if you’re not a Scrubs follower you’ll still have a good time, because all the songs are recognisable and presented in a way that’s unique to The Blanks.”

Laughing, he adds, “We had heard that in some countries a cappella is considered torture, so we wanted to make a show that we’d really want to see as well – so it’s music but it’s also a lot of comedy. Actually, even the music has comedy.

“The show also has a little through-line with a lot of audience participation and a little plot to it, as ridiculous as it is.

“We like to say that people from five to 95 will enjoy our show... of course, if you’re 96, or four-and-a-half, you probably won’t.”

Explaining how he first landed the role of hapless lawyer Buckland in Scrubs, Lloyd says, “Basically, my agent sent me in on it. I walked in the door and they said, ‘My god, this guy is pathetic’. And I had the job. I didn’t even have to open my 
mouth.”

But The Blanks were together before finding worldwide stardom on Scrubs.

Lloyd explains, “I’d been playing Ted in the show for about a year as well as playing in the group in my spare time. Then, at the Scrubs Christmas party, I offered to bring along the band to sing a song.

“The producers thought we were terrible – but perfect for the show. That’s how it all began.

“I did around 100 episodes as Ted without the band, but the 20 I did with The Blanks are the only ones anyone ever seems to remember.”

• The Blanks’ Big Break, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 9.30pm, until August 26, £14 (£12); £12 (£9.50), 0131-226 0000