Working in Los Angeles on the new TV Land sitcom "The Exes" means David Alan Basche commutes from his home in New York but is mindful of the energy that requires. "When I buy the airline tickets I buy the carbon offsets," says Basche, and that's only one way he's eco-conscious. "About five years ago, my wife and I bought an abandoned building in Harlem, a crack house, and we cleaned it out and renovated it and now it's green, top to bottom," he says of the brownstone, where Basche lives with his wife Alysia (who often blogs about green living) and daughter Livia, who turns 3 on Dec. 5. "Her crib is made from sustainably harvested wood with non-toxic finishes and she has 100 percent organic cotton sheets and pillowcases. She's out of diapers but when she was in them they were biodegradable, Nature Baby Care. We considered using cloth, but it takes so much water to wash them and bleach," says Basche. "We're going to put solar panels on our house this year. I think we can fit eight or nine" on the roof, he adds.
Basche also minds his water usage, turning off the tap when he shaves, and he insists that he receives no hard-copy scripts by courier or FedEx. "They e-mail me everything," says the actor, who has been a green influence on the set of "The Exes." "The recycling containers were way off in the corner where you'd never find them so I dragged them to the center of the set and told everybody, 'Pay attention to these.' I'm trying to convince them to do a Sparkletts or Poland Spring thing where everyone refills their own cups. And coffee too — everybody goes through so many cups. I think that's a gift I'm going to get everybody on the set, a mug with their name on it so that way they don't have to waste the paper."
He also pitched an idea to the producers about adding recycling references to the storyline, especially since being conservation-conscious is very much in line with his character, Stuart, one of three divorced roommates brought together by their divorce lawyer (Kristen Johnston). "He's a little naïve, a little overeager, a little obsessive, very neat. I have to admit I have a lot of that in me, but I like his positivity," says Basche, who suggested that in an episode Stuart could be "mortally wounded when Phil (Donald Faison) comes home with a Styrofoam cup, and explains how bad it is. I'm not here to preach, but I like the idea of it," says Basche, who recalls a collegiate living-with-guys situation. "There were four of us in one room. Literally it was the 'Odd Couple' gone haywire. I was Felix. I was cleaning up after them constantly, trying to get them to eat something besides pizza."
He was eager to do a sitcom again, especially one in the multi-camera, live audience format that reminded him of some of his favorite classic comedies that now run on TV Land. "If you're a theater actor, and that's where I started, it's like you get to do a new play every week," says Basche, known for his roles on TV in "Lipstick Jungle" and "The Starter Wife," as well as the films "United 93," "War of the Worlds" and more recently "The Adjustment Bureau" and "Real Steel," in which he played the fight announcer.
"The Exes" premieres Nov. 30 on TV Land following the third season premiere of "Hot in Cleveland."
Photo courtesy TV Land