John Philip "Jack" McFarland is Will's best friend. He is also close friends with Grace and Karen. For most of the series, he is a struggling actor who jumps from work to work.


Jack was born in February 16th 1969 and was raised by Judith and Daniel McFarland. As a kid, he was babysat by Sissy.[1] Jack also mentions being an altar boy at Saint Margaret.[2]

Jack recalls that his father was discouraging and cruel to him growing up gay. Daniel once gave Jack a ball for his birthday, which he put under his shirt and told everyone he was pregnant with George Michael's baby.[3] According Jack, Daniel passed out when he came out to him, at which point he had to perform CPR.[4] Once as a kid, Jack set up a manicure stand at the end of the street and waited for his father to stop by but he never did.[5] He eventually finds out that Daniel is not his real father, but rather a man named Joe Black, whom his mother had anonymous sex with at a pool party[6].

Although openly gay to his friends, Jack never came out to his mother, fearing she will fall apart when she finds out, and even told her he and Grace used to date. He eventually admits this at Will's urging in Thanksgiving of 1999.[6]

During elementary school, Jack got teased a lot with bullies calling him "Jack McFairyland".[7] While in high school, he befriended Will Truman, a college freshman who was still in the closet. He encouraged Will to come out and embrace who he is, after which they became really close. Jack admits that he bribed the first guy who went out with Will. Jack later on confessed that he has feelings for Will, which he politely turned down.[8]

When Jack was 17, he donated some sperm to the New York Family Clinic to get money and buy a leather coat. He finds out 13 years later that a nurse working at the clinic, Bonnie took his sperm, hence becoming the biological father of Elliot.

Coming Out

Although Jack is open about his sexuality at the start of the series, his friends find out in "Homo for the Holidays" that he has not come out to his mother yet, and even told her that he and Grace were once a couple. After Will asks him the same question Jack asked him before he himself came out ("aren't you tired yet?"), he eventually comes out to Judith.

His mother later confesses that his real father is not Daniel but rather one of the one of the eleven Black brothers of New Canaan, Connecticut, who slept with her at a costume party in 1968. He writes a letter to all of them but soon finds out that his real father, Joe Black, is already dead.[9]


Jack has become famous for switching jobs frequently (every episode in the earlier seasons), while supporting his acting career. He has become a cabaret singer[10][11][12], cage dancer[13], cater waiter[14][15], backup dancer to Jennifer Lopez[16] and then to Janet Jackson[17], assistant to Grace[18], a candidate for the Manhattan Gay Men's Chorus[19], a sales clerk at Banana Republic[20] and Barney's New York[21], a student nurse[22], a surfer[22], a playwright[23], a novelist[24], a commercial[25] and theater actor[26], an acting teacher[27], a magician[28], a junior executive[29] at Out TV and a talk show host[30], before ultimately being cast as the lead in the crime drama The Badge as Chuck Rafferty, a straight hard-boiled detective[31]. As an actor he is mentored by Zandra before he himself becomes an acting teacher, teaching The McFarland Method. Starting season five, he also runs Jacques, a one-table café in the hallway outside his front door.

Jack has stated that he loves acting because of the attention and the applause.[15] Will, Karen and Judith support Jack while he jumps from career to career and until the first season, he doesn't pay taxes.[32]


Portrayed as a confident gay man, Jack has always had a passion for acting and the theater, although his friends frequently express doubt in his abilities. He later graduates from nursing school with flying colors but still expresses that acting is what he wants to do in life.[15]

Jack is also shown to be somewhat slow, that Will claims he could not count to ten,[33] and that he still labels his shoes "L" and "R".[34]

Strangely, Jack believes in gay rights but seemingly disdains heterosexual as well as lesbian relationships,[35] saying that "if God had intended man and woman to be together, he would've given them both penises".[36] According to Will he has the best gaydar in the tristate area.

On several episodes, Jack has shown a habit of expressing shock using famous celebrities with long names, such as "Holy Anne Heche Laffoon he's straight!" in "A Chorus Lie"), "Britney Spears Federline, a gym!" in "The Newlyweds", and "Billie Jean King! There are lezzies in this!" in "Girl Trouble".

Jack is also implied to be an animal lover, being the owner of Guapo even before the beginning of the series, Klaus Von Puppy since "The Truth About Will and Dogs", and in the fourth season, he and Karen bought Lamar, a horse who turned out to be gay.[37] In the eighth season, Jack donated enough money so two gay penguin will not be separated.[38]


Jack unashamedly adores all gay icons particularly Cher, of whom he has a rare doll. He meets her once in "Gypsies, Tramps and Weed", although he mistakes her for a drag queen and declares that he can "do a better Cher than [her]". Cher slaps him and leaves at which point Jack realizes who she is and faints. Cher reappears in Jack's dream as his personification of god.

Jack is also a big fan of pop culture and TV, which helped him in his job as an executive at Out TV. He is a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, particularly lesbian character Willow Rosenberg. He also collects clippings of celebrities' hair, including a complete collection from the four main actresses on The Golden Girls, as well as Broadway icons Bernadette Peters, Betty Buckley, Idina Menzel, and as of season seven, Patti LuPone. Jack is also an active stalker of actor Kevin Bacon. He, along with Grace, also loves figure skating and once even went out with Rudy Galindo.


Will Truman

Ep 06 01

Will became Jack's best friend shortly after he came out to Jack's persuasion to be true to himself. Will mentions Jack helping him through this period he considers the most difficult time in his life which he repays by supporting him for most of his adult life. Will however often criticizes Jack's promiscuity, loud personality and seemingly hopeless career.

Grace Adler

Grace and Jack became friends mainly because of Will. They initially expressed that they didn't have anything in common until they discovered they both love figure skating, Antiques Road Show ("Tea And A Total Lack Of Sympathy"), and gay porn ("New Will City") and they begin to bond. Along with Karen, Jack frequently makes fun of Grace's physical attributes as well as her wardrobe. By the start of season three, Grace and Jack had become really close which drove Will jealous.

Karen Walker

Jack meets Karen in the second episode of the first season and they immediately become best friends for the entirety of the series, their friendship even outlasting that of Will and Grace's. They are known for their cutesy repartee (Jack calling Karen "Kare" and her calling him "Poodle" and the exchange "Who's your daddy?" "You are.") Karen supports Jack financially, and frequently takes him on shopping excursions, which for him, is the main driving force of their friendship due to his shallow nature.

They also have a physical, borderline "sexual" relationship in which they consistently grope and make lewd remarks about each other. Although they have a lighthearted, comedic relationship, their friendship faces a few obstacles, such as when Jack divorces Rosario in the season two finale. When Karen is engaged to Lyle Finster in Fred Astaire and Ginger Chicken he is worried that once Karen is married, she won't have time for their friendship anymore (although they dismiss these concerns at the fear of becoming co-dependent like Will and Grace.) Both Jack and Karen are self-centered, which is the main cause of their sporadic rifts, but it is also serves as the common ground in their relationship.

Rosario Salazar

Rosario was married to Jack briefly as a favor for Karen who was desperate for Rosario to get a green card. They slept on the same bed at the maid's quarters at Karen's mansion.

Judith McFarland

Judith is Jack's mother.

Joe Black

Joe is Jack's biological father.

Daniel McFarland

Daniel is Jack's father who he later found out to be step-father. Jack recalls that he was cruel to him, growing up, describing him as "miserable" and "homophobic".


Rory is an unseen friend of Jack mentioned frequently in the earlier series.


Jack is known for his several various flings throughout the show. Most of them are mentioned but not shown, and Jack never seems to take any of them seriously or settle down with anyone for very long.


Walter dated Jack before "fooled around" with Will. After Jack found out about him and Will, he admits that Walter is the "love of his life" and how devastated he was when they broke up. To make it up to Jack, Will sets him up with Walter again but Jack admits he mistook Walter for somebody else and leaves immediately.


Mipanko is a guy who stayed with Jack at Will's in "Fear and Clothing". Mipanko's father also slept on the couch. Jack told him he's a Navy SEAL.


Rocco is a guy who dumped Jack and inspired him to start writing his novel To Weep and to Willow: A Harlequeen Romance, which Karen loved. After they got back together, Karen bribed Rocco to dump Jack again so he can continue his novel.[24]


Jack's longest relationship is with Stuart Lamarack, which lasts several months during the sixth season, until Jack cheats on Stuart.


Travis is guy from the cowboy bar Jack dated whom he says is "hottest guy [he's] ever gone out with". After Jack introduces him to Will, Travis hits on him, saying Jack is just an idiot and he is out of his league, which angered Will and caused a bar fight. Later, Will protects Jack's feelings by saying the fight was because Travis insulted him instead of Jack.[39]


  • Jack accidentally implied that he has a tattoo saying "I Love Will" he got because he was drunk.[40]
  • Jack collects locks of hair from Broadway icons to complete her Broadway diva wig.[41]
  • Jack attended acrylic nail school and jeweled acrylic nail school each for less than a week.[22]
  • Sean Hayes' piano skills are often utilized in Jack's performances in Just Jack, Jack 2000, Jack 2001 and others. Hayes is a classically trained pianist.
  • For his performance as Jack, Sean Hayes has been nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series consecutively from 2000 to 2006, winning the first time.


I find that the one thing that really makes people smile is my music... or my oddly long tongue. Your choice. — Bed, Bath, and Beyond

Does he have a gay brother? Or better yet, does he have a straight brother who drinks a lot? Field of Queens

Peter, Paul and Mary, you are fabulous! Meeting Karen for the first timeLove and Marriage

It's like all people see when they look at us are the supporting players on the Will & Grace show. On him and KarenThe Finale

Heterosexual marriage is just wrong [...] If God had intended man and woman to be together, he would've given them both penises. An Affair to Forget

I took an oath in front of God and my mother;
I'm here, I'm queer, get used to it!
The Buying Game

There are no straight men, only men who haven't met Jack. Girls, Interrupted

There's no shame in getting old. There's only shame in getting ugly. The Blonde Leading the Blind

Uh, excuse me. As Aretha said to Gloria, Celine, Shania, and Mariah during Divas Live... Are you trippin? No one interrupts the Queen of Soul, bitch. Ok? A Chorus Lie


  1. Women and Children First
  2. A.I.: Artificial Insemination
  3. Moveable Feast
  4. Alley Cats
  5. I Never Cheered for My Father
  6. 6.0 6.1 Homo for the Holidays
  7. I Never Promised You An Olive Garden
  8. Lows in the Mid-Eighties
  9. Sons and Lovers
  10. Between a Rock and Harlin's Place
  11. Grace 0, Jack 2000
  12. Last of the Really Odd Lovers
  13. Homojo
  14. To Serve and Disinfect
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Speechless
  16. I Do, Oh, No, You Di-in't
  17. Back Up, Dancer
  18. William, Tell
  19. A Chorus Lie
  20. Love Plus One
  21. Loose Lips Sink Relationships
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Nice In White Satin
  23. The Big Vent
  24. 24.0 24.1 An Old-Fashioned Piano Party
  25. Went to a Garden Potty
  26. A Buncha White Chicks Sittin' Around Talkin
  27. The Needle and the Omelet's Done
  28. Hocus Focus
  29. One Gay at a Time
  30. Kiss and Tell
  31. Whatever Happened to Baby Gin?
  32. Where There's a Will, There's No Way
  33. Courting Disaster
  34. The Definition of Marriage
  35. Girl Trouble
  36. An Affair To Forget
  37. Whoa, Nelly
  38. Birds of a Feather Boa
  39. Cowboys and Iranians
  40. Alive and Schticking
  41. Bully Woolley

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