Neil Patrick Harris

He knows a thing or two about human anatomy

Illustration: Rob Kelly

Four years back, the name Neil Patrick Harris was synonymous with a certain teenage television doctor. But ever since he parodied himself as a drug-addled womanizer in the proudly dumb 2004 comedy Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, the 34-year-old openly gay actor has (finally) left Doogie Howser in the dust. Not only is his smarmy ladies' man, Barney, the best thing about CBS's hit sitcom How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM), but he's now reprising the role that made him famous—again—in Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. He called us to chat about all things Neil Patrick Harris, including the poster for the movie that asks, "What would NPH do?"

So, what would Neil Patrick Harris do?
Is crack cocaine too hard-core an answer? I want to come up with something really funny here and I can't decide between crack cocaine and Paris Hilton.

Did you ever imagine that the Neil Patrick Harris renaissance would begin with a stoner comedy?
I never thought that snorting coke off the ass of a stripper would reinvent my career so well, no.

What's the fake version of you up to in the sequel?
Different hallucinogen, same NPH. It's mushrooms now. And instead of a strip club, it's a whorehouse—run by, of all people, Beverly D'Angelo. She's got big, giant breasts in the film. But her breasts are trumped by those of another woman whose professional name is Echo Valley. They could be the largest cans I've ever seen.

How many cans have you seen? You're gay!
I've seen quite a few cans. I've been backstage at Vegas shows. [Pauses] I like calling them cans. It's fun. Although it's absolutely inappropriate in every way—wrong shape, wrong texture. But cans sounds like something out of a Marx Brothers film.

Your Harold & Kumar catchphrase fur burgers? Not so much.
Seriously. Some kid, all of 11, came up to me and said, "Are you that dude from Harold & Kumar?" And I said, "I am." And he said, "Heh-heh—fur burgers!" But I was kind of proud of him. The little boy's growing up, and I'm happy to help with that.

Let's talk HIMYM. Are we ever going to find out how the mother was met?
We're hoping that enough time passes that you forget that was the original question.

Have you read the blog The Personal Journal of Doogie Howser, M.D.?
No. Is there one? Is it dark and wrong?

Here's a sample: "I know that I'm supposed to be the smart one, but when it comes to the art of friendship, Vinnie's a genius."
[Laughs] Oh, God. You're really asking me these questions now? Any other Doogie trivia you want to ask about?

Yes. But instead I'll ask: Can you grow facial hair?
I did an awkward telefilm where I was playing a real-life serial arsonist and I had to have a mustache—I don't grow a mustache so good. Then I did Proof on Broadway and had a beard and a mustache. That I did better.

By the way, I'm trying to introduce a term for creative facial hair: weards.
I'm trying to think of someone who has a weard. What about Dave Navarro?

He's the poster boy for the weard.
Because he embraces the weard. He could just have a regular beard, but he's choosing the weard.

Will you help me popularize it?
I'll talk to the staff of HIMYM and see if we can get a Barneyism out of it. I tried to do it once. Say, hypothetically, I was trying to come up with a synonym for a cashed bowl [of pot]. I thought, How about peanut? Here's my logic: It means absolutely nothing. I wanted to spread this so that later in my days someone randomly would take a pipe from me and say, "Dude, I think you gave me a peanut!" Then I'd know that it had gone full circle.

I'll spread peanut if you spread weard. I'll even promise not to ask another stupid Doogie question.

So, after you get the better of someone, do you say, "You just got Doogied!"?

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay is out Fri 25. HIMYM airs Mondays at 8:30pm on CBS.

See previous The Hot Seat