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Neil Patrick Harris on Betty White: "I’m Getting Physically Aroused"

Neil Patrick Harris Mathew Imaging/Getty Images

Neil Patrick Harris has some pretty big shoes to fill when he hosts the Tony Awards Sunday. His recent predecessors include Hugh Jackman and Whoopi Goldberg.

I caught up with Harris earlier today in New York City, so read on to find out what advice Jackman just gave him, why Twilight should be at the Tonys and the latest on Betty White's possible appearance on How I Met Your Mother.

Hi Neil, how are you?
Not too shabby, sir. It's hard to complain when you're hosting the Tonys. How did this happen?

Well, that's my first question for you: How did it happen?
I think the TV Land Awards were successful, and I'm suddenly hosting big awards shows now. Being on a CBS show concurrently probably doesn't hurt me.

That is true. So, you've got to get on an ABC show so you can host the Oscars.
[Laughs.] Maybe someday.

Have you spoken to Hugh or Whoopi?
I spoke to Hugh just yesterday, and he was lovely. He had all the confidence in the world for things to go swell. And the few pointers that he gave me I hadn't even contemplated. And Whoopi, I'm seeing on The View on Thursday, so I'm going to pick her brain on the air.

What were Hugh's pointers?
The one thing Hugh said is that commercial breaks are longer on the Tonys than on other awards shows, so [you have] to keep the audience's attention at Radio City. He stayed out and had banter with them during the commercial breaks to keep them engaged, which I had never even thought about, but is a very smart idea.

So, you're going to do that?
Yeah, I'll keep doing my Hugh Jackman impression.

Will you take your shirt off?
Uh, does he do that? Is that his thing?

It seems like he does that a lot. Maybe not at the Tonys, but...
I don't know, but I think there could be a lot of jokes here.

I've gotta ask, will Twilight be a part of the Tonys?
Aren't they a part of everything? Twilight has taken over. We should be so lucky. If we could get just one of the Twilight castmates to even walk across the stage, I think we'd double our viewership.

You know one day they'll probably do a Twilight musical. That will happen.
I'm sure it will—they're doing Spider-Man the Musical.

OK, a Broadway producer comes to you and says, you could do any show you want. What's your dream show?
Barnum. I'm still too young, but I hope that Cirque du Soleil gets the idea to do Barnum with me, but not for another six years.

Now I gotta ask you about How I Met Your Mother. You know we've been running the stories about you wanting Betty White as one of Barney's next conquests. And now Betty recently told us she wants to do it, and she wants to be the one who comes onto you.
I mean, I'm getting physically aroused that you're telling me this. I don't know what to say. I'm at a loss for words and need a few minutes to myself.

And I'm turning red for some reason.
I love it. I know that everyone at How I Met Your Mother is a huge fan of Betty's, but I feel like I've turned this into a bigger story, and I don't know if it could ever meet my expectations. Well, that's not true. There's one way that Betty White could meet my expectations.

Wow, your voice just got deeper and there's a visual in my head now with you and Betty.
You and me both.

Who are you looking forward to seeing perform at the Tonys? Dolly Parton, Elton John, Liza Minnelli...
I think it's hilarious that in the same show, Dolly Parton is performing with Liza Minnelli and Poison with Brett Michaels. If this is not an eclectic Tonys, I don't know what is.

Nicole Kidman and Anne Hathaway will be there on Sunday, too. Are you going to ask them to be on How I Met Your Mother?
We should be so lucky. I do know that Nicole Kidman was nude for a big part of a Broadway season—that could help boost our ratings!

(The Tony Awards will air live on CBS from Radio City Music Hall Sunday at 8 p.m.)

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Follow Marc on Twitter @marcmalkin

 

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