How I Met Your Mother, Neil  Patrick Harris

Cliff Lipson/CBS

Newsflash: Neil Patrick Harris is hilarious. And honest. And awesome. And apparently, unable to get on the set of his own show when Britney Spears is there!

This is just one of the genius pieces of info Neil just shared with me over the phone, as he dished about the latest happenings on How I Met Your Mother and "the kind of excitement there is on Stage 22 right now, mid-Britney." Read on for the legendary details...

Alyson Hannigan

Donato Sardella/

But before I get to that, I also just heard back from another HIMYM star we love, Alyson Hannigan, who tells me this about her new costar: “I have been quite impressed by Britney’s performance. The character she is playing is very sweet and endearing, which seems to come naturally to her. Not to mention, she has good comedic timing, which helps, given we’re a sitcom.”  

Good to hear, right? Now read on for Neil's take...


How's it been with Britney?
It's been great. We're required to wear wristbands all day. 

And what do the wristbands do?
It keeps meddling blogger friends from just strolling on to set to snap camera-phone pics.

Wait, are you being serious about the wristbands?
Yes. They have different wristbands every day, and it's like the ultimate after-party. I wasn't given a wristband, because I'm on the show, but then they swapped out security people and they wouldn't let me on the stage because I didn't have the proper wristband. 

Yes. We had words. I did eventually make it on set, because I just kept going through. But there were lots of "Hey, hey—I need to see your wristband," and I said, "Lady, I'm actually on the show, so I don't have a wristband." That's the kind of excitement there is on Stage 22 right now, mid-Britney.

Do you feel like this is gonna be a good thing for the show in terms of getting more eyeballs who possibly haven't seen it before?
It gets the name How I Met Your Mother out more, which I think is important, but it should be clear, and I hope you state this, Britney's camp came entirely to us with the idea of it, and in fact, we all thought it was a joke. It wasn't like CBS or How I Met Your Mother is trying to get ratings, and said who can we star-cast to get attention.

We were literally just filming last week and told, "You're not going to believe who just called and said they wanted to be on the show." That's sort of how it all went down. My only reservation about her being on the show at all is that it appears that we are desperate for ratings, and that's not the case, we're sort of in a good comedy groove. So, my only concern is one of appearance.

She's doing a good job, but on a situation comedy, if someone as unique as Britney Spears says they'd like to come and hang out on the show for a week, it's a hard thing to say no to, so now we just have to make sure that she's going to execute it well.

How is she in the role? 
She's been doing well. Surprisingly, no British accent.

We now know that Sarah Chalke is going to be coming on the show instead of Alicia Silverstone. Alicia might be coming on at a later date, but how did you feel about Sarah coming on?
Sarah's the perfect fit for the show. Josh Radnor has a real intellectual sensibility to his acting, and I think Sarah matches him step for step and beat for beat, so when we started our run-through yesterday, or started rehearsing, rather, it was like she'd never not been on the show. I hope and my fingers are crossed that Sarah manages to do more than one episode with us because she's just terrific.

And I'm sorry that Alicia's scheduling got changed around, but Josh has worked with her before, and I'm a fan of her, she's continuing to do interesting theater, like Mamet, and she's really working hard to make sure she's not a tabloid-fodder actress, so I hope that her time frees up in the future.

Does it feel good that all three of these women are obviously fans of the show and feel like it's a really solid show that they want to be a part of?
Definitely! We really believe in the show—we think it's really funny—so if other people, talented actresses, want to come on it, it just adds awareness and validity to the show. That's why I'm a little conscientious that all of our guest cast rises to the occasion and performs at the level that we all try to achieve. So I'm hoping that's the case this week as well.

And, you know, it opens up the dating pool for Barney, which is always a good thing.
Barney never needs for dates. He's got two of those real dolls, so he's fine. But I think people will be surprised [by this episode]. Our run-through was very solid. She really had an actual take on the role and surprised us all. I think it'll be a cool thing for her.

Do you think she's enjoying herself?
It's an interesting change of pace for her to be around a group of people that don't have an agenda with her or want to take her picture. I don't know how often she's just hung out with other actors and "normal" regular people, I hope she enjoys the experience.

How do you think Barney would handle having Britney on set? He likes to go for the ladies, so I would think that he would have the best chance with her of all the guys.
He'd definitely trump Osama Lutfi. Barney would out-Adnan Adnan. 

Neil, I love you. I should tell you, my husband's family is in Brazil, and they saw there was a video clip of us fake-frenching at the Emmys and they called my husband to let him know it appeared his wife was not being faithful, so there might be a rumor spreading around Brazil that you were making out with an E! reporter. Just FYI.
There are worse rumors. I've suffered through worse. 

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