Catching Up With Neil Patrick Harris

9.28.2009

By Shana Naomi Krochmal

Neil Patrick Harris may have lost the Emmy award for best supporting actor, but with a boost in ratings and critical raves for his gig hosting the award show, the funny guy and former Out cover boy is obviously winning at life. We snagged a few minutes for a quick catch-up last week.

Out: Your opening number at the Emmys had a great bit about preferring Mad Men's Jon Hamm to buxom Christina Hendricks.
Neil Patrick Harris: I didn't talk at all to Jon Hamm because I was trying to get a good reaction. They originally were going to have a shot on Christina and then another camera on Jon to cut to him. But I said, as soon as Jon sees the camera he's going to know there's something up. So we planted her behind him and just slid to him for his actual reaction.

You didn't talk to him after?
I didn't see him. He's such a cool guy.

Are there any award shows left for you to host?
They asked me to be a part of the Game Show Awards and I was very excited about that. But it was right after the Tonys and -- well, I was told it was not a good move.

What's your favorite game show?
Right now? Survivor. That Jeff Probst -- he's one classy bloke.

What's your all time favorite?
Match Game.

What's next for you?
I'll be knee-deep in How I Met Your Mother. Hopefully not in the throes of hosting another show.

You say that, but I don't believe you.
They were incrementally smaller award shows that I was hosting up until the Tonys. And then after the Tonys you had to be more cognizant of the exposure of it. I strongly considered not doing the Emmys because it was two in a row so fast.

Was one more fun than the other?
They were totally different. The Tonys was Radio City Music Hall and lots of big production numbers all one after another. The Emmys was every person on TV smashed into the same room. You had to try to hold everyone's attention, and they're all such radically different people. The Entourage kids are so different from the So You Think You Can Dance-rs. But they're sitting right next to each other.

Do you feel like a party host, trying to keep everyone happy?
I'm host-ish in my regular world. When friends come over and we play games, I'm the best one to explain Mafia and organize groups into teams. I end up taking on that role. I feel like the camp counselor at times. "Everyone, everyone? Focus! Team A will be in this room, Team B will be in that room. We'll start when I say go!" I'm that guy.

Have you been watching Glee? That seems like a show you should be on.
I watched the pilot. I liked that. I think it's a very funny show. Show choir always made me laugh, just because of the bleachers and the synchronized hand motions. I don't know what student's parents tells all those show choir kids to do the big smiles and the head snaps. I think that's counter-productive.

How was being a guest judge for American Idol auditions?
Fun. It's a big, number one, katrillion people-watched show, and so you have to take that into account when someone's singing. Like I would normally tell someone that they're much better, if they just came up to me and tapped me on the shoulder and sang a song. But when you're looking at it in the context of what they're going to be going through, you have to be much more critical.

Were there a lot of kids working their Adam Lambert vibe?
No, there were a lot of girls that were trying to be like those pop girl musicians with that warble in their voices, like Amy Winehouse. There were a lot of people trying to sing like Adele, which is cute for one song but then you just can't imagine how they would do week after week.

Are you going to the big march on Washington?
Oh, no, I'm not. I won't be there. I support it. But I'll be filming.

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