Neil Patrick Harris is one of Hollywood's funniest men, but also one of its most underrated. He became famous on the television show Doogie Howser, M.D. in 1989 where he played doctor child prodigy. He became a household name in 2005 with his nine season run on How I Met Your Mother where he was, arguably, the funniest and best parts of the show.
Even though he's known for comedy, Harris actually has quite a dramatic range. He played one of the leads in Gone Girl alongside Ben Affleck, as the creepy and socially awkward, former boyfriend of Rosamund Pike. He did not disappoint in that intense thriller, and again proved his intensity in American Horror Story: Freak Show. Neil has also made quite a name for himself in the way of hosting, he's hosted the Tonys four times (three were consecutive), the Emmy's twice and the Oscars once. He even won an Emmy for hosting the Emmy's!
With NPH's 43rd birthday on June 15th it's a great opportunity to look back over the decades and re-watch some of his best moments.
Enjoy, and Happy Birthday Neil Patrick Harris!
20. Roseanne (1992)
Harris' cameo on the long-running sitcom Roseanne was during his Doogie days. The cameo was Roseanne's dream where Doogie was her doctor and had given her breast implants! The Doogie in her dream was much more cocky than the one from Doogie, and NPH nails the single line he's given!
19. Spider-Man (2003)
NPH has done lots of voice over roles throughout the years including some supehero characters including Nightwing, Flash, and even Peter Parker. Even though this cartoon only lasted a single season you can hear that NPH had the perfect playful voice for the beloved hero.
18. Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2014)
Speaking of range....NPH loves Broadway. During his final season of How I Met Your Mother he was offered the lead role for Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway, but couldn't do both so the producers of Hedwig put their show on hold until production on HIMYM had wrapped.
Hedwig is the musical story of a fictional rock star after a botched sex change operation. Harris is extremely musical so it's no surprise that he rocked this part. He even won a Tony for this role!
The clip is hilarious, it's not from a show performance, but performed live at the Tony Awards. Neil has no problem giving Kevin Bacon a lap dance, licking Samuel L. Jackson's glasses, or making out with real life husband David Burtka during the musical number!
17. 87th Academy Awards (2015)
Again showing off his musical talents, and his love of magic, Neil nailed his hosting gig for the 87th Annual Academy Awards in 2015. An estimated 63 million people around the globe watched Neil host. He nails the hilarious opening number with Anna Kendrick and Jack Black!
16. 38th People Choice Awards (2014)
With his recent string of hosting gigs, it's no surprise that the People Choice Awards tapped into this joke! With Kaley Cuoco hosting, she quickly accuses of him of having a hosting addiction and gets him kicked out. A cute little bit, and these two have great chemistry! Can we please get a rom-com with both??!
15. Doogie Howser - "Spell it M.A.N." (1993)
Harris was famously loved for his role on Doogie and had so many great moments throughout its four seasons, but this one seems to sum up all of Doogie's bad luck with love!
BTW - Thanks Neil for giving all of us awkward teenagers hope!
14. American Horror Story Freakshow (2015)
Neil and real life husband, David Burtka, both guest starred in this season of American Horror Story. Again, it reaches past Neil's stereotypical comedic roles and he nails the intensity, but also the sadness that was a part of his character.
13. Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)
Immediately before signing onto How I Met Your Mother, Harris was cast in Harold and Kumar as himself. Well kind of himself, since it was before he publicly came out as a gay actor, this role was written with Harris portraying an over-sexed and drug addicted version of himself, and he nails it!
12. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011)
Appearing in all three of the Harold and Kumar trilogy, his role in the third Christmas one was the largest. By this time Harris' sexuality was public, as was his marriage to Burtka, so the writers pulled Burtka into the scene and made their marriage appear as a large ruse that NPH uses just to get ladies. Seeing these otherwise loving partners in such a hateful and unique role was hilarious!
11. Oprah's Next Chapter (2012)
During this episode with Oprah, Neil and fiance David bring her into their home, introduce her (and viewers) to their eighteen month old twins and open up about their lives, career and more. This clip is only part one of four, and it's a lovely episode with the otherwise private couple!
10. Gone Girl (2014)
This film came out shortly following How I Met Your Mother's end and it was a huge new role for NPH! Not only was it his biggest film to date, it also showed off his amazing range as a dramatic actor. He played a former lover of Rosamund Pike's character whom she came to after running away from her husband, Ben Affleck. This thriller does not disappoint with its dark and intense tone, the scene above specifically came as a shock to those who had not read the book. In my theater the audience let out a simultaneous gasp!
9. Confrontation Les Miserables (2006)
As you well know NPH is extremely musical, and this song "Confrontation" from Les Miserables became a fan favorite as he and Jason Segel were asked several times to sing it during interviews spanning several years. It all started because it happened one day on set and their co-workers brought it up during an interview. Both actors are absolutely hilarious, and I can't wait for them to work together again.
8. How I Met Your Mother - "Girls Vs Suits" (2010)
Even though fans and casual viewers were split on the unconventional finale, this 100th episode is one of the best of the series! The milestone episode shows off the cast's musical ability in this musical episode that, apparently, they'd been pushing for to happen since season two!
7. 67th Tony Awards (2013)
This was Harris' last time hosting the Tony Awards and you can see the audience and camera love him. There's a reason they asked him back four times! Bringing Harris back during such a high note in his career raised this year's ratings from 6 million to 7 million.
6. Glee - "Dream On" (2010)
During its first two seasons, Glee was one of television's hottest shows. Everyone was talking about it, and celebrities seemed to lining up to be on it! Neil's single appearance on the show was memorable, and it also thrust him and his musical ability into the spotlight. His "Dream On" duet with Matthew Morrison is still one of the best songs to come out of the hundreds of songs in six seasons.
5. How I Met Your Mother - "Legendaddy" (2011)
Even though Harris' character Barney gave us some of HIMYM's funniest moments, he nailed the dramatic episodes that were written for him too, and this is one of the best Barney episodes. He finally meets his long lost father, played by John Lithgow, but he's disappointed to learn that they're nothing alike.
4. Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris - "Reese Witherspoon" - (2015)
Unfortunately, this hilarious skit based show was cancelled after just a single season. Neil had some hilarious skits, games and some of the best celebrity appearances that I've ever seen. (Make sure to watch the Britney Spears clip!) In this clip Neil reaches a new level of stalker-tude as he somehow popped up at this couple's wedding unbeknownst to them with the help of their photographer, caterer and family! Then again on their vacation, and again as they arrived in NYC before coming to his show!
3. 66th Tony Awards (2011)
His second time hosting the Tony Awards the opening number was one of the largest, and funniest, that has ever been done. The intro song "Not Just for Gays Anymore" should make everyone laugh regardless of their sexuality, partly because of its truth: Broadway musicals are for everyone and can be loved by everyone. Neil makes this song wonderfully fun and interactive as she shows the broad array of shows that season.
2. Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (2008)
What do you get when you mix Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, Alicia Day, Simon Helburg and Neil Patrick Harris? In this musical series NPH plays super villain, Doctor Horrible, who is attempting to join the Evil League of Evil, but his enemy, Captain Hammer (Fillion), always gets in the way.
If you haven't seen this web series you really need to check it out! The forty minute show was released solely online in three separate acts, and immediately gained a huge cult following. Whedon and his brothers wanted to write something fun, inexpensive, but still professional, so they came up with this web series during the Hollywood writers strike in 2008. It's gained huge critical acclaim and even won several awards.
1. How I Met Your Mother (20005-2014)
It should come as no surprise that HIMYM becomes the #1 Neil Patrick Harris "moment". NPH played the character Barney Stinson for nine years and gave so much growth and depth to a man that started out as a one-liner, comedy relief character. By the end of the series, and whether you hated or loved the controversial ending, Barney's character definitely grew the most, and easily became the most loved character from the show.
BONUS: NPH: Choose Your Own Autobiography
This clever autobiography takes the reader on a unique twist as you choose how Neil lives out his life. Most of the book is filled with true stories from his life, but occasionally, if you choose wrong, you can be responsible for killing NPH is some pretty brutal ways. The book is filled with funny stories, quick wit and some great behind the scenes details from some of Neil's most popular work in Hollywood. If you really want a laugh I recommend listening to the audio book, you may not get the same "choose your own adventure" feel, but Neil reads it himself and it is hilarious! I may or may not have listened to the entire thing over twenty times....