Neil Patrick Harris, dressed in a wig, lingerie and red heels, took the stage at Harvard University on Friday to accept the 2014 Man of the Year Award from America’s oldest undergraduate drama troupe.
The How I Met Your Mother star cast a few spells, saved someone’s life and sang a jingle from Rent before being awarded the Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ annual Pudding Pot.
“I felt remarkably good in heels,” Harris – who is set to headline the drag-themed Broadway debut of Hedwig and the Angry Inch – said after the ceremony, adding that he had spent seven hours stomping around in a custom pair to practice.
Harris was showered with ridicule by the show’s roasters, who said he was best known for 200 episodes of “crappy” television.
The Emmy Award-winning actor has spent 25 years in entertainment playing roles in TV, in film and on stage, where he has sung, danced and even performed magic tricks. He also has hosted the Tony and Emmy awards.
One of the roasters said, “Those who can’t do host, and those who can’t host host the Spike TV Video Game Awards,” which Harris hosted in 2010.
Harris, who has appeared in the Harold & Kumar and The Smurfs movies and has starred in three Broadway plays, is most recently known for his role as suave ladies’ man Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother, which is now in its ninth and final season. He said he broke Barney’s bro code on Friday night by kissing two guys in dresses on the lips.
In his earlier days, Harris played a teenage doctor on the TV comedy Doogie Howser, M.D. He had to tap into his medical expertise on stage Friday to save a choking Jason Segel, his How I Met Your Mother costar, who won the Pudding Pot award two years ago.
With a chuckle, Harris said that Segel gave him a joke to use for Friday’s show but forgot to mention that he used the same joke when he was in Cambridge to accept his award.
This is fantastic. It s been an unbelievable day, the actor told the crowd after receiving his Pudding Pot, which contained a red velvet cupcake from Sweet Cupcakes in Cambridge. I ve had many types of pot in my hand, but this is by far the shiniest . I never went to college and thought you d be super pompous and pretentious, but I ve had a great time! I m fairly hungover and I started drinking around noon, and have been having a great time.”
Harris headed to Boston via the Acela train on Friday morning and upon arriving at Harvard, promptly Tweeted: “Just got an historical tour of the Hasty Pudding headquarters. I have a feeling there will be lots of drinking later.”
Indeed, there was: Post-tour, Harris and some pals headed to the Rialto restaurant at the Charles Hotel, where the actor – always a fan of margaritas – sipped a slew of glasses while sporting a sombrero.
After Friday’s roast, Harris attended the theater’s debut production of Victorian Secrets, a play about a secret society of Harvard students in the 18th century.
The 2014 Woman of the Year was Red and The Queen actress Helen Mirren, who visited Harvard last week to accept her award and showed off her twerking skills.
• With reporting by MEGAN JOHNSON and ASSOCIATED PRESS