Can Neil Patrick Harris Not?


Neil Patrick Harris is largely off my radar. I never bothered with How I Met Your Mother. I only watched Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog back in 2008 because all the other nerds I was friends with on Livejournal were (it was fine, I guess). The last time I remember actively watching something he was in was Gone Girl, and his most interesting on screen moment was when his character got his throat slit.

For these reasons, I should be—at most—indifferent toward Harris. Instead, I find him immensely irritating. This week has helped prove that my irritation, long festering, is not baseless.

On Sunday, Harris sent out a clueless tweet inquiring about a top hat-wearing woman saying “like” and “oh my god” a lot on the Tony Awards. Turned out, it was actress Rachel Bloom, the star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, who he has apparently met several times.

On Wednesday—three days later—Harris tweeted out an official apology. The timing is interesting, especially considering the fact that a GQ interview with Bloom was published less than three hours before Harris’s mea culpa:

Look. I’ve met him a couple times. Very recently, backstage in the dressing room of a Broadway show. And we hung out for a solid 15 minutes with the star of this Broadway show. It was just bizarre to me that it wouldn’t ring a bell. And also, that he wouldn’t Google it. But look, he’s not a writer, so his version of a Twitter joke is to just kind of… live-comment to Twitter followers with kind of random, unformed thoughts. And fame does that to you—where you think every kind of random, unformed thought is a gem, because you get 10,000 likes from it. He has, like, 27 million Twitter followers. And that makes me scared about fame in general. The yes-men. Even if what you’re saying is, I don’t know, kind of weird or unoriginal, you’re still getting a lot of approval and dopamine surges for saying it. And I really, really hope that I can surround myself with people who will call me out on my shit, so that—even if I ever were to have 27 million Twitter followers—I would be just kind of… a person first, and a famous person second.

Bloom accepted his apology. Cool. But today Harris, a millionaire, began soliciting his 27.7 million Twitter followers for birthday gifts.

One could wave this off as Harris trying to be funny, an attempt at harmless, empty engagement. But for a brief time, Harris posted an address at which to mail any and all birthday gifts:

If you Google the address, you’re sent to a UPS store in East Harlem. Harris lives in Harlem. Later this afternoon, Harris deleted the UPS address from his Twitter bio and posted a clarifying that it was all one big joke, guys! I honestly didn’t know what to make of this, but it didn’t really come across as a joke.

Looking back at old tweets confirms that he does tend to do this. But he’s usually not this specific with his requests, and it’s unclear whether he posted his address in his bio those previous years either. Sure, an Elon Musk item is inaccessible for the average person, but some video games and a cheap keyboard are not. Are these just gifts he’ll donate to charity? Or did he forget that there are fans out there who are earnest and naive enough to believe that their favorite celebrity might notice them if they send them something on their birthday wish list?

But there’s precedent for Harris reaching out to his fans for questionable shit: He also wanted them to help him find a life coach for his mom.

Maybe I’m being unfair! Maybe it’s not that unusual for a celebrity to use their vast platform to find a nutritionist for a family member! Maybe I’m just being a petty bitch!

Then again, this is a man thought it was funny to use the “Corpse of Amy Winehouse” as Halloween decor three months after Winehouse’s death. So fuck him.

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