In How I Met Your Mother‘s eight season run, the show managed to redefine the multi-camera sitcom genre, showing that even a show with a laugh track can show innovate formats and story-telling methods that other TV shows will to attempt to copy for years to come. The show took an interesting and different concept and really ran with it, showing that there is still room for original storytelling on TV, and it was rewarded for its innovative storytelling with great ratings during its long run.
The show also managed to attract a number of high-profile guest stars, with Alan Thicke, Joe Manganiello, Sarah Chalke, and James Van Der Beek all appearing in recurring roles. Even the show’s one-off roles have attracted some very famous stars and future famous stars, many of whom you may not have realized actually appeared on the long-running comedy.
Here are 17 stars who you forgot appeared on How I Met Your Mother.
17. Lin-Manuel Miranda
Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda appeared on How I Met Your Mother two years before his hit musical was released, although it’s quite likely that some of the show’s future famous raps were rattling around in his head as he was filming this role. The actor, singer, and writer appeared on the show’s last season in the experimental rhyming episode, which showed Marshall trying to speak only in rhymes to Marvin to keep his son asleep on the long bus ride to Robin and Barney’s wedding.
Miranda’s theater credits include composing In the Heights and co-composing Bring It On the Musical. His other film and television credits include composing music for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Moana as well acting on Modern Family, Smash, Inside Amy Schumer and Drunk History. Miranda is still best known for writing, composing and starring in the smash hit Hamilton, though, a musical which has smashed Broadway records, earning 16 Tony Award nominations and 11 wins. Miranda’s career is still on the rise, despite his recent departure from the show, with the actor set to appear in the upcoming Mary Poppins remake with Emily Blunt.
16. Britney Spears
Spears was the first of many pop stars to appear on How I Met Your Mother, with the mega-star appearing in two episodes of the series. Although Spears may not be the best actress, her appearance was still a bright light in the series. The singer played Stella’s emotionally unstable assistant who ends up being duped by Barney and then trying to ruin his life, all while being in love with Ted.
HIMYM wasn’t Spears’ only acting role; the singer has also appeared on Will & Grace and Jane the Virgin, and in the film Crossroads. She’s best known for her singing career, though, releasing huge singles like “…Baby One More Time,” “Oops!… I Did It Again,” “Toxic,” “Womanizer” and many, many more. Her albums have sold over 100 million copies worldwide, earning her seven Grammy nominations and one win for Best Dance Recording for 2005’s “Toxic.” She has also won a number of Guinness World Records, including Best Selling Teenage Artist in 2001 and Best Selling Album in the US by a Female Artist for “… Baby One More Time” in 2000.
15. Seth Green
Seth Green reunited with his Buffy the Vampire Slayer co-star Alyson Hannigan on How I Met Your Mother‘s eighth season, playing Marshall and Lily’s not-quite-friend Daryl from college. Daryl, a hacky sack enthusiast, tends to get a bit obsessed with Lily and Marshall, which makes them feel like he may just be trying to murder them (don’t worry, it all turns out okay).
Green has one Primetime Emmy win and nine nominations for his work on Robot Chicken, which he co-created, produces, writes, directs, and performs in. He has been acting since 1984, appearing in films like Can’t Buy Me Love, Austin Powers, Can’t Hardly Wait, Rat Race, The Italian Job, Guardians of the Galaxy (he voiced Howard the Duck), and Krampus. He also has a number of TV show appearances, voicing Chris Griffin and other characters on Family Guy and guest starring on shows like That 70’s Show, Mom, Community, and Broad City.
14. Candice King
Future The Vampire Diaries sweetheart Candice King had a small part on How I Met Your Mother, but her character had a pretty big effect on the series. King played Lily’s cousin Amy, a beauty school student who the redhead asks to style Marshall’s hair before their wedding. Unfortunately, Amy’s idea of good wedding hair doesn’t quite match up with Marshall’s (for some reason, he isn’t a fan of frosted tips), resulting in him shaving off a strip of his hair. Luckily, with the help of a pretty swag hat, the wedding is able to go on, and King was able to move onto bigger and better things.
She followed up her HIMYM appearance with a guest starring role on Supernatural, playing one of Dean’s high school flings, and then appeared on ABC Family’s Greek. In 2009, she landed her breakout role on The Vampire Diaries, playing high school student turned vampire Caroline Forbes. King has also appeared in films like Juno, Love Hurts, Kingshighway, and The Truth About Angels, as well as the TV series Drop Dead Diva and the web series Dating Rules From My Future Self. She also released a pop album, It’s Always the Innocent Ones, in 2006, and was a background singer for Miley Cyrus on her Best of Both Worlds Tour in 2008.
13. Amy Acker
Amy Acker appeared on How I Met Your Mother as one of the many girls who has slept with Barney, although her character Penelope wasn’t Barney’s typical bimbo: she was actually a Ph.D student studying Native American Culture, which came in handy when Ted needed her help to make it rain and make Robin fall in love with him. Acker’s role reunited her with Alyson Hannigan, who briefly appeared with her on Angel as her Buffy the Vampire Slayer character Willow Rosenberg.
Acker is known for her frequent collaborations with Buffy and Angel creator Joss Whedon. Outside of playing Fred Burkle, she has also appeared on Dollhouse and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and in The Cabin in the Woods and Much Ado About Nothing by the Avengers writer and director. Outside of Whedon-related projects, she had roles on Alias, Happy Town and Person of Interest and has guest starred on shows like Warehouse 13, Once Upon a Time, Grimm, Supernatural, The Good Wife, Human Target and voiced the Huntress in the Justice League TV series.
12. Katy Perry
Pop star Katy Perry appeared on How I Met Your Mother at the beginning of her rise to stardom, soon after her third album Teenage Dream, featuring famous songs like “California Gurls,” “Teenage Dream,” “Firework” and “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.),” was released. She played Zoey’s less-than-intelligent cousin, who the gang just calls Honey, in a sixth season episode, a performance which earned her a People’s Choice Award for Favorite TV Guest Star in 2012.
Although Perry is mostly known for her musical pursuits, releasing four studio albums and breaking a number of Guinness World Records in the process, she has also had a number of acting roles outside of the CBS series, including voicing Smurfette in The Smurfs and The Smurfs 2 and appearing on an episode of Raising Hope. Most recently, she had a cameo in Zoolander 2. The singer is currently working on her fifth studio album, with a single, “Rise,” released in July as part of the 2016 Summer Olympics.
11. Lindsay Sloane
Lindsay Sloane played one of the many characters on How I Met Your Mother who helped Ted Mosby realize how horrible his dating habits were. The actress appeared in a season five episode as Ted’s blind date Jen, who he soon realizes he has been on a blind date with years earlier.
Sloane started her acting career on The Wonder Years in 2001 before appearing as Valerie on Sabrina the Teenage Witch. She then appeared on the short lived TV series Grosse Pointe and The Stones before moving into her rom com phase, in which she starred in films like Over Her Dead Body, The Accidental Husband, and She’s Out of My League. She also had roles on Weeds, Ben and Kate, and Psych. More recently, she appeared in Horrible Bosses and Horrible Bosses 2 and has had roles on shows like Children’s Hospital, Playing House, and CBS’ The Odd Couple, with Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon.
10. Jon Heder
Napoleon Dynamite himself appeared on How I Met Your Mother, playing the alternate version of Marshall, a.k.a. Narshall, in The Wedding Bride 2. Marshall may not have been thrilled with his onscreen portrayal, but Heder has still had a pretty successful acting career.
He’s best known for playing the title role in 2004’s surprise hit Napoleon Dynamite, a role which earned him two MTV Movie Awards, but he’s also had a very successful career in comedy outside of the high school flick. Heder’s had roles in films like Just Like Heaven, The Benchwarmers, Blades of Glory, Surf’s Up, Woke Up Dead, Walt Before Mickey, School for Scoundrels, The Sasquatch Gang, and Monster House. He also reprised his Napoleon Dynamite role in the 2012 animated series. More recently, he has appeared in comedy-thriller Ghost Team with Justin Long, Amy Sedaris, and David Krumholtz, and in the comedy The Tiger Hunter with Community star Danny Pudi.
9. Weird Al Yankovic
Parody singer Weird Al appeared as himself on How I Met Your Mother‘s seventh season, confirming Ted’s seemingly ridiculous claim that he was actually the one who suggested the lyrics for the singer’s hit song “Like a Surgeon.” The song, a parody of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” is one of Weird Al’s many hits, which also include “White & Nerdy,” “Amish Paradise” and “Eat It.” He has racked up 13 Grammy nominations, including four wins, for “Eat It,” “Fat,” Poodle Hat and 2015’s Mandatory Fun.
He also has a career in acting, appearing in films like The Naked Gun and its two sequels, Spy Hard, Halloween II, and Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, as well as in TV series like The Grim Adventures of Bill and Mandy, Adventure Time, 30 Rock, Drunk History, Galavant, Wet Hot American Summer; First Day of Camp, The Goldbergs, BoJack Horseman, Teen Titans Go!, The Odd Couple, and more. He has also written a children’s book and directed his own music videos.
8. Keegan-Michael Key
Keegan-Micahel Key appeared on the show’s seventh season as one half of a pretentious couple (along with Happy Endings star Casey Wilson) who Barney and Robin decide they must take down while out at dinner. The comedian joined the show right at the start of his rise to stardom. At the time, he was already appearing on his Comedy Central sketch show Key and Peele, with frequent collaborator Jordan Peele, which has been nominated for 15 Emmy Awards, including two supporting actor awards for Key.
The actor has also appeared on Parks and Recreation, Playing House, Robot Chicken, BoJack Horseman and the first season of FX’s Fargo with Peele. He has also had a successful film career, appearing in Role Models, Due Date, Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, The Lego Movie, Let’s Be Cops, Horrible Bosses 2, Pitch Perfect 2, Vacation, and 2016’s Keanu. He is set to appear in the upcoming Angry Birds Movie, as well as Storks and Why Him?, with James Franco and Bryan Cranston.
7. Heidi Montag/Spencer Pratt/Kendra Wilkinson/Kim Kardashian
How I Met Your Mother had an episode-long foray into reality stars, with famous tabloid fodder Heidi Montag, Spencer Pratt, Kendra Wilkinson, and Kim Kardashian all appearing in one season, four episode. All four appeared in short cameos as themselves on the covers of magazines that Marshall was taking with him to help “do his business” in the bathroom at work. Because this is How I Met Your Mother, they were, of course, talking to all of Marshall’s co-workers about how uncomfortable it is to have to take a dump at work.
Montag and Pratt have been in the spotlight less recently, but at the time, they were huge reality stars, best known for their appearances on The Hills. Wilkinson, meanwhile, was known for being a Playboy Playmate featured on The Girl Next Door and her own reality show spin-off Kendra. Kardashian, while already famous at the time for appearing on Keeping Up With The Kardashians and its many spin-offs, has become even bigger nowadays, constantly in the news for her fashion, modeling, and highly publicized marriage to rapper Kanye West.
6. Carrie Underwood
Country singer and American Idol winner Carrie Underwood appeared on How I Met Your Mother‘s fifth season, playing one of the many women who Ted dates who do not turn out to be the Mother. Underwood played Tiffany, a hot pharmaceutical sales rep who keeps Ted on her “hook” by acting like she may date him one day but is never actually being willing to be his girlfriend.
Underwood, who broke onto the scene in 2005 after winning American Idol‘s fourth season, has had a very successful musical career, releasing five hit albums and headlining five tours. She’s won seven Grammy Awards and a Golden Globe nomination for best original song for “There’s a Place For Us”, featured in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage Of the Dawn Treader. She’s also had a small acting career, appearing in Blue Bloods, Soul Surfer, Nashville, Sesame Street, The Sound of Music Live!, and Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.
5. Robbie Amell
Robbie Amell played one of Robin’s boyfriends, a less-than-intelligent young man named Scooby who bears a striking resemblance to a dog. The actor has had a long history in teen TV shows and movies, beginning in 2005 when he appeared in Cheaper by the Dozen 2. He then appeared in one of the many American Pie sequels, American Pie Presents: Beta House, and in Ashley Tisdale’s Picture This. He was a regular cast member on Nickelodeon’s True Jackson, VP with Keke Palmer, and also, ironically enough, played Fred in two of Cartoon Networks’ live action Scooby Doo films.
He then moved on to guest starring on series like Revenge, Alcatraz, Pretty Little Liars, and Hawaii Five-0 before landing a regular role on The CW’s The Tomorrow People, moving to the network that is the home of his cousin, Arrow star Stephen Amell. The series was short-lived, but Amell landed on his feet, winning the role of Ronnie Raymond, love of Caitlin Snow and one half of Firestorm, on The Flash. He has also had recent roles on Modern Family and the X-Files reboot and has appeared in recent films like The Duff, Code 8, Nine Lives, and The Babysitter.
4. Lucy Hale
The future teen star played Robin’s younger sister in one of the series’ early episodes, but she then disappeared to Canada (a.k.a. ABC Family) for most of the remainder of the series, only making one more appearance in the series’ final season as a guest at her sister’s wedding.
The role came a full three years before she landed her breakout role of Aria Montgomery on Pretty Little Liars, which she has played for seven seasons on the hit mystery drama. Before landing the role, she appeared on TV series like Drake & Josh, Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, Wizards of Waverly Place, The O.C., Bionic Woman, and the short-lived CW series Privileged. She also appeared as Alexis Bledel’s character’s younger sister in 2008’s The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. While on PLL, she has appeared in Scream 4, Sorority Wars, Fear Island, and A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song. She is set to appear in the upcoming dramedy Dude.
3. Jorge Garcia
Jorge Garcia has a history of playing unlucky characters, and that was no different on How I Met Your Mother. The actor starred as Ted, Marshall, and Lily’s college friend Steve, better known as the Blitz, who has the misfortune of having something incredibly exciting happen every time he leaves the room. Garcia’s most well-known role, Hugo “Hurley” Reyes on Lost, also showed the actor being a bit down on his luck, with his character believing he was cursed from winning the lottery. His role on the long-running series earned him a number of award nominations and a Screen Actors Guild award for best ensemble with the rest of the cast in 2006.
Since the series ended, Garcia has appeared on a number of other shows, including Matthew Perry’s short-lived comedy Mr. Sunshine, Fringe, Phineas and Ferb, and Once Upon a Time. He had a series regular role on JJ Abrams’ Alcatraz, but the show was cancelled after one season. He then appeared in a recurring role on Hawaii Five-0. In film, he has appeared in Deck the Halls, The Wedding Ringer, The Ridiculous 6, and the Anna Kendrick and Miles Teller-starring Get a Job.
2. Morena Baccarin
Deadpool star Morena Baccarin has had a long career in film and television, and one of her early roles was on How I Met Your Mother. She appeared on the second season during Marshall and Lily’s break-up period as a barista at a coffee shop who Marshall ends up asking out on a date. Luckily for viewers and fans of true love, her crazy eyes end up being what causes Marshall and Lily to get back together.
Baccarin was well-known in television before appearing on the CBS series, though, already playing the role of Inara on FOX’s short-lived but well-loved sci-fi series Firefly and its film sequel Serenity. She then had guest starring roles on Stargate SG-1, Numb3rs, Medium and The O.C. (a role which would mark her first appearance with future Gotham co-star and boyfriend Ben McKenzie). She had a lead role on another one-season wonder, V, before landing a starring role in the first three seasons of Homeland.
The actress also provides the voice for Harrison Wells’ computer Gideon on The CW’s The Flash and appeared in Melissa McCarthy’s Spy in 2015. 2016 marked another break-out year for her, with the actress appearing on the hit FOX series Gotham and starring as Wade Wilson’s girlfriend Vanessa in Deadpool. She is set to appear in the upcoming animated film Malevolent with William Shatner and Ray Wise.
1. Jon Bernthal
Jon Bernthal appeared on How I Met Your Mother‘s second ever episode, appearing as one of the guests at Ted’s many parties that he throws in an attempt to get closer to Robin. (Fun fact: one of the other guest stars in the episode was Leverage star Beth Riesgraf.) The appearance was one of his first roles.
He went on to appear in the TV series The Class, which also starred Mean Girls and Masters of Sex star Lizzy Caplan, but it was cancelled after one season. His next big TV appearance, Eastwick, was similarly ill-fated, but shortly after his appearance in the HBO series The Pacific, he landed at one of the biggest shows on television, The Walking Dead, playing Shane Walsh. After he left the AMC show, he appeared in The Wolf of Wall Street, Fury, and Mob City before landing the role of the Punisher on the second season of Netflix’s Daredevil. In April, it was announced that Bernthal would reprise the role in his own series. He will appear in Edgar Wright’s next film, Baby Driver, as well as The Accountant, co-starring Ben Affleck.
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