In 2018, there’s no telling what kind of random missive sent to the Twitterverse will get you in trouble. But if you’re Neil Patrick Harris and you have 27.7 million followers, you might want to think twice before insulting someone else in show business. The “How I Met Your Mother” actor caused a minor snafu after Sunday night’s Tony Awards, when he tweeted: “Who is the woman in the top hat backstage at @TheTonyAwards? Gideon remarked that she says ‘like’ and ‘oh my god’ a lot. I’m confused…”
“The woman” was in fact “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” creator and star Rachel Bloom, who happens to be a huge fan of Harris’ and has met him several times. She graciously replied to Harris, gently reminding him of their various connections: “I’m a big fan of yours. We’ve met numerous times and my husband, Dan Gregor, wrote for ‘How I Met Your Mother’ for 5 years. Notably, he wrote the episode where your character finally meets his father.”
I’m a big fan of yours. We’ve met numerous times and my husband, Dan Gregor, wrote for “How I Met Your Mother” for 5 years. Notably, he wrote the episode where your character finally meets his father.
— Rachel Bloom (@Racheldoesstuff) June 11, 2018
In a new interview with GQ, Bloom further explained her family connection to Harris, and admitted that his glib tweet “kind of devastated” her.
“It wasn’t a joke. Basically… I saw that tweet. And I was kind of devastated. I was actually going to tweet, ‘This makes me sad.’ But then I was like, ‘Ehhhhhhhhhh… I don’t want to give him that, necessarily.’ 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.”
Bloom took it one step further, offering up a not-so-subtle dig at Harris’ somewhat lackluster comedy writing skills:
“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.”
After Bloom kindly reminded him who she was (a two-time Emmy nominee), Harris offered this less than ideal response: “Indeed! Well said. Thanks for the reminder. How was backstage?” Twitter users were quick to point out the lack of apology, and it appears Bloom agrees. “The thing he said in response wasn’t really an apology as much as saying, like, “Well said! Thanks for the reminder,'” she said.
Indeed! Well said. Thanks for the reminder. How was backstage?
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) June 11, 2018
If Bloom were the only person slighted, that would be one thing, as Harris has no direct connection to “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” But the fact that Bloom’s husband wrote such a memorable episode of “How I Met Your Mother,” where Barney meets his father for the first time, makes Harris’ ignorance all the more glaring. Bloom: “In my office—mine and my husband’s joint office, in our house—we have a big framed photo of the script for that episode, and a picture of my husband and his writing partner with Neil Patrick Harris, like, on our wall. [laughs] So it’s, like, a big part of our lives!”
Bloom seems to have a healthy attitude about the whole thing, joking that perhaps her real beef is with the actor’s son, who had so many opinions about her speech patterns. She does, however, have some ideas about how Harris can make it up to her:
“Look, he didn’t say that I was terrible. It was just kind of a random thing. But I think, if he wants to be gracious: He has 27 million Twitter followers. He could check out an episode of the musical TV show ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’—which is, right now, the only musical show on television. And tell his 27 million Twitter followers to check it out. I wouldn’t hate that!”
On Wednesday, Harris apologized to Bloom, tweeting: “Sincere apologies to [Rachel Bloom] for my Tony tweet. I failed to research her before pressing ‘send’, and what I thought was a funny comment in our living room must have been far from funny to read, backstage, mid show. As a performer and a parent, I should have know (sic) better.”
Sincere apologies to @Racheldoesstuff for my Tony tweet. I failed to research her before pressing ‘send’, and what I thought was a funny comment in our living room must have been far from funny to read, backstage, mid show. As a performer and a parent, I should have know better.
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) June 13, 2018
Read the full GQ interview with Bloom here.