You’ve been playing yourself quite a bit lately. What’s your method for becoming James Van Der Beek?
It starts with hours of preparation. [Laughs] It’s just one of those things that started happening. It wasn’t really by design, necessarily. You’re kind of lucky enough when you’re part of something that hits or catches on in popular culture, and all of a sudden people are asking you to play “You.” I try not to take myself too seriously. Maybe I’m the only idiot who gets these things suggested to him.
On this TV pilot [Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apt. 23], it’s one of the writers from American Dad, and one of the producers from How I Met Your Mother and Family Guy, and the director from Modern Family, just a great group of people. They said, “We could have you play an actor who’s [the main character’s] friend, but if you play yourself, then we get to make Dawson’s Creek jokes.” And I thought, “Well, that could be fun.”
What’s your role in the pilot? What level of yourself is appearing in the show?
I called the writer and said, “Listen, don’t be worried about insulting me at all. Let’s just go for whatever’s funniest.” It’s kind of wide open. We’re still re-writing it. And when I say “we,” I mean “she.” I’m the main character’s best friend. We had a relationship before, but it didn’t work out for reasons which you’ll see in the pilot. So now she calls me her “straight gay best friend.” I’ll be single in New York, using the fact that I was once a teen idol to get laid. In real life, I’m happily married and I just had a baby.
So you’re living vicariously through yourself right now.
I think you just blew my mind.