The circumstances surrounding Conan O’Brien‘s upcoming cameo on How I Met Your Mother are aww-worthy: At a celebrity auction, he outbid everyone (including himself) for the prize of a walk-on role. Because the money went to playwrights (what I do when I’m not writing for Crushable), I can’t fault him for such a generous gesture. But the prize itself is wasted on him; it should go to a genuine fan of the show.
To be fair, O’Brien seemed really excited about the role when chatting with Neil Patrick Harris on his TBS show the other night. He said that even though the producers were ready to write in a part for him, he thought it’d be funnier if he were just chilling in the background at MacLaren’s.
O’Brien can cameo on the show anytime he wants, in whatever capacity fits into the current arc. He can play himself or some schmuck with a beer; either way will get him plenty of attention. He’ll join celebrities like Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Jason Lewis, and Jennifer Lopez, all throwaway cameos. Walk-on roles used to be reserved for fans who wrote hundreds of postcards explaining why they should be on-camera, or who camped out for the opportunity. It’s too easy to give it to a celebrity who could just as well arrange a lunchtime meeting to achieve the same end.
The sporting thing to do would be to grant this walk-on role to a HIMYM fan who would have gladly bid upwards of $3,000 had the auction been public. (Initially I thought that Conan had used his considerable wealth to outbid fans, when it turns out that it was a private auction for the celebrity attendees of the Ojai Playwrights Benefit Gala.) Hell, the two of them could appear in the same scene toasting some brewskis at the pub while Barney and Robin realize that they’re meant to be.