From left: Cobie Smulders, Alan Thicke and Nicole Scherzinger on How I Met Your Mother
Ron P. Jaffe/FOX
Over nine seasons, How I Met Your Mother
has acquired an impressive list of celebrity guest appearances.
There was Britney Spears
as the dippy dermatologist's assistant
obsessed with Ted (Josh Radnor). There was Bryan Cranston
as the architect whose buildings always seemed to resemble – how shall we put this delicately? – male anatomy. Even Jane Seymour ditched Dr. Quinn's period attire for the sexy style of Marshall's (Jason Segel) cougar law school professor whom Barney (Neil Patrick Harris
) just couldn't tame.
But there's a much smaller circle of stars who've managed to do something even more unique: play themselves. Some became part of long-running gags, others only filmed one-off appearances – but all were legen–wait for it
Neil Patrick Harris (left) and Tim Gunn
Cliff Lipson / CBS
Hospitals have emergency doctors. Barney has an emergency tailor. And who else would the New York executive turn to than the Project Runway
mentor? This season, Gunn had the esteemed honor of designing Barney's wedding tux.
Regis Philbin (left) and Neil Patrick Harris
Monty Brinton / CBS
In the HIMYM
-verse, Philbin is the host of Million Dollar Heads or Tails
, a faux game show in which contestants win $1 million if they can correctly guess the outcome of a coin flip. But more important, the former morning show host joined the gang on a season 4 quest to find the best burger in N.Y.C. (and exhibited his Hulk-like strength when the burgers they found weren't up to snuff).
From left: Josh Radnor, Billy Zabka and Laura Bell Bundy
Richard Cartwright / CBS
In Barney's world, The Karate Kid
is actually a tragedy about how Zabka's Johnny Lawrence has his title stolen from him by a newbie upstart. Knowing this, Robin arranged for the '80s star to make a surprise appearance at Barney's bachelor party, earning Zabka a permanent place in Barney's groom's party. But if you ask him, Zabka would like to be known as the guy who writes great poetry. (Nice work, Gary Blauman.)
Jim Nantz & Nick Swisher
Jim Nantz (left) and Nick Swisher
Eric McCandless / Fox(2)
Two cameos for the price of one! When Barney was close to completing the "Perfect Week" – sleeping with seven women in seven days – then-New York Yankee Swisher strolled into MacLaren's Pub
and threatened to derail his streak, even drawing the eye of hockey-obsessed Robin. The season five episode was narrated by Barney in an imagined interview with longtime CBS sports commentator Nantz, who spoke about the "Perfect Week" with the same reverence normally reserved for horse racing's Triple Crown.
From left: Neil Patrick Harris, Alan Thicke and Cobie Smulders
Richard Cartwright / FOX
The Canadian actor is a fairy godfather of sorts for the gang's resident Canuck, Robin (Cobie Smulders). Not only did he play her father in the music video for "Sandcastles in the Sand," he also starred alongside Robin and former partner Jessica Glitter (Nicole Scherzinger) on the teen show Space Teens
(see photo at top of page). What better way to cap his run on the show than with one last appearance this season at Robin and Barney's rehearsal dinner?
RELATED VIDEO: Watch "Let's Go to the Mall" & Relive All of HIMYM's Musical Moments