Whatever you do, don’t bring Jeopardy! host Mayim Bialik to a musical, especially if you have any close friends involved with the production. In the late 1990s, Bialik says she ruined her friendship with How I Met Your Mother star Neil Patrick Harris when she didn’t give him a standing ovation.
Look, we get it. Musicals aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, and standing ovations aren’t always unanimous. But when you see “Rent” on Broadway to support a friend who’s starring in the production, maybe try not to be the only person who’s visibly unenthused at the end.
That’s the position Jeopardy! host Mayim Bialik found herself in circa 1997. She attended a performance of the hit musical with her boyfriend, and when the music finally stopped, she didn’t do the friendliest of things.
“I mean, this was a long time ago … But when your friend is in the play and then everybody is clapping at the end, and you say to your boyfriend next to you, ‘I don’t want to stand for this’…And then you look up, and Neil Patrick Harris is looking right at you — it’s a bad day,” Bialik told James Corden of The Late Late Show earlier this week.
Who knew How I Met Your Mother star Neil Patrick Harris could read lips? Mayim Bialik certainly didn’t.
“But that’s the time when you don’t say it out loud because Neil was reading my lips, and when I went backstage to say hi to him…he said, I kid you not, ‘Why did you say you weren’t going to stand up?’ He read my lips. I did not have a good answer. It was terrible. It was bad,” continued Bialik.
The ‘Jeopardy!’ Host and the ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Star Didn’t Speak for Years
As it happens, going out of your way to avoid applauding for a friend’s performance is a great way to end the friendship. Even if Neil Patrick Harris’ performance left something to be desired, which is hard to believe considering the decades of success he has enjoyed since “Rent,” all Bialik had to do was smile, stand, and clap.
“I mean, he is amazing, but I just wasn’t into the [idea of], ‘Let’s give a standing ovation.‘ It wasn’t my thing,” the Jeopardy! host told James Corden.
As committed as she was to stay seated that night in 1997, Bialik has come to regret her response in the years since. Fortunately, years later, when Harris learned that Bialik was still broken up about it, he was willing to forget and forgive.
“We didn’t speak for a long time. [Harris] says that he forgave me, and he sent me flowers when he heard that I’m still carrying this terrible [guilt] — I mean, I felt terrible. It just wasn’t my thing,” Bialik finished.