Jim Parsons


Nearly two decades since its spectacular, albeit controversial ending, How I Met Your Mother is still one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time.


While the show featured some undeniably iconic characters, Neil Patrick Harris’ Barney Stinson was truly the most phenomenal. Although the show was, in essence, a chronology of Ted Mosby’s (Josh Radnor) chaotic love life, Barney Stinson, despite his despicable antics, ended up becoming the indisputable star of the show.

RELATED: The Real Reason Josh Radnor Went Off The Grid After ‘How I Met Your Mother’

Fans of the iconic sitcom will attest that the character might never have attained such venerable status void of Harris’ eccentric acting style.

However, before Harris could clinch the role, he had to prove his mettle against yet another sitcom favorite; Jim Parsons. Here’s why Parsons ultimately lost out on playing Barney Stinson and remains loosely connected to the character to this day.


Jim Parsons Auditioned To Play Barney Stinson In How I Met Your Mother

Before he landed a spot on The Big Bang Theory, Jim Parsons was a lead contender for the role of Barney Stinson in How I Met Your Mother. However, even before auditioning for the part, Parsons wasn’t convinced that Barney Stinson was the right part for him.

“It was one of the stranger experiences of my life,” Parsons admitted on an episode of Live with Kelly and Michael. “Because you know how it is to audition for things. They come out with character breakdowns and stuff, and on this one, it specifically said: ‘Barney, a big lug of a guy.’ And I remember thinking, I got it and was like, ‘Who the hell looked at me and thinks ‘big lug of a guy?’” And it wasn’t offensive, I thought, ‘This is silly.’”

RELATED: Not Only Did Jim Parsons Fail His The Office Audition, But The Actor Also Bashed The Show

As it turns out, Neil Patrick Harris had similar thoughts while walking into his How I Met Your Mother audition.

“I got an audition for this show called How I met Your Mother,” Harris disclosed to GQ, which I thought was a terrible title; when you have friends, and three’s company, you know, something that looks good on a cap. And then I read the part, and it was to play someone who was like rotund, cigar smoking Jack Black. I thought, ‘This is a multi camera comedy show. I’m not going to get this job.’”

Jim Parsons Might Not Have Been The Right Fit For Barney Stinson

Clinching the role of Sheldon Cooper transformed Jim Parsons from a Hollywood newcomer to one of the most celebrated actors of his generation. That said, audiences might have felt differently had he landed the role of Barney Stinson instead. Parsons himself has acknowledged that he might not have been a suitable choice for Barney Stinson.

“The funny thing about this is I auditioned to play Barney,” Parsons disclosed on an episode of The Late Late Show with James Corden, “and felt I was very wrong for it, and almost ran screaming from the room after I auditioned. Like, ‘Well I did that, and I don’t know why.’ They actually made me come back, as if they were interested.”

RELATED: Jim Parsons Was Left Hanging For Hours After Auditioning For The Big Bang Theory

Jim Parsons Is Still Loosely Connected To Barney Stinson

The role of Barney Stinson eventually went to Neil Patrick Harris, who imbued the character with so much heart that he eventually became an ultimate fan favorite. The 49-year-old actor embodied the iconic character for close to a decade, and enjoyed every minute of it.

“Barney was this crazy, fun, delusional monkey head,” Harris told GQ, “[He] got to every episode, tried different rules and pretend that life was way more exciting than it was actually was, lie about dates, and claim that he’d accomplished things that he hadn’t, wear sharp suits all the time; sort of be the devil of be the devil on your shoulder. Great gig! Did it for nine years. Loved it.”

Despite losing out on the role, Jim Parsons is still vaguely connected to the role. According to a faction of The Big Bang Theory fandom, Sheldon Cooper and Barney Stinson have such diametrically opposed personalities that they could be the same character from alternate dimensions.

While appearing on an episode of The Late Late Show, Jim Parsons responded to this fan theory saying, “I find this fascinating that I have this loose-ish connection to this part. And you’ve got this theory — that’s not true — but you’ve got that theory at all. ‘Maybe I’m giving that vibe off. Maybe underneath this character I’ve been playing is a raging horndog and a womanizer.'”

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