James Van Der Beek might be playing “James Van Der Beek” in Don’t Trust The B In Apartment 23, but he’s not, you know, playing James Van Der Beek. “It’s funny, people say, ‘He’s playing himself,’ and I think, Well, I’m playing this demented version of — I don’t know what. It has echoes of me in maybe, like, my worst day ever,” the Dawson’s Creek star laughs in his new Vulture interview. “But most of it is just completely made up with little kernels of truth: behavior I’ve seen from other actors, or some of the writers have seen.” Personally, we absolutely love when celebs play weird or awful version of themselves; it shows that they have a sense of humor about themselves. Luckily James joins a cadre of excellent celebs who have lampooned themselves on TV, such as…
1) Kate Winslet, Extras
After playing a foul-mouthed, ruthlessly ambitious version of herself only doing a Holocaust movie to get an Oscar on the British sitcom Extras, Kate Winslet went on to win an Oscar for 2009’s The Reader…a film about the Holocaust. Truth in comedy, people!
2) Neil Patrick Harris, Harold & Kumar 1, 2 and 3
Neil Patrick Harris’ portrayal of himself as an extremely NSFW, pill-popping womanizer in the Harold and Kumar movies relaunched his career and landed him a role on How I Met Your Mother. He’s the proto-Van Der Beek, if you will.
3) Johnny Depp, Life’s Too Short
“I’m working with a great director right now. Tim Burton. Ever heard of him?” Johnny Depp‘s turn on Ricky Gervais‘ Life’s Too Short depicted him as a preening, self-involved diva, a nice change from the insane barbers and dapper vampires he usually portrays.
4) Bob Barker, Happy Gilmore
The Price Is Right host will forever be known for three things: his ombre tan, his love of animals and his vicious right hook, which pulverized Adam Sandler in Happy Gilmore. The price is wrong, indeed.
5) Nicholas Cage, SNL
Can it be consider “demented” if the celeb is playing a more normal version of himself? It can if it’s Nic Cage!
6) Alice Cooper, Wayne’s World
Or Alice Cooper! While you might think the ’80s rocker is a grime-covered nightmare, he’s actually a charming man with an impressive knowledge of Socialist politicians in U.S. history.
7) James Franco, 30 Rock
James Franco is cray, but he’s proooobably not in a sexual relationship with a Japanese body pillow like he was on 30 Rock. Or is he? No, probably not.
8) John Malkovich, Being John Malkovich
John Malkovich, the granddaddy of celebs playing themselves, turned up the weird in Being John Malkovich. Which makes sense because Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich.
9) Gwyneth Paltrow, “Paltrow Secrets,” Conan
Perhaps Gwyneth’s finest role to date: a creepy weirdo version of herself.
[Photo: Getty Images]