ON a recent Sunday evening, Neil Patrick Harris was trying to distance himself from the character he plays in the "Harold & Kumar" movies -- even though he plays himself.
He was hanging out at the Magic Castle, a private Hollywood club devoted to the sleight of hand, with some close friends: a married couple, Lori and Lex Medlin; Becky Baeling; and Brandon Boyce. (All are actors, except for Mr. Boyce, who is a screenwriter.)
To distinguish between Mr. Harris's authentic and fictional selves, Ms. Medlin pointed out that in real life Mr. Harris has never snorted cocaine off a woman's behind. "Not this year!" chimed Mr. Harris and Ms. Baeling, in unison. Ba-dum-bum!
She was referring to one of Mr. Harris's scenes in "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle," a 2004 dark comedy. In the sequel, "Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantánamo Bay," Mr. Harris brands a prostitute with his name while hallucinating on magic mushrooms.
"When 'Harold and Kumar' came out, Neil said to me, 'I hope people don't think I'm like that!' " Mr. Medlin said. "I was like, 'It's a parody!' "