By Emily Rome
Updated November 19, 2012 at 12:00 PM EST

The bros who rock brunch are back together!

Joe Manganiello returns to How I Met Your Mother in tonight’s episode as Brad, Marshall’s law-school buddy memorable for his tendency to speak in abbreviations (like “eggs benny” and “ridonc”), his failed hockey date with Robin and his determination to bro-ify everything (even Sunday brunch, Mamma Mia!, and bed-and-breakfasts).

In tonight’s episode, “The Stamp Tramp,” Marshall finds Brad on the street, looking very unkempt. Marshall wants to see his old friend back on his feet, so he recommends him for a job at his firm, but this being How I Met Your Mother, that’s when things start to go awry.

Manganiello’s first episode on the CBS comedy aired in 2006, and ever since then, even after he started playing Alcide Herveaux on True Blood, fans continue to approach him in public talking about Brad without ever mentioning werewolves.

“People love bros having brunch,” Manganiello told EW. “Even with the beard and the hair, people come up to me like, ‘Oh bro! You’re Brad!’”

“The Stamp Tramp” marks Manganiello’s first appearance on the show since he started work on True Blood, but the regular talent on the show contend that he’s the same Joe they knew before he made it big on the HBO vampire show. Read on to learn what the cast of How I Met Your Mother – along with the show’s longtime director, Pamela Fryman – had to say about the return of Brad.

Josh Radnor: “I don’t think he had a beard last time, so that’s wildly different. That changes everything. As you know, ’cause I was bearded in Liberal Arts. No – I think they amped up his Brad-ness a little bit. His abbreviating has gone to a new level. ‘The fuch. Redempch.’ It’s just kind of ridiculous. But there’s something funny about Marshall and Brad, how they’re like the same height. These two big guys who have brunch together.

Jason Segel: “He’s such a professional. And not everybody is. Sometimes you work with actors who don’t really know their lines and stuff like that. As you get more and more famous some people feel like that allows them to be less prepared. But not Joe. He’s on top of it.”

Alyson Hannigan: “I feel like maybe the crew’s different, maybe our extras are acting differently [around Manganiello than when he was first on the show], but we’re all friends with Joe. To me, he’s just Joe. I don’t feel any different toward him, but [whispering] I’ve never seen True Blood. I really should watch it.”

Neil Patrick Harris: “I think he’s probably a bit more seasoned. It seems his confidence level is higher, not in a cocky way but in a free way.”

Cobie Smulders: “There’s nothing that he’s bringing in that makes it seem like ‘Oh, I’m big-time now.’ He’s still very down-to-earth and really nice. And able to play and make fun of his hotness.”

Pamela Fryman: “Brad has always been one of my favorite characters on the show. Personally, some of my biggest laughs have come from when Joe Manganiello has been on the show…. I always thought he was in fairly good shape, but I gotta say, he seems to have upped his game. But we can just give him grief about that. His hair is longer, he has a beard, but otherwise he’s absolutely the same.”

“The Stamp Tramp,” episode 7 of How I Met Your Mother‘s eighth season, airs tonight at 8 p.m. on CBS. Joe Manganiello will also appear in next week’s episode, “Twelve Horny Women.”


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