Christmas comes early for fans of Seth Green this year: On Sunday, Robot Chicken’s ATM Christmas Special premieres (Adult Swim, midnight ET), and on Monday, he reunites with his Buffy the Vampire Slayer costar Alyson Hannigan on How I Met Your Mother (CBS, 8 p.m. ET).
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This is your first time acting opposite Alyson on-screen since Buffy.
SETH GREEN: Since then, yes. But Aly and I have worked together since we were teenagers. I think she was 11 or 12, and I was like 13 when we met. We did a movie called My Stepmother is an Alien , and then she made another TV show called Free Spirit and I did a guest spot on that, and then Buffy. She actually jokes that the only thing in her career that I haven’t been a part of is the American Pie movies. [Laughs]
Perhaps you’ll get your chance.
Well, we’ll see. That reunion seemed to tie it all up.
Had you been looking for a chance to guest on How I Met Your Mother?
I really like that show, and the creators are actually at the same agency, so we’ve had occasion to discuss it. I’m always looking for fun things to act in. They’d actually approached me a couple of times before, and the timing never worked out, but this was perfect, so we took advantage of it.
Your character is a college acquaintance of Lily and Marshall’s known as “Creepy Daryl.” What made them think of you for that role?
[Laughs] I don’t know. I think they just thought it was funny, because the character is a guy who believes that Marshall and Lily are much better friends with him than they are, and while they’ve moved on and had a whole life beyond him, he’s still holding onto the memories of their friendship.
That sounds not unlike passionate Buffy fans, who are very excited for this reunion.
We were really conscious of Buffy fans’ attention on our reunion, so we both posted some pictures on Twitter. I’m so grateful for that experience: It was one of the best characters I’ve ever gotten to play, and an awesome cast to work with. Plus I got to speak all of the Joss Whedon’s, Jane Espenson’s, Drew Goddard’s, David Greenwalt’s awesome words.
Switching gears, you’ve got another Robot Chicken Christmas special this Sunday. What can we expect from that?
It’s so funny. Getting to make a TV show and having as little actual network pressure on you as we do, is one of the more satisfying creative experiences. We wanted to make a Christmas sketch about our Nerd character, kind of a Grinch parody, and we got to exploit all of our deepest, nerdiest things. My partner Matt [Senreich] and I actually flew to New York to shoot a live-action video clip with G.I. Joe comic author Larry Hama. [Laughs] It’s just so silly. If you had told 8-year-old me, when I was sitting there reading these comics, voraciously consuming all G.I. Joe material and playing with those action figures, that one day I would be hanging out in the apartment of one of the creators talking about nerdy stuff, I would not have believed you. That we can, like, trade emails with each other now, that doesn’t seem real.
This is a really funny episode. Henry Winkler’s in it, Skeet Ulrich, Michaela Watkins. Lucas Grabeel sings for us, and he was amazing. Elizabeth Banks plays Mrs. Claus. Seth MacFarlane has played Santa Claus for us since we started the show, and so I keep pressuring him into it. [Laughs] We pose the question, if Jason Bourne is impossible to find, how does he get Christmas presents? Stuff like that, that’s what we think about. [Laughs]
Well, what do you even get Jason Bourne for Christmas?
Oh, you’ll find out. We also ask, how does your Christmas tree feel when you unceremoniously abandon it by the street after loving it deeply for two weeks?
I saw you recently tweeted a photo of someone’s New Kids on the Block ornaments.
Yeah. I was at Alison Haislip’s tree-trimming party. We trimmed the hell out of her tree, P.S. She’s amassed all these ornaments since her childhood, and she had New Kids on the Block baseball card ornaments, and I thought that was worthy of letting people know.
What’s the geekiest ornament you’ve ever seen? I feel like you would have seen some great ones over the years.
My wife, this year actually, bought me a miniature DC Super Friends lunchbox and thermos set ornament, and it’s a miniature replica of the actual lunchbox I had when I was six years old. Yeah, she’s sweet.
Definitely the lady for you.
That’s why I married her.
Segueing from Super Friends to the Avengers, how is Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. (premiering on Disney XD in summer 2013) coming along?
I don’t know what’s been released, but I’m really excited. I love Marvel Comics, I love the Hulk. I was thrilled because I thought Joss Whedon’s Hulk [in The Avengers] was the first time we’ve really seen the comic book Hulk on film since the Bill Bixby TV show, so that was awesome. And then some friends of mine from the company asked if I would play A-Bomb, and I was like, “Yes. Yes, I will absolutely play A-Bomb on your Hulk show.” It’s just hard scheduling wise, because I’m doing a lot of different things scheduling-wise, and especially stuff that’s voice-over, you wind up doing four or five episodes at a time. And I’m just exhausted. Everybody else gets to record together, because they have schedules that are predictable. I only got to record once with Clancy Brown [Red Hulk], Adrian Pasdar [Iron Man], and Fred Tatasciore [Hulk], and it was great. It was so fun to actually get to record with everybody, and then every other time since then, it’s just been me, alone in a booth, because my schedule is so sh–ty.
Are you working over the holidays, or will you have time to enjoy them?
A little bit of both. I’m actually in town over the holidays, so me and my wife are gonna hang out in our house, which will be really good. I’ve been away most of the year. We’ve got piles and piles of stuff on our DVR, and my wife is so polite that she won’t watch certain shows without me. [Laughs] Which makes it really hard when you’re away for six weeks. We had a marathon of Walking Dead, and Parenthood, and Dexter, and caught up on Revolution, 30 Rock. What else did we do? We did Black Dynamite. [Laughs] I had the entire season of Black Dynamite. Oh, man. So, we got a lot of TV. And then I just started getting all the seasonal screeners from the different guilds, so that’s the best, because I can actually catch up on seeing features.