Because New York City traffic comes to a virtual stand-still when it’s raining, I was ten minutes late for a group lunch with How I Met Your Mother star (and Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum) Alyson Hannigan last week. That’s 20 minutes later than I had hoped to arrive to the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square, where I’d be meeting her for the first time as part of an event to promote her work with StubHub’s Mom’s Night Out program, which encourages the hardest working women in the world to take a night off for some summer fun and benefit Adopt-A-Classroom in the process.
When I finally arrived in my soggy 5-inch heels, all lingering feelings of distress were dissipated by a two things: Hannigan’s cheery, Willow-esque disposition and her post-speech shout-out to the buffet’s apparently delicious chicken fingers. We had a lot to cover in our so-brief ten-minute convo, but check it out below. If anything, I hope you take away from it the same thing I did. But like the identity of the Mother on How I Met Your Mother, I’ll keep exactly what that was a mystery for now. [Obligatory minor spoiler alert.]
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I’ve been really excited to speak with you all day. But I’ll find my composure now; I promise.
ALYSON HANNIGAN: Oh, no. Not at all. I won’t have any if that makes you feel better. [Laughs]
So, first off, I have to start with How I Met Your Mother because it’s been great this season. Marshall and Lily have gone through so much, where do we find them in the season finale?
Our writers never disappoint with their season finales, and they’re true to form this year. You’ll get some pieces to the puzzle, and you’ll get more empty spaces to the puzzle. And the baby talk is back on the table because that got sidetracked after the death of Marshall’s father. But I think the fans will be really happy because it will be satisfying and frustrating all at the same time, which is what you want out of a season finale. We want it to be really good, but we really want you to want more.
Speaking of Mother and mothers. As a mom yourself to daughter Satyana, how important is a little time to de-stress, and why did you pair up with the Mom’s Night Out program?
Well, being a mom is the hardest job there is, and you don’t get to check out. There’s no timecard. So it’s important to give yourself the gift of that night off. That statistic that two out of five moms haven’t had a night off in the past year blew my mind. It’s just important to just make it a priority. It will help you in the long run. It’s certainly easier to have the patience it takes to deal with whatever mountain is coming your way if you have something to look forward to or you just had it. You’re just like, “Ah, remember when I was at that U2 concert? That was so much fun.” Then you can be like, “I can handle this meltdown. I will get this t-shirt on your head. I will wipe the spaghetti off your face.” Also, to benefit Adopt-A-Classroom is super important because that is absolutely a major priority. As a mom, education has become even more important. It’s this big, daunting thing looming over [husband] Alexis [Denisof] and I. Teachers are so important and they can really have such a major impact on whether or not she likes school. So to help them and make their jobs easier is a great gift.
Did you ever have a teacher who really encouraged you to get into acting?
Just from the moment I was born, I knew this is what I wanted to do. So I was lucky that way. But I absolutely had a wonderful teacher in high school. Her name was Mrs. Horn. She was the English and drama teacher. She was so supportive and encouraging and went above and beyond. She would open up her classroom at lunch for all of the, like, you know, drama geeks. We didn’t really fit in anywhere, so we would just go in there and eat with her. It was such a cool environment, so I absolutely treasure that she was in my life because high school was not fun for me.
So when was the last time you took a “mom’s night off”?
Alexis and I are really good about date nights. So I count that as mom’s night out, too. And he deserves his night off, too. He’s a super hands-on dad because we don’t have a nanny, so it’s just us two and two people who babysit. And one’s about to go to college, so we need more help.
Education worked too well in that case.
Yeah! Exactly. [Laughs] So our last nice date night was that we went and got a couple’s massage together. That was a special one. We have to be better about making sure date night is date night. Occasionally we’ve gone to Target – which is fun. But it’s more like checking things off the list, like, “beach towels…” But that shouldn’t be considered a date night. If it’s Target and a nice restaurant, that counts. And we’ve done that. We did a really great restaurant and then went to Target. So we were all in our fancy clothes in Target. I loved it. It was really fun. I was like, “This is so us.”
That sounds like a high school prom night, when a group of friends go to, like, Wal-Mart after the dance.
Exactly. Or you eat at Denny’s.
Switching subjects, during hiatus you’re going to be working on the American Pie sequel, right?
Yes. American Reunion.
What have they told you about the plot or what you’ll be up to other than the reunion aspect?
Well, it’s the high school reunion, and it’s really good. The Harold and Kumar guys are writing and directing it, and they’re huge fans of the franchise. I met with them right before they were going to write the script, and they had great ideas. They came through with flying colors. We have the table read next week, and that will be fun. It will be the first time I see them in…however many years it’s been.
Yeah. It’s funny. Our paths haven’t crossed, so it will feel like a high school reunion.
Follow Sandra on Twitter: @EWSandraG