Before Jason Segel was cast in How I Met Your Mother, his biggest claim to fame was his role in the short-lived teen comedy-drama Freaks and Geeks. Those who watched both series might have picked up on some references that the NBC sitcom made to its star’s past on Freaks and Geeks. Aside from numerous connections, How I Met Your Mother also featured a number of other Freaks and Geeks veterans.

Freaks and Geeks premiered in 1999 and followed two groups of teens in a suburban town of Detroit as they faced life in high school. Segel played Nick Andopolis, one of the so-called “freaks” and primary love interest of the female lead character, Lindsay Weir. Freaks and Geeks was cancelled in 2000 after just one season, but it has since become a cult classic.


Five years after Freaks and Geeks came to an untimely end, Segel returned to TV in a lead role as Marshall Eriksen in How I Met Your Mother. In many ways, Marshall was like an older version of Nick Andopolis in that the two characters were goodnatured, hopeless romantics with a tendency to be lovable goofballs. Segel’s biggest role to date made sure to pay tribute to the actor’s time on Freaks and Geeks.

Every Freaks And Geeks Actor That Appeared In HIMYM

Besides Segel, four other actors from Freaks and Geeks made appearances on How I Met Your Mother during the sitcom’s run. Here’s a list of every actor and when they appeared in the CBS series.

  • Samm Levine as Phil: In the season 1 episode “Okay Awesome”, Levine played one of the nerds standing in line outside of the nightclub. The actor previously starred as Neal Schweiber, one of Sam Weir’s nerdy friends, in Freaks and Geeks.
  • Martin Starr as Kevin: A few episodes later in “The Duel”, Starr portrayed the Star Trek-loving guy that Robin went on a date with to disprove Barney’s Lemon Law theory. In Freaks and Geeks, Starr played Sam and Neal’s close friend, Bill Haverchuck.
  • Busy Phillips as Rachel: Phillips appeared in the season 3 episode, “Third Wheel,” as the sorority friend of Ted’s love interest, Trudy. The actress played Kim Kelly, a close friend of Nick Andopolis, in Freaks and Geeks.
  • Joanna Garcia as Maggie: The last Freaks and Geeks alum cameoed in the season 5 episode “The Window” as a girl that Ted knew since college that he wanted to date. Garcia played the bossy head cheerleader, Vicki Appleby, in Freaks and Geeks.

The Other Freaks And Geeks References In HIMYM

How I Met Your Mother featured a number of additional references to Freaks and Geeks as well as nods to Segel’s time on the series. In the same episode that featured Levine, Marshall performed an elaborate dance at the nightclub, which closely resembled the same dance Segel’s character did in the Freaks and Geeks series finale. Segel’s Freaks and Geeks character was also a drummer and Marshall envisioned himself playing the drums with his future sons one day. In addition, a season 1 episode mentioned Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, who was a topic of a Freaks and Geeks episode when Nick was upset by the musician’s death. These How I Met Your Mother moments were clearly connections to Segel’s past work.

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