For years James Van Der Beek has been known simply as "Dawson." His face and shiny smile have been associated with the 90s hit show "Dawson's Creek" forever more. But where other stars spend lifetimes trying to undo their most famous on-screen personas, Van Der Beek has spun what could've been a disastrous pigeonhole in to something we can all laugh about. He even played a pompous, self-absorbed character named James Van Der Beek for the ABC sitcom "Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23."
In a brand new interview with AOL.com's Brian Balthazar, the 37-year-old reveals how taking a direct hit to his ego was a necessary evil. "There's nothing better than laughing at yourself. When you're lucky enough to experience the crazy success I stepped when I hit my early twenties I think there's always a tendency to kind of get precious about that. Then the years kind of wear some of that off you as careers ebb and flow. To be able to run towards playing this completely narcissistic, bizarre human being who shared my name was just a great way to take the piss out of any last little vestiges of ego that may have stayed clung to my soul."
Clearly, his willingness to poke fun at himself have worked to his advantage, even making him a viral superstar. One of the lasting memories Van Der Beek left for his "Dawson" fans was the scene known now as the "Dawson cry." Fortunately or unfortunately, the world of social media brought Dawson's wincing, tearful face while saying goodbye to girlfriend Joey (played by Katie Holmes) to the masses as a meme being retweeted and shared the world over. Some stars would've hid, but not Van Der Beek. "To see people mocking each other with it later just really tickled my funny bone. Six years of work boiled down to four seconds of an ugly cry just made me laugh. So I worked with FunnyorDie.com and we decided to run towards it and just make a selection of memes." Van Der Beek admits he's a fan of surreal images created by his fans too. Rest assured, if you draw an image of his head on a penguin's body, he will retweet you on Twitter.
Who knew Dawson had such a great sense of humor? Well, now everyone knows Van Der Beek's funny side. He's making people laugh every week on his new sitcom "Friends With Better Lives" on CBS and he says there may be less ugly crying at his new gig but there will be tears if he can't make people laugh. "If the joke isn't working there's nothing more painful than comedy. But that said, it's a lot easier to laugh all day than it is to cry all day."
Luckily, the laughs seem to be working! Catch Van Der Beek every week on "Friends With Better Lives" Monday nights at 8:30pm on CBS.