James Van Der Beek is perfectly internet optimized.
"Go to Google, bro. Google 'crying,' see what comes up," the What Would Diplo Do? star told MTV News at San Diego Comic-Con.
Van Der Beek, who made his name playing the titular Dawson on teen soap Dawson's Creek and then broke the internet with his iconic crying face on the show, is well aware of his meta meme status.
"I worked for six years to come up with a meme," he quipped [around the 5:05 mark]. "I'm a forward thinker. I was like, 'If I shoot 120-something episodes, I bet I can get three quality seconds on a loop. And eventually there's gonna be this thing called the world wide web and people are gonna share that and they're gonna mock each other with it. And I'm not saying I'm a genius, but it worked out. Let's just say it panned out. Always play the long game."
So when it came to post- Creek projects like Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23 and now Viceland's What Would Diplo Do?, in which Van Der Beek plays Diplo, because sure, the former teen heartthrob felt he had paid his dues by making fun of himself.
Even when he was on Dawson's Creek, he said, he would privately acknowledge how ridiculous the phenomenon of the show was, but didn't want to come off as ungrateful.
A few years later, things changed: "Then enough time elapsed and the residual checks dried up and I was like, 'fuck it, I can make fun of this,' and then it became a lot of fun. And then it kind of became the thing to do, so when I stepped in and said, 'I think I can write this, I think I can run this,' I at least had some miles in the saddle doing this like meta, weird celebrity thing so people kind of thought oh yes, he could be the guy to do it."
What Would Diplo Do? premieres on Viceland on August 3.