However, his role as Stuart Price in the movie directed by Todd Phillips (Joker) catapulted him to a new level of fame.
In a recent episode of the Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend podcast, Helms spoke about the “overwhelming” anxiety he faced after the film became a smash hit.
“It was a tornado of fame and a lot of buffeting,” Helms said of his career post-Hangover. “It was very overwhelming.”
He continued: “I really was reeling a lot of the time, like in the aftermath of The Hangover… I was getting scripts for all these different kinds of projects. ‘Like what do I do? I dunno.’ I was kind of spinning out and panicking about different things. Like, ‘Well, what kind of a career do you want?’”
Helms added that he “definitely felt a lot of anxiety and like identity kind of – just turmoil”.
Luckily, Helms’s co-stars, Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis, were going through the same jump in status at the same time.
“If it wasn’t for those guys, I don’t think I would’ve stayed sane,” he said. “But we all had each other to kind of commiserate and measure ourselves... and I think we kept each other [from] drifting too far, and being too unprofessional.”
He concluded: “One of the craziest things about a massive jump into fame like that – and what I think people who have never dealt with that or been close to it just can’t understand – is the just total loss of control of your environment.”
Helms starred as the apprehensive dentist Stuart for two subsequent Hangover movies released in 2011 and 2013, neither of which was as well critically received as the original.