Speaking to the New York Post, Van Der Beek explained that he is playing a different version of himself.
"I'm not really playing myself," he said. "I'm playing an actor named James Van Der Beek who is single, living in New York and using the fact I was on Dawson's Creek to get laid.
"In real life, I'm married, have a baby and live in LA, so it's not really me, but it's much funnier for TV the other way."
Van Der Beek admitted that he "thought a long time about [the show] before saying yes", but added: "It was the funniest script I read all pilot season. It's crazy not to associate yourself with talented people and everyone on this show is brilliant. If I didn't jump on board this ship, why even consider comedy?
"I just decided to go for it - I could have played an actor with a different name, but there's so much more material if I play me. We get to make Dawson's Creek jokes, Varsity Blues jokes and it's more fun that way."
Van Der Beek also revealed that he is not worried about being the butt of jokes on the show.
"I told the writers, 'Don't worry about insulting me, let's go for what's funny'," he said. "And truthfully, the meanest stuff about me comes from me pitching ideas!"
Don't Trust The Bitch In Apartment 23, which is in contention for ABC's 2011-2012 season, also stars Dreama Walker and Krysten Ritter.
> James Van Der Beek teases 'Apartment 23'