05/21/2008 02:37 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Inappropriate Questions for Alan Alda

Alan Alda really likes science. Like a lot. Who knew? I caught up with him electronically ahead of the World Science Festival to talk about loincloths, physicists and Paris Hilton.

1) Can I call you "Hawkeye"?
Sure. Just not to my face.

2) If I can't call you "Hawkeye," is there another one-word nickname I can call you?
I've always thought it would be fun to be called "Yourworship." If you say it really fast, it sounds like one word.

3) How come people always cast you as politicians? Why are they always Republicans?
I think I've played politicians a lot on film because I look slightly better in a suit than a loincloth. But I've played both Democrats and Republicans.

4) So, is there anything funny about science? Cause it seems really boring.
Then the World Science Festival was made for you. There are going to be 40 events all over [New York City] for 4 days. Some you'll actually laugh at, like...stories about experiments that have gone wrong. Brian Greene talking about Quantum Weirdness might tickle your risibilities, too. (Have you ever had them tickled weirdly and quantumly?) And there's going to be a free, fun street fair at Washington Square on Saturday May 31, where kids can interact with an actual robot, meet Miss Frizzle from the Magic School bus, listen to a rap artist who does rap on biochemical themes, and a whole lot more. Are you laughing yet? If not, then come see me in a reading of QED, the play about Richard Feynman, who was pretty much the most entertaining physicist who ever lived.

5) Did you learn any useful science while playing a doctor?
When I had to have a emergency operation in the middle of the night in a small town in Chile, the doctor said, "Some of your intestine has gone bad. We're going to have to cut out the bad part and sew the two good ends together." I said, "Oh, you're going to do an end to end anastomosis." He said, "How do you know that?!" I said, "Oh, I did many of them in MASH." That was pretty useful.

6) You've said that science is beauty, but I'm partial to Clive Owen. Thoughts?
There's actually a study going on right now at MIT in which they're trying to figure out this bizarre craving you have for Clive Owen.

7) You've been with your wife, for like forever, how come you haven't gotten divorced three times and slept with Paris Hilton like everyone else in the movies?
I've never even STAYED at the Paris Hilton, let alone slept there. You say it's popular with movie people? Maybe my wife and I will try it next time we're in France. Thanks for the tip.