alan alda 30 rock 4 Alan Alda Talks 30 Rock, MASH Reboot & Life As A TV Legend

On the changes in the TV making process since MASH:

“The process is more or less the same, but 30 Rock is unusual among modern shows in that it’s shot like a movie. We did the same on MASH. You can do things in this way of working that you can’t in front of an audience.”

On his favorite MASH episode:

“I always get asked [that]: no single favorite. I like the most the ones [where] we told stories in a different way like the dreams episode… those shows that were very different. We took a risk and shook up the format. The audience was generous, and let us play around with the format. One of the pleasures of watching the show was seeing what we were doing next.”

On the new life form NASA announced (Alda has a strong interest in science):

“I discovered it first in my shoe. I’m curious to read more about it. Interested in seeing where it goes from here. They may find more kinds of life on this planet, maybe even find intelligent life.”

On Four Seasons:

“One of the very happiest times in my memory. It was a script that came out of experiences in my life. Two of our daughters were in the movie and it probably turned out better than any other picture I wrote or directed.”

On Bill Hader’s SNL impression of him:

“He’s very talented, but when I hear my own voice, I can’t really recognize the way I speak and I can’t really give you an opinion. I lost some of my hearing from being in the army, and I don’t recognize my own voice. I actually sound like Laurence Olivier.”

On which TV show he would do if he could go back in time:

“Probably would have been really fun to be on The Honeymooners or Lucy, they were groundbreaking shows. Jackie Gleason would read the script from home, not show up for rehearsal, then go live and improv. Not showing up at rehearsal isn’t very nice, so, then again, I don’t think I want to be on the Honeymooners. If I ever get asked, I’m going to say no.”

On his secret to creativity in a multi-tasking world:

“Pressure comes at you sometimes, and the only way I could deal with it is to not think of anything but what you’re doing at the time. Whatever you’re doing deserves the attention you have. It drives me nuts when you’re with someone, usually a young person, and they’re texting when you’re having a conversation. You can’t do two things at once. I hope I said that right because I’m playing chess on the computer while we’re talking.”

On the impact he’s had on pop culture:

“I don’t think about it, just sort of semi-aware of it. When we were in the midst of doing MASH, we had no idea what we were doing. The night the show ended, we drove through the streets and they were empty. We didn’t quite understand the impact the show had until then.”

On doing a remake or reboot of MASH: “

“No. We did the best we could and our time has past and what we did should be left as it is. I’d hate to see it raked over again. Somebody said they wanted to do a remake of Wizard of Oz. That’s nuts!”

30 Rock airs Thursday night at 8:30 on NBC.

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