Alan Alda Talks ’30 Rock’, ‘MASH’ Reboot & Life As A TV Legend

Published 4 years ago by

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.”

alan alda 30 rock3 Alan Alda Talks 30 Rock, MASH Reboot & Life As A TV Legend

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.”

30 rock cast Alan Alda Talks 30 Rock, MASH Reboot & Life As A TV Legend

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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  1. You frightened me at first lol thought they were actually making a MASH remake. MASH is one of the very very good shows from it’s era and shouldn’t be touched. It was just excellent television.

    Alda is a great actor, but as a person I can’t stand him. Something like this is fine, but to often he speaks on politics and every time he does I think a little less of him.

    Still good actor and will forever be remember for a brilliant show.

  2. Sorry for giving you a heart attack, Daniel.
    I agree that MASH is one show that shouldn’t even be considered for a remake. Was glad to hear he wouldn’t have any of that.

    Never met the man, but he was awesome during the phone interview.

    • Mark I’ll admit I should of rephrased that better. When I said I don’t like him I didn’t mean he was a mean cruel guy or anything. He is a kind gentle man with a big heart, but he has big mouth and is very preachy about things he doesn’t fully undersands and he tries to use his celebrity to brain wash people in to following his agenda which is against pretty much everything I stand for.

      Still I don’t mean to say he’s a bad man. I just can’t stand him politically and I let that effect my personal opinions of a person to much mostly with Celebs because they take advantage of the mindless publics attachment to them. It’s almost like forcing people because most celeb obsessed people really don’t do any research on anything they just listen to what guys like Tim Robbins or Sean Penn tell them.

  3. Great article. I didn’t realize that he had such a varied career and interesting life. Glad to read that he’ll be back on 30 Rock so I’ll have to DVR the show for sure tonight.

  4. Good interview , always admired him since the series , MASH , first began . I wonder if Alda knows about the series , House , and it’s star , Hugh Laurie , since the medical drama also had a couple of episodes that went beyond it’s usual format ?

  5. Between the film and the TV series, there is too much iconic history for both. No remake would match them and it would fail majorly!

  6. Always loved M.A.S.H., I’ve only seen a couple of films he’s been in, Same Time Next Year was terrific, and the other showed how good he is at playing characters who could be characterised as bastards. That was “And The Band Played On”, a film about the discovery of the AIDS virus, he played a character called Dr Galo, a character I found who was really quite despicable as he was all about self glory.

  7. M*A*S*H is my favorite all time TV show — still watch it every chance I get (one day when I have money, I’ll buy the DVDs.) I admit though, that I’m shocked with the country where its at with the war (remember that? that we’re at war? seems the mainstream media has all but forgotten)that they haven’t tried to emulate M*A*S*H in a modern setting for TV — but I’m not sure that a comedic setting would work so well for this war. For that matter, I think it was Alda’s insistence that they keep a reminder in every episode that made MASH so wonderfully done, so who knows, maybe it could work. But MASH itself should never be touched again.

  8. Hey what about Canadian Bacon when he played the president?

  9. I’ve heard rumors of a MASH movie remake that is already in post production, and is scheduled for release in late 2011. Not a word of it anywhere online but my source seems believable. Anyone else hear anything? There is even word of an Alan Alda cameo.

  10. Alan Alda is a lunatic who insults people’s children with his disgusting birthday changes aka there must be a better way for a surgeon to earn $413.50 a month.

  11. He’s probably collaborating with Bill O’Reilly and his humpty dumpty privacy invading spies.

  12. You owe an apology to a 17 year old girl and to all the families involved.. I doubt we’ll ever get that though …… Because you don’t have the guts……. Coward

  13. I will say that MASH is the funniest show ever put on television. The writers and actors were just fantastic. It’s unfortunate that the show has been used to take advantage of certain individuals personal lives. Shame on you