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''House'' Calling

By RD Heldenfels Published: January 12, 2006

Playboy magazine will have a ''20 Questions'' session with ''House's'' Hugh Laurie in its February issue (on sale tomorrow). Here are some excerpts the magazine sent along:

On being a Clint Eastwood fan: “I grew up in the shadow of Dirty Harry. Yes, I can’t deny it. House has elements of Dirty Harry in the medical world. There was that line ‘That’s the one thing about Harry: He doesn’t play favorites. Harry hates everybody.’”

On which American makes the worst attempt at an English accent: “I suppose at the top of every Englishman’s list would be Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. That would have to be construed as a virtual act of war. I think every Englishman assumed that the only justification for hiring someone that unsuitable to play a cockney chimney sweep was that he could dance like the wind. Sure enough, he did; the chimney-sweep sequence is magnificent. Years later I learned that Van Dyke had never danced before that movie.”**

On why so many characters on House have convulsions and what gives him real life convulsions: “Convulsions are cinematic, whereas strokes are silent, deadly assassins that simply result in, well, basically nothing. I’m going to stand up for the convulsion. Too much politeness gives me convulsions. I think of myself as a reasonably polite person. I say please and thank you; I try to be on time and dress appropriately for the occasion—you know, the basics. But too much politeness makes me jittery- oppressive politeness, people springing to their feet every time someone comes in, people over apologizing. I start to twitch.”

**Laurie's history is off here. Van Dyke not only danced on ''The Dick Van Dyke Show,'' he starred in ''Bye Bye Birdie'' -- all before ''Mary Poppins.''

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