David Hyde Pierce Has Neither Advice for Clay Aiken Nor Patience for Us

Photo: Photos: Getty Images, FilmMagic

So what does Curtains star David Hyde Pierce think of Clay Aiken, who's taking over his memorable role in Spamalot? We asked him last night outside the Rainbow Room, before he joined Sutton Foster and husband-wife team of singer Jessica Molaskey and jazz musician John Pizzarelli in a cabaret performance at a benefit dinner for Manhattan Theatre Club. Is DHP a Claymate? Had he seen Aiken in the role yet? No, he hadn't, he said, a little bit chilly in a very Niles Crane kind of way. And he very likely wouldn't, because they performed at exactly the same times. Would sassy, brassy Gotham knock the aw-shucksness out of Clay, as suggested by Ariel Levy's furiously debated profile in this week's New York? "To be honest, I don't know him that well," said DHP, retreating into an ever chillier, Waspier internal sarcophagus, "so I don't know about his aw-shucksness."

By now, we could see our breath in the arctic freeze he was emitting, but, like Admiral Peary, we forged on: Did he perhaps give Clay some tips over the phone? "No. I sent him a note on his opening night saying, 'Hope you had a good time.'" So what was the secret to playing cowardly knight Sir Robin that Clay had to know? "It sounds like he's doing pretty well in it," he said. "I don't think he needs any advice from me. He's got a lot of people coming to see it, and I think they're going nuts for him."

Yeah, we said, Clay's the kind of guy that screaming women throw their underwear to! Had anyone ever tossed underpants at David Hyde Pierce? "No," he replied. Then, in a voice so dry our lips chapped: "I'm still hoping." —Tim Murphy

Earlier: Clay Aiken Is the Ron Paul of the Entertainment World
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