Weird science: Paul Rudd to play Einstein in a new play by Alan Alda

The Anchorman cutie will channel one of history’s greatest minds. Which of Rudd’s funny friends is next?

Illustration: Rob Kelly

Today it was announced that for one night next week, Paul Rudd will play iconic genius Albert Einstein in a reading of Alan Alda's Dear Albert. The play, part of the World Science Festival, is based on the father of modern physics's letters, which document not only his preoccupation with mass, energy and relativity, but his romantic travails. Rudd appears alongside Cynthia Nixon and Francesca Faridany. We're sure that the adorable comic star will find a way to temper his goofy instincts and do justice to the man who made E=mc2 a household formula.

Maybe Rudd will even start a trend among comedy stars who want to beef up their CVs with intellectual roles. It's not an exact science, but here are some theoretical contenders.

Billy Connolly: popularised use of the term 'jobby'

Billy Connolly as Sir Isaac Newton

The stand-up Scot could probably get 20 minutes of material from just talking about the apple falling on his head.

Robin Williams

Robin Williams as Thomas Edison

Who else but the mercurial Williams could portray the Wizard of Menlo Park, who held more than a thousand patents?

In the comedy ?Bridesmaids?, KRISTEN WIIG stars as Annie, a maid of honor whose life unravels as she leads her best friend and a group of colorful bridesmaids on a wild ride down the road to matrimony.

Kristen Wiig as Marie Curie

Wiig would totally capture the funny Polish accent and radioactive personality of the Nobel-winning pioneer—and imagine the glow-in-the-dark sight gags!

Don't you just want to squeeze him until he's blue in his bearded face? That's not an autoerotic-asphyxiation joke.

Zach Galifianakis as Charles Darwin

He’s already got the beard and doughy physique—now just put the Between Two Ferns host in a room with a frisky chimp.

Seth Rogen

Seth Rogen as Nikola Tesla

We’re not sure why, but we can’t shake the image of a totally baked Rogen having his mind blown by a Tesla coil.

10. Elf (2003) Will Ferrell's overgrown-child persona hilariously complements this  comedy about a guileless giant elf searching for his dad in NYC, but the  film's focus isn't just on the funny bone. There's an abundance of  heart and soul in ...

Will Ferrell as J. Robert Oppenheimer

Only Ferrell has the gravitas to evoke the imperious father of the atomic bomb, and get laughs from his famous reference to the Bhagavad Ghita, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” Hi-larious.