''The Big Bang Theory'' star and recent Emmy winner tells us about his greatest passions

1 Fighting cancer (hey, every bit helps) Earlier this year, The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons was approached to star in ”Up2 You + Me,” a Web music video for Stand Up to Cancer. ”At that point, I hadn’t even heard of [the event],” he confesses. But he gladly volunteered. ”It doesn’t matter who you are or how you’re involved — if you make any effort, you’re a part of it,” says the actor, who’ll answer phones at the fund-raiser alongside stars like Reese Witherspoon and Stevie Wonder and famous cancer survivors including Christina Applegate, Michael C. Hall, and Maura Tierney.

2 Tickling the ivories
”I have played the piano off and on my entire life,” says Parsons, 37. ”I’m working very diligently on learning Claude Debussy’s ‘Clair de Lune.’ I play other things — this morning I was practicing the theme from Taxi. But I do think I have an affinity for classical music. Not only is it beautiful, but I enjoy the melodic complication of it. It’s a problem to be solved, and I enjoy that puzzle.”

3 Working with Mayim Bialik
The former Blossom star, a Ph.D. in neuroscience, appears on The Big Bang Theory this season as Sheldon’s quasi-love interest. ”She’s so damn smart,” says Parsons. ”I think she understands the dialogue better than any of us do.”

4 Correcting people’s misconceptions about Texas
”I try to explain, having grown up in the suburbs of Houston and having gone to [college] in Houston, done theater in Houston, it’s a major city,” he says. ”I never rode a horse to work.”

5 Going to the Emmys
Unless you have to give an acceptance speech. Then it gets scary. ”I started talking, and words just kept falling out,” says Parsons, who was named Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series at the Aug. 29 ceremony. ”That was the only thing I was cognizant of: I was like, ‘This isn’t going well.’ But I couldn’t stop talking!”

Stand Up to Cancer airs Sept. 10 at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. Central) on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and many cable channels