Monday, April 1, 2002
Updated: April 3, 11:07 AM ET
Page 2 staff
Learn this, Jay Mohr. You get your own show, that's big time. You do Page 2's 10 Burning Questions, that makes you a star. Just see what we did for "Inside Schwartz," "Summer Catch" or "The Tick" or ... ummm ...
Anyway, the 32-year-old standup comedian first gained national notice on "Saturday Night Live" before moving on to co-star in Jeff Foxworthy's sitcom and eventually serving as host of MTV's "Lip Service." Mohr made the jump to the big screen with "Jerry Maguire" and spent the next six years on the big screen with roles in "Suicide Kings," "Go" and "Pay It Forward." He'll soon appear in "Simone" with Al Pacino.
Page 2's Ray Holloman caught up with Mohr to talk about his new sports talk show, "Mohr Sports," which debuted at 10 Tuesday night on ESPN following a repeat performance of the ESPN movie, "A Season on the Brink."
Here's hoping he does as well as the last man who followed Bob Knight.
1. Page 2: When "Mohr Sports" premieres on ESPN, which ESPN trademark
are you gonna borrow -- Dick Vitale's baldness, Stu Scott's "boo-yah" or Chris Connelly's "my jeans don't quite fit right" vibe?
Jay Mohr: We, of course, thought of all of those, but we're trying to stay completely autonomous of ESPN, be a self-contained entity. ESPN original programming has Original in the title, and that's what we're trying to do.
Down the line, I can't wait for the NFL draft ... Mel Kiper Jr. is just a sketch waiting to happen. But at the moment, we're not going to get any
handouts or help from ESPN. And we mean that in the nicest possible way.
You used to do a Dick Vitale impersonation back on "Saturday Night Live."
Have you run into Vitale and run the impression by him?
Mohr: I've never met Dick. We almost met -- one time our appointments were
half an hour apart at Pearle. If I ever met him, we'd probably just talk about New Jersey.
2. What's up with all the comedians flocking to sports stuff these days?
You guys are like a Russian hockey player after Anna Kournikova.
Mohr: Except we're circumcised. But I think it's a natural progression,
given comics are sports fanatics. And yes, fanatics meaning we have a
sickness. When you only work an hour a night at Uncle Chucky's Spuckle Hut in Idaho, you watch a lot of SportsCenter.
3. Who should we put money on to be the first guy to go Chris Evert on you, as Jim Everett did with your buddy Jim Rome?
Mohr: I don't know, but I do know that there'll be counterpunches thrown,
because the cameras are there and I'm not gonna get laughed at.
And when I say that, I am not criticizing Jim (Rome). People think that Jim was just being a jerk, but he got the Chris Evert idea from guys on the Rams, who said he should call him Chris Evert and see how it evolves. Jim's a pretty sharp guy, he wasn't trying to start anything, he was just being a host.
4. As a lifelong Knicks fan and an actor on the "in" in Hollywood, we
here at Page 2 were hoping you could solve a little mystery for us. Was Jeff Van Gundy the inspiration for Bill Murray's hairstyle in "Kingpin"?
Mohr: I think we all wonder that. But the one thing you can say about Van
Gundy is he doesn't have hair in a can. Gene Keady has black wooden spray in
a can. You can actually go to the vaults of ESPN and see him practically without hair, and now look at him.
5. What's more degrading, pretending to be Ricki Lake or pretending to be
related to Jeff Foxworthy's brother on the sitcom "The Jeff Foxworthy Show"?
Mohr: Doing Ricki Lake ... what made that degrading was getting undressed
between skits pretty much in front of the crowd. I had to do a switch over
from Ricki Lake to Tony Bennett, and there was no time to take off the
costume in private, so they just strip you like at Maaco, on the side of the
stage. People were leaning over the railing looking down. I only had two
minutes to do it. So you're just standing there in stockings and a wig, and
people are staring at you.
Haley Joel Osment appeared in that show seven years ago. What was he, like
Mohr: He's actually 33 years old now, so he was 25 at the time. He's fully
grown and a graduate of Brown University, where he wrestled in the 45-pound
weight class. He won by forfeit. I will say though, that kid knows how to take a punch. I gave him all I had, and he barely wobbled.
|Jeff Van Gundy|
We're not saying that it was a bad show or anything, but did you ever get
to thinking, "You might be on a dead-end sitcom if ..."?
Mohr: The longest sitcom in the world is about 10 years, so everything is
perspective. I would've been thrilled to play Jeff Foxworthy's little brother
for 10 years then. But now, I've got no interest in TV. I was coming from
"SNL," where I felt like I wasn't being utilized at all. And suddenly I'm in
every show, making five times as much ... it was all a bet I made and I'm
fine with it. Of course, if I was interested in doing that now, it would probably mean that I had a crack problem.
6. You recently finished filming "Simone," with Al Pacino. How cool is it
to work with Al Pacino? Is there anybody in Hollywood who has a bigger wow!
factor than Michael freakin' Corleone?
Mohr: Tom Cruise. When you meet Tom Cruise, you realize that there is nothing
Tom Cruise could do for a living other than be the biggest star in the world.
If Tom Cruise pumped gas at a Chevron station in Wisconsin, he would still be a movie star.
"Jerry Maguire" was my first film, and there I am sitting across from Tom
Cruise, having to fire him. I'm just hoping to get lines right. By the time I
got to working with Pacino, the intimidation factor was gone. Being
intimidated erodes on "SNL," because every week there's some big star
entirely on your turf. It's somebody like Kurt Cobain or John Malkovich
asking such simple stuff like where to get food or a pencil ... and that prepares you for not drooling when you meet Al Pacino.
But the best part of working with Pacino was while we were filming the Oscars, and we had about 1,000 extras in Long Beach Convention Center, and Al walks in and asks in this huge loud voice, "Is that moron Jay Mohr still here?" I knew I had made it then.
Eddie Murphy is still the most intimidating person I've
ever worked with. During breaks in filming, comedians tell jokes to kill the
time. What the hell joke are you going to tell Eddie Murphy? I just started reading from "The Old Man and The Sea."
7. You were on the wrestling team in high school. How soon do wrestlers
learn the "Oh, my hand really wasn't there, think of two pillows, two
Mohr: You have to keep this in mind -- and I'd like to once and for all put
this on the record -- that when you're wrestling another man, as gay as you
may look and as close as you may get to another guy, your whole motivation is
that you're going to kick his ass. Every place your arm, your hand or your
face may go, it's all to make that guy go flat on his back like a fish in
front of his parents.
8. You were in "Jerry Maguire" as evil agent extraordinaire Bob Sugar.
Do you and your manager have a relationship like that?
Mohr: My manager and I are like an old married couple. Barry Katz. He signed
me at 18, so it's kind of incestuous, but not in that Celine Dion kind of way.
You are aware that, shortly after defending your manliness in the
wrestling question, you became the first person in the history of 10 Burning Questions to compare themselves to Celine Dion.
Mohr: Yikes. My wife and I were sitting at home and watching Celine Dion, and realized that we're the same age but, damn, she looks a little raggedy. Celine Dion looks like Sigourney Weaver on a two-week crack binge ... and
then she married her agent. The guy looks like Santa. She married him, and
then said she had known him since she was 12. Do I need to know that? That
means he was ... yech. My question is where was her publicist on that one.
Publicists are supposed to make things sound good. The guy you married, you
knew each other when you were 12, that doesn't put good mental pictures together.
Now being the veritable stud factory that Page 2 is, we know what this is
like, but for the rest of America, what was it like on the set of Jerry
Maguire, hanging out with a guy in Tom Cruise that every woman you met wanted to sleep with?
Mohr: The amazing thing about Tom Cruise is what a great guy he is on the
set, how he's nice to everyone and just a professional. In the morning when
he comes in, he knows everyone's name. He always has a smile on his face.
And whether he's dealing with a co-star or a grip or a fluffer, they all get
the same treatment.
And to answer America's big two questions:
(1) He's not gay.
(2) He's 5-9. I know people want to say otherwise, but I was with him every
day for four months. "But my cousin was in this massage parlor in Rio once
and ..." or "a friend of a cousin saw him." He's 5-9 and he's straight, deal
with it. And if he did come out of the closet, every guy in America would
breathe a huge sigh of relief that he's off the market.
9. So you starred in "Picture Perfect" with Jennifer Aniston. With the
exception of "Office Space," what's more likely to last longer, a movie
starring a "Friends" cast member or the last bag of Doritos after a Cowboys
party at Nate Newton's house?
Mohr: I'm gonna have to go with the Doritos. Those movies ... they're just not good. Hey, why don't you ask me what it was like working with Jennifer Aniston?
OK. Hey, Jay, what was it like to work with Jennifer Aniston?
Mohr: I really loved working with Tom Cruise.
Is she 5-9, too?
Mohr: I don't know. I never took my eyes off her ass.
10. If you could invite any three people to dinner -- living or dead --
who would they be and why?
Mohr: Damn. I've always wanted to be asked this and I'm blanking. I think I'd
invite Malcolm X, to hear his thoughts on black America today. I'd have Charles Spikowski ... and ... Bono. Bono is so cool that you could have sex with him, and your friends wouldn't even call you gay. They'd be like, "So what's he like?"