”If I sound funny, it’s because I’m on an (exercise) bike,” Charles Grodin says on the phone from his Connecticut home. ”I’ve got a 7-year-old son, so I have to be up to speed.” That’s not the only reason Grodin needs to keep fit. Beginning Jan. 9, the 59-year-old actor — well known for his slow burns on Johnny Carson’s and David Letterman’s couches — will host his own CNBC talk show in Tom Snyder’s old 10 p.m. slot. So heeere’s Chuck:
What’s the difference between being a good talk-show guest and a good talk-show host? Well, I’ll find out soon. Most of my guest appearances were really acts of me being upset about something. As a host, it’s not an act. I’ll come out more as myself, whatever that is.
Do some viewers take your talk-show tantrums seriously? More people take them seriously than know that I’m kidding. Recently I was on Letterman’s show and during a commercial break I said, ”You know, a lot of people find this unpleasant.” He said, ”Oh, I don’t care about that, and neither do you.” Well, I know he doesn’t — that’s his trademark — but I do.
If you could book anyone from history as a guest, who would it be? You mean and have them be alive? Because no matter how great Jefferson was…Let’s see. I sure would want to hear what Jesus had to say. ”So what’s the deal? Did you do that really?”
Will there ever be a Midnight Run 2? No, they would make more movies with me and a dog, but not with me and De Niro. That’s totally based on money. The Beethoven movies have made $300 million, and Midnight Run took in about $40 million, although I think it’s the best movie I’ve done.
Is it true that you auditioned for the Richard Gere role in Pretty Woman? Yes. I had mixed feelings about the movie. I definitely thought it was a glorification of prostitution, and I had a problem with it. But I was ready to overcome the problem.
Any advice for aspiring talk-show hosts? Well, one of the roads is to be an unpleasant guest. That’d be a ticket. God, I don’t know. I’m still trying to find out how you go to a commercial.