After three seasons on ”Saturday Night Live,” a slew of supporting roles (”Jerry Maguire,” ”Go”), and a brief shot at bigtime network television (”Action”), where does a sharp-tongued 31-year-old like Jay Mohr land? Opposite Conan O’Brien and Craig Kilborn, that’s where. EW.com caught up with the funnyman to talk about his new late night talk show ”Mohr Sports” (ESPN, Tuesdays, 12:30 a.m.), why he’s fed up with Hollywood, and how he came to forgive ”SNL.”
Why commit to a talk show that prevents you from doing movies for a while?
Getting a movie is hard. When my name comes up for a project, I may be the perfect person for the role but if Brad Pitt agrees to do it, I no longer exist. That happens more than you can imagine. I have no bitterness about it, but how much longer do I have to go in and do my dog and pony act so they can decide whether or not I’m worthy? I don’t want to swim upstream 11 months out of the year. I’d rather go with the flow and do what I love doing — which is this show — and let the movie chips fall where they may.
Tell us about the show It’s a party, and that was the conception — let’s make it a place where you wish you were and we’ll have great jokes in that place.
Who’s watching — only sports fans?
No, everybody. I answer my own e-mail and a lot of women watch the show. Who knows why? It might be the suits that I wear. We’re thrilled to have an enormous female demographic and we’re going to cater to them. The desk piece this week is ”Guys my wife thinks are hot.” It’s all-embracing and it’s a party — so why not invite girls?
So it’s not just a group of sports writers who happen to think they’re funny?
No, we’ve got about five writers and they’re all unique. They’re freaks from absolutely different walks of life. We have redneck freaks; we have Jamaican freaks; we have guys that are probably gonna kill a senator some day working on this show.
What can we expect as far as guests? More than just athletes, we hope.
We’re aggressively going after Hollywood-type guests. We have Green Day, Sheryl Crow, and hopefully Dave Navarro coming up. Lenny Kravitz is interested. We certainly want some Hollywood types, but not for the sake of having Hollywood types. We just want someone we think is cool. We really approach it from the aspect of ”We’re throwing a party — who do we want at our party?”
What’s the deal with Hollywood celebrities getting involved in sports shows these days — is this some sort of evil payback for all the bad Jim Brown and OJ movies?
I think mixing entertainment with sports is a natural progression. When you’re looking for a sportscaster, you look for the most entertaining one. That’s why John Madden is the greatest ever; he’s intriguing, funny, and knows the game. Tom Arnold is on ”The Best Damn Sports Show.” Eight guys give their opinions, then you go to Tom who’s basically a wild card. From an entertainment and television standpoint, that makes a lot of sense.