Even though he's reached the rung of success where he could call all the shots, Jay Mohr still gives the people what they want.
What the people want, of course, is Christopher Walken.
"He has to come out," the comedian says of his most illustrious impersonation, sure to hit the stage during his upcoming run at the Tempe Improv. "I have to usually open with it. If I don't, five minutes in, somebody yells, Do Walken!' So if I do it first, I disarm them. And then they can't yell anything other than Hooray!'"
Considering Mohr has double billing on the summer movie circuit -- he stars in Simone and The Adventures of Pluto Nash -- you'd think the guy might take it easy for a minute or two. Uh, no. Not only is this summer's tour his longest yet, the comedian/sports commentator/movie star is adding still another vocation to his résumé: author. Gasping for Airtime, due out next year, chronicles Mohr's stint on Saturday Night Live, which included friendship with Chris Farley ("He was beautiful"), panic attacks ("I went totally craaazy") and substance abuse ("I drank three bottles of Nyquil a day; I had to go to AA to get off the Nyquil").
So he's done the movies (even one with Chris Walken!). Starred in a couple of TV shows. Married an ex-model. Is writing the book. What's left?
"I wanna coach Little League," Mohr says. "Reeeeally bad. Just teach 12-year-old kids fundamentals and teamwork and take them out for pizza. . . . That, to me, would be smashing success -- more than any of this Hollywood bullshit."
The little boys of summer will have to wait. These days, Mohr is loving the limelight -- "Standup is the most fun ever" -- and raring to return to the Improv.
"Tempe is just like goin' home," he says. "It's so much fun. . . . The crowd's great; no one's gettin' into fights or vomiting in the lobby. It's class all the way."
Hmm . . . sounds like a challenge to the Valley's argumentative, queasy-bellied masses. Let's make this a stop Jay's sure to remember.