That one time I almost killed Jay Mohr (part 5)

Jay asking us questions we will never answer

THE INTERMISSION GAME

If you have been following along, thanks. But as I have said before the show has evolved and keeps evolving. In our attempt to differentiate the show from just a bunch of comics playing Quiplash we have come up with dividing the show into sections.

  1. Pre Show. Pre recorded bits from the actors or writers.
  2. The Question we are going to ask all the comics to answer after I introduce them.
  3. Show set up, teaching the audience how to watch the show (this is still out biggest challenge).
  4. The Monologue (this is the 90 seconds between when I hit start and the comics actually get a prompt. We decided this was a good place to do monologue jokes. This gives the writers a chance to flex a muscle a lot of them have an itch for. But also fills this weird hole we are slaves to because we don’t have our own software.
  5. The Show, that includes audience play along/ challenges to do during the 90 seconds the comics are writing their punchlines.
  6. The Intermission Game
  7. Rise Repeat till Fin.

The idea for the intermission game was to 1. Let folks get a fresh drink, boths the actors and the audience. and 2. Palate cleanser. Gives us a chance to incorporate Improv bits, or Trivia, or whatever. We change it almost every week.

We have done a few weeks where we dub over a movie clip. I think it hit the sweet spot the second time we tried it. Usually, Tim (my writer, graphics, video, voice-over, stand in stage manager, all around amazeballs guy) finds us Copywrite-free propaganda video we can use. The writers and I decided we wanted to find a video with Jay. Now here are some bits we came up with that never happened.

  1. Can we find a Jay Mohr themed porno. Not a porno Jay was in (but if you find that forward it to me immediately) but someone playing Jay or one of his past movie characters. We could strip out the sex and make them dub over it.
  2. Can anyone find a commercial he did when he was a teen or younger. Not sure if there are any out there but let’s look
  3. Maybe we could do a “Read Mean Tweets” But we can make Jay read mean tweets about the cast members.

We landed on a sitcom clip I found of him pretty young. I am not even sure what the show is, but it was the only clip I could find that wasn’t so badly distorted because of the low res quality. He is sitting on a chair sighing in a over top sitcom way. Then leaves. So we know right away he is coming back. The next part is a young Jerry O'Connell talking to a young Hilary Swank talking. Then some MidWest hot 90’s Mom pops in (that I am too lazy to Google and look up, at least for this first draft). She spins around in a cute dress. She must be going on a date. Young Jay Mohr returns holding a generic brand of Captain Crunch. I am not sure why that is important to this show's storyline. Jay stares at Hot Mom’s chest while hugging the cearl box. She leaves the scene over. It is pretty quick. Under two min. Everyone is always complaining the intermission game is too long. So I kept it short and sweet.

No one but the writers knows what the clip is. And only the afternoon writers know.

Matt had picked Jay and Sommer to do the intermission game. I could tell Sommer’s edibles were just kicking in. I could tell Jay did not want to do a fucking Improv game. But here we are. So I say “I am going to show you a video clip and you guys have to dub all the characters and sounds” Jay replies “Maybe we should cast this.” I clap back “Go fuck yourself Jay Mohr.”

Side step. This was NOT a playful go fuck yourself Jay Mohr. Something very primal happened. This was a go fuck yourself to every white guy I have ever pitched a joke to and they try to change it before we even try it. That is what that fuck you was. And I think he felt it. He blinked twice like he just took one between the eyes. I was trying to get the tech working, but the track pad kept hiding the mouse. Note to self buy a mouse for the show. So as I try to get the tech back up he says “Hey Angie.” We all stop what we are doing and look at Jay, waiting for him to set any of us up for a tag. He says “You go fuck yourself.” Great now I am in a school yard fight with Jay Mohr. I lean into the camera and say “Trust me Jay Mohr, later tonight I will.” Now this was me trying to lob up a masturbation joke. Trying to lean into the Daddy shit I was doing earlier. I don’t think he got it. I think he was trying to steer to a different bit. I am still not sure. We didn’t feel in sync at all. He kept rubbing the top of his head like he was trying to stave off a headache. At some point he says kind of quietly “Yeah sure, I have no questions at all about this.” He was being sarcastic. I was not paying attention because the fucking mouse wouldn’t move. I repeat to him “You have no questions. Good.” Then I look at him, he looks like he is going to throw up. I say (thinking I am clever) “You smelling burnt toast there Jay, you having a stoke buddy?”

Side step. This is a joke he said to me on the phone. I can’t remember what we were talking about but he said “Am I having a stroke, I think I smell burnt toast”. Now the first time he said it to me I was trying so hard to be a cool kid comic I tried really hard to add a tag. “Does your mouth taste like pennies” I said. He had no idea what I was talking about. It was a line from a play I was in years ago where the Mayor Daley character is having a heart attack and he says “My mouth tastes like pennies”. That line always made me laugh so of course I am going to steal it and sell it as my own at this moment. It ended up being an awkward transition back to a normal conversation. So I guess this was my way of telling him I heard this joke…by repeating it back to him. None of this make sense as I break it down. The guy looks sick, so I jokingly say “What sissy you sick, can I make you sicker?”

I start the video. The second he sees his younger self he laughs so hard he stands up then sits back down. Can I count this as making Jay Mohr laugh? Not sure, I will give you a score at the end of the series. He and Sommer try to stumble through the game. Jay is trying to play but Sommer is high and is just commenting on everyone’s hair and outfits. I am finding this all very funny. This is my favorite moment.

They finish. We banter. We never banter at intermission. We shit talk then get back in the game. No we bantered. Jay still wanted to know how the points worked. We still all talked over his question and no one really answered him. We start the second half of the game. I jump in with the rest of the monologue jokes. None about Jay this time. We are off to the races. I see Jay’s computer get blurry. Like he put on a filter. I could see it was still on, but we couldn’t hear anything. I thought maybe he got a phone call or his kid walked in. But then he left the Zoom meeting.

I was a little shocked. Did we piss him off. Maybe I roasted him too hard. Maybe he didn’t like that I told him to fuck himself. Oh no. I read a question and text him while the actors are bantering.

“Did we piss you off? I am sorry we were just messing around. We all really love you.”

No reply. I call him, he doesn’t pick up. I can’t remember if I left a voice mail. I Facetime him. He doesn’t answer. I text his assistant. “Did we piss off Jay, he just left the show?”

I am doing all of this in-between questions. I fight to finish the show. We wave goodbye and sign off. I tell the cast he isn’t responding.

Right away the ladies say “I hope he is ok.” yeah, me too. The guys all chime in “He had a good time, something came up. He was having fun.” I say “I did tell him to go fuck himself.” Steve said “Yeah then you called him Daddy and tried to eye fuck him. I think he is fine. The way the two of you were riffing I thought you knew each other for 10 years.” I continued to think I pissed him off.

I finished my after show drink with the cast. I did text Jay again while we were on.

“The show is done but we hang in the zoom…can you come back and let me apologize?”

“So we are logging off hope everything is ok. I am really sorry if we went too far. I do really adore you.

I crawled in bed with hubby to vent about the show. He hates that. He is always “It was a good show, stop. No show is perfect, stop.” He says to me, write him an email. Say sorry then it is up to him to reply, you said your peace.” I liked that plan. Especially since it game from my hubby. It felt like, ok he is sane and telling me to do this. So that feels ok”.

I wake up in the morning and write the following email:

Jay,

I am so sorry I didn’t set you up for a better show, I own that wholeheartedly. I should have had you do a rehearsal before the show. And I am sorry we roasted you so hard, we were all overly compensating for being in the presence of such an awesome comedian. I feel awful that you left, and I could tell you weren’t enjoying yourself. If there is anything I can do it make it up to you please let me know. You really are a comedy hero to all of us. In case you want to look back on it here is the show: https://youtu.be/Lwbq2nwy18c

I am also happy to edit or delete anything you like. Again I am so sorry, you deserved to be treated better than we did. I hope you can forgive me.

Stay safe.

Angie

Steve was pissed I wrote that. I shared it with him and he kepts saying “He had fun, you have nothing to apologize for, no way did we go hard at him. We didn’t say anything to him we wouldn't have said to each other…except the Daddy stuff, can we not do that again…uncomfortable.” Steve works with celebrities all the time on his internet show. So he actually knows a thing or two about celebrity interviews going sideways.

I felt week. Like I just lost someone. Not a close friend or family member. It was like when you find out that guy you met one time at your cousin BBQ died. You only had one afternoon with him, but when you hear it you go numb. Depending on how nice a conversation you had with him is how long the numbness last. This felt like two days tops. I was aware of what my body was doing. Eating its own thoughts. Beating myself up for letting everyone down. Knowing I didn’t really let anyone down. But I felt like I did. Like when you use to get in trouble with your parents for being caught in a lie.

It was 2:30 Chicago time. So 12:30 L.A. Time. I texted Jay:

Come on man, I feel terrible. Can you at least tell me to fuck off or something?

Ten minutes later he replied.

Angie McMahon is a Faculty Member at The Second City in Chicago where she teaches Stand Up, Storytelling, and Sketch Comedy writing. She hosts a weekly online