NEW YORK (AP) – A part of Hank Azaria wasn’t ready to let go of foul-mouthed baseball announcer Jim Brockmire, a character he affectionately calls a “debauched freak.”
So less than aepisode of the off-beat TV series “Brockmire” aired on the IFC channel comes “The Jim Brockmire Podcast,” promising a recapturing of the character’s zany roots.
“This is sort of more returning to the frivolous, fun, silly version of the character that’s making fun of everybody and everything and himself,” Azaria said.
The half-hourand entertainment, including Joe Buck, Don Cheadle, Steve Cohen, Colin Cowherd, Rich Eisen, Jemele Hill, Dan Patrick, Ben Stiller, and Joy Taylor. The first guest is on Wednesday’s debut.
Guests can expect questions about the week’s sports headlines, a “Between Two Ferns” type send-ups, and a “frivolous” game section. Barkley willcalled “Did Shaq Endorse It?” in which Brockmire throws out the names of commercial items, and Barkley has to choose if his Hall of Fame colleague endorsed it.
a comedy, and it sort of works whether we have folks on who are kind of in on the joke and like to play along or who are just completely playing it straight – it works just as well,” Azaria said.
On the four-season IFCand juvenile humor. The last season saw the character sober, married, a father, wrestling with life’s meaning, and a brain disorder in a dystopian future. “We told the story we wanted to tell, and it was kind of done,” said Azaria. “It was an easy transition. We didn’t even have to think about it.”
Over the years, Azaria had promoted his IFC show on plenty of sports talk shows, so returning the character to its jokey sports roots came naturally.
“It sort of organically grew into, ‘Well, why don’t we reverse it and have Brockmire host these guys? Because we’ve done it so many times?’ And so far, it’s working well.”
Producer Sheena Datt is guiding the show along – or as Azaria describes it, she is Robin Quivers to his Howard Stern. The two often get into sports conversations, and at some point, he told her she should be a co-host. Datt says the show is a homecoming of sorts.
“I honestly think a podcast is such a good format because it’s Hank, and the whole thing about Brockmeier is his voice. What better way to keep him alive?” she asks. “That interesting blend of sports and unfiltered inner monologueis funny.”
An avid New York sports fan, Azaria based his character on former Big Apple broadcasters Bob Murphy and Phil Rizzuto. His Brockmire wears a plaid jacket and has a voice that sounds like a mix of bourbon and butter, announcing home-run calls like, “Some might Istanbul, but I call it Gone-Constantinople!”
“There’s something incredibly comforting about that kind of just down-the-middle generic sportscaster voice from the 1970s. And then it’s funny hearing a guy talk like that if he’s talking about sex, drugs, and rock and roll,” said Azaria.
Away from Brockmire, the six-time Emmy Award-winning Azaria has starred alongside Liev Schreiber on Showtime’s “Ray Donovan” and is well known for voicing over 100 characters on ”The Simpsons,” including Indian immigrant convenience store owner Apu. Azariafrom Apu after many South Asians objected to the caricature, sympathetic to the actor.
“I understand comedians bristling at what they see as being censored or having to watch what they say. But I think it’s completely appropriate from a racial and social justice standpoint,” he said.
“Actors should voice their race, their ethnicity – if not for no other reason than let’s give the job to an authentic actor who’s bringing someone who is completely underrepresented in Hollywood, to begin with,” he said. “I don’t need to dip into that, even though I have a lot in my career in the past.”
As for Brockmire, that’s all Azaria. He jokes that his character gets away with much more than Azaria can. Not long ago, the comedian tweeted a joke about how few people attend Pittsburgh Pirates games, and fans got upset. “When Brockmire is making fun of the Pirates, that’s fun,” he said. “I can’t even go after the Pittsburgh Pirates attendance as me. Whereas Brockmire can say whatever.”
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits.
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