Part of Hank Azaria wasn’t quite ready to let go of rude baseball announcer Jim Brockmire, a character he affectionately calls a “lewd freak.”
Thus, less than a year after the last episode of the offbeat TV series “Brockmire” broadcast on the IFC channel, comes “The Jim Brockmire Podcast”, promising a rediscovery of the character’s wacky roots.
“It’s sort of a throwback to the frivolous, fun, silly version of the character who pokes fun at everyone and everything and himself,” Azaria said.
The half-hour podcast features sports and entertainment guests including Charles Barkley, Joe Buck, Don Cheadle, Steve Cohen, Colin Cowherd, Rich Eisen, Jemele Hill, Dan Patrick, Ben Stiller and Joy Taylor.
Guests can expect questions about the week’s sports headlines and “Between Two Ferns” type send-offs, as well as a “frivolous” gaming section. Barkley will play a game called “Did Shaq Endorse It?” in which Brockmire throws in the names of the commercial items, and Barkley must choose whether his fellow Hall of Famer endorsed it.
“It’s definitely a comedy, and it kind of works whether we have people who are a bit into the joke and like to play the game or completely play it straight – it works just as well,” said Azaria.
In the four-season IFC series “Brockmire,” Azaria increasingly evolved from sports and youthful humor. The final season saw the character sober, married, a father, and struggling with the meaning of life and a brain disorder in a dystopian future.
“We told the story we wanted to tell, and it was kind of done,” Azaria said. “It was an easy transition. We didn’t even really have to think about it.
Over the years, Azaria had promoted his IFC show on numerous sports talk shows, so the idea of bringing the character back to his wacky sports roots came naturally.
“It sort of organically developed into, ‘Well, why don’t we just reverse it and have Brockmire host these guys? Because we’ve done it so many times? And so far, it works very well.
Producer Sheena Datt guides the show — or, as Azaria describes it, she’s Robin Quivers to her Howard Stern. The two often get into sports conversations, and at one point he told her she should be a co-host. Datt says the show is kind of a homecoming.
“Honestly, I think a podcast is such a good format because it’s Hank, and all about Brockmeier is his voice. What better way to keep him alive?” she asks. “This interesting mix of sports and unfiltered inner monologue coming out – it’s funny.”
Azaria, a New York sports enthusiast, 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 runs like “Some might call this ball Istanbul, but I call it Gone-stantinople!”
“There’s something incredibly comforting about that kind of generic 1970s sportscaster voice. And then it’s kind of funny to hear a guy talk like that if he’s talking about sex and drugs and rock and roll,” Azaria said.
Away from Brockmire, six-time Emmy Award-winning Azaria starred opposite Liev Schreiber in Showtime’s “Ray Donovan” and is well known for portraying more than 100 characters on “The Simpsons,” including owner Apu. of an Indian immigrant repairman. Azaria walked away from Apu after many South Asians objected to the cartoon, which the actor is sympathetic to.
“I totally understand comedians who bristle at the idea of what they consider to be censored or having to watch what they say. But I think from a racial and social justice perspective, it’s is completely appropriate,” he said.
“Actors should express their own race, their own ethnicity – if only to give the job to an authentic actor who brings someone who is completely underrepresented in Hollywood to begin with,” he said. . “I don’t need to dive into that, even though in my career I have a lot of history.
As for Brockmire, it’s all Azaria. He jokes that his character gets off much better than Azaria. Not too long ago, the comedian tweeted a joke about how few people attend Pittsburgh Pirates games, and fans got pissed.
“When Brockmire makes fun of the Pirates, it’s fun,” he said. “I can’t even go after the Pittsburgh Pirates involvement as me. Whereas Brockmire can say anything.