Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Hank Azaria talks Pacino and Heat, while Jim Brockmire comments on MLB's All-Star Game

Stephen Colbert, Hank Azaria/Jim Brockmire
Stephen Colbert, Hank Azaria/Jim Brockmire
Screenshot: The Late Show

You wouldn’t ask Superman to put his underpants on the inside, and you damn sure don’t talk to disgraced sports announcer and future, pre-apocalypse commissioner of his beloved baseball to do a TV spot without his crusty plaid sports jacket. So, on Thursday’s Late Show, Hank Azaria dutifully packed himself into the Brockmire thrift store special once Colbert switched questioning pitches from one career path to another.

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And while the Azaria anecdotes were solid stuff—being Hank Azaria, a story about the 24-hour-straight filming marathon split between Heat and The Birdcage came complete with killer Al Pacino and Mike Nichols impressions—it was Colbert’s Major League Baseball queries that elicited some true Azaria chameleon magic. Although, just to note, Azaria also does a very good Michael Mann impression, switching from Pacino’s “She’s got a great ass!” roar to a depiction of the very Chicago-born Mann’s use of impenetrably old-timey directing slang. (Not even Al Pacino knows what it is to get “jack-potted” in a scene.)

But, with Azaria embarking on the next phase of Jim Brockmire’s storied career of both unconditional love and very clear-eyed skepticism about the National Pastime (and other sports) with The Jim Brockmire Podcast, out came the leisurewear. Adopting Brockmire’s signature clipped announcer’s cadence, Azaria agreed with Colbert’s assessment of podcasting as “the final stage of human entertainment,” while happily chiming in on some of the biggest baseball stories of the day. The cynical yet ever-progressive Brockmire lauded MLB’s decision to pull its mid-season All-Star Game from Atlanta in response to Georgia’s passage of one of the most farcically racist voter suppression laws in recent memory, even as the sports legend noted that the league is likely doing it as part of the sport’s long history of fleeing from conflict. “If there’s one thing baseball is good at, it’s avoiding attention,” pronounced Brockmire.

But Jim kids his beloved, increasingly antiquated grand old game. Noting that “America’s pastimes are baseball and racism,” Brockmire told Colbert, to see them face off like this is monumental—it’s like Godzilla versus King Kong.” Moving on to another entity that routinely lays waste to a major metropolitan area, Brockmire then went all-in on his cherished New York Mets, whose free-spending new owner Brockmire says is just following the billionaire’s code of, having succeeded so much in the financial world, “[taking] on a task humanity has deemed impossible.” (Oh, and financial crimes.) After Colbert asked about the near-miss that was the proposed celebrity Mets ownership by now-separated(?) high-power hyphenates J-Lo and A-Rod, Brockmire admitted that even the Mets can still surprise him, since the potential custody battle over Francisco Lindor, “is such a nightmare, I’m amazed that it did not happen.” As Jim Brockmire always says, “The Mets are the Yankees of not being the Yankees.”

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.