For six-time Emmy winner and apologetic former Apu Hank Azaria, his role as the silver-tongued baseball announcer Jim Brockmire is clearly something he’s especially proud of, regardless of whether he’s the only person watching. As the low-rated (in viewership) Brockmire starts its fourth and final season on March 18, Azaria told Late Show host Stephen Colbert that he’s taken to embracing the series’ “cult hit” status—not that he’s got much of a choice. Asking permission to poll Colbert’s (soon to be absent) studio audience, Azaria, after asking for complete honesty, got the expected “smattering of applause” from those viewers of discernment who admitted to actually having seen the IFC critical darling, confirming his definition of “cult hit” as “a great show that nobody watches.”
Still, like the formerly washed-up announcer whose very public breakdown saw him calling ill-attended sandlot games (and, in the Funny Or Die short that spawned the series, even his own bathroom visits), Azaria is still happy to be doing what he loves, regardless of the crowd. Azaria noted that the 35 of 36 critics on Rotten Tomatoes (including our own Vikram Murthi) who love Brockmire may actually constitute the series’ entire dedicated following. Still, as with every labor of love, there’s always a little magic nipping around the periphery of things, as when Azaria told Colbert the miraculous, seemingly true story behind the checkered red-and-black polyester sports coat that is his hand-chosen wardrobe for Brockmire’s wonted ballgame attire. Noting that, as an insomniac, he’s often found flipping channels to late-night movies in the wee hours, Azaria explained that he was watching a particular 1978 romantic fantasy when he spotted what he is 100 percent certain is the actual blazer he picked up in a Hollywood second-hand store prior to the original Brockmire short.
Now does that seem like a stretch? Maybe. But, in Azaria’s telling, the thrift shop where he bought the jacket (for the Brockmire-friendly price of $18) is famous for raiding the costume departments of Hollywood studios. Plus, look at that thing—there can’t have been that many made. Comparing the crumpled and battered piece of outerwear (Azaria pulled a long thread from the stitching while he talked) to a photo of the late great character actor Jack Warden from the Warren Beatty-Julie Christie film Heaven Can Wait wearing what damned sure looks like a Jim Brockmire special, Azaria told Colbert that it’s now his mission, after Brockmire’s end, to pass this no-doubt deeply flammable piece of Hollywood screen regalia to someone from the next generation. He thinks Timothée Chalamet, who could probably make it work.