Jay Mohr Rocks The Boat Again

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Jay Mohr (right), as Officer Walsh in the new streaming movie “Party Boat”.

Get out your PlayStation, people: Jay Mohr is in a movie that debuts on the gaming platform tomorrow.

Mohr (Verona High School class of 1988), has the role of Officer Walsh in Party Boat, produced for Sony Pictures Television Networks’ streaming network, Crackle. (The wide release is this Thursday, August 24.) The story line, as you might have guessed, is an alcohol-fueled floating celebration. (“Get ship faced”, the trailer urges.) What you might not have guessed is that Mohr, who has more than three decades of comedy to his credit, is cast in the “dad” role, the lake patrol officer, the guy whose job it is to make sure that this party does not get started.

And yet, he insists that he had a blast. “It was the most fun that I’ve ever had,” says Mohr of the filming, which took place on a lake in Georgia. “It was fun in italics, FUN capitalized. I got to act like an absolute fool.”

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Act like a fool while acting on the new realities of Hollywood, he might have added. When Mohr got his first big movie role in Jerry Maguire in 1996, movies were shown on big screens in big theaters. Now they can be anywhere, from a game console to a cell phone. Streaming media networks like Crackle now account for almost half of industry sales, by some counts.

Mohr has been on both big screen and small screen over the course of his career, as an actor and voice-over presence. He’s also voiced characters in several video games. Mohr writes for his blog and he is also on the radio, hosting the nationally syndicated daily “Jay Mohr Sports”, on podcasts with “Mohr Stories”, and on Twitter, sharing all of this and commenting on just about everything. If you want to catch his poetry–yes, poetry–you’ll need to have the Periscope app on your phone. Pretty good for the guy who once played the tech-challenged sportscaster on Saturday Night Live‘s “Weekend Update”.

“Jack of all trades, master of stand-up comedy,” says Mohr, “but only because it is the math puzzle that will never be finished.”

Stand-up is still bedrock for Mohr, because he says it gives him the opportunity to constantly explore the stories of his life, like that near-zombie encounter when he was riding his bike through Overbrook, the Essex County asylum on Fairview Avenue that was recently reduced to rubble. “There’s always a different way to tell a story,” Mohr says. “It’s like Jenga. Take one piece out and it all comes down, or take one piece out and new possibilities open. [Stand-up] is the butterfly effect with words.”

Butterflies make an appearance in some of Mohr’s recent poetry, but the bigger effect of this writing is to channel the anger that has accompanied his recent divorce. “When I got divorced, I had an enormous amount of free time,” Mohr says. “I began writing. Angrily, sadly, cathartically and then, finally, beautifully.”

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Mohr doesn’t attribute his poetry skills to anything he learned at VHS (“I think they gave me a diploma so I wouldn’t come back,” he says.) But he notes that he always used to write down the song lyrics he heard, and he has read the poems of e e cummings and Charles Bukowski. “I didn’t seek to write something dark,” he says of his own work, “but that is something that needs to come out.” There’s been a bit of critical reaction to Mohr’s latest literary effort: When he sent his poems to his father, he was told that his meter is off.

Being a father to his own son is top of mind for Mohr, even as he prepped for a string of new stand-up dates last week. “My son starts kindergarten tomorrow,” he said. “That is the Tet Offensive.”

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]

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