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Jay Mohr heads north with 20 minutes of new material

Comedian, actor, radio host, voice impersonator and best-selling author. Is there anything Jay Mohr hasn't done? "Hum, let me think - no, I don't think so," quipped Mohr from his home in Los Angeles.

Comedian, actor, radio host, voice impersonator and best-selling author.

Is there anything Jay Mohr hasn't done?

"Hum, let me think - no, I don't think so," quipped Mohr from his home in Los Angeles.

The News caught up with Mohr to talk about his upcoming stand up comedy show at the River Rock Casino Resort this Friday.

"I love Vancouver and can't wait to be back," he said, while speaking in an eerily dead-on impersonation of actor Christian Slater. "I'm more comfortable on the stage than anywhere else.

"There's no where to go when you do stand up and no matter how much you worry, the show will unfold as it should."

Mohr said it took him a while to get to that realization. "The longer you do it, the more infrequent a bad show occurs. As I get older, I am more relaxed.

"I used to be very angry and aggressive on stage. I'm still as high energy but I'm kinder, more gentle."

He credits his wife, actress Nikki Cox, for "being funnier."

"She brings out the best in me," he added. "It's incredibly liberating when you realize that they (fans) are there to see me," Mohr said. "They are here because I'm here, so I smile more and I'm enjoying the ride more."

Mohr describes himself as a "storyteller with many impressions."

Mohr knew from a young age that comedy was in his future.

Growing up in New Jersey, Mohr said he was the class clown in high school.

"I was annoying, manifesting myself as a clown and if you gave me a microphone, comedy was the only thing I knew how to do," Mohr said. "I wasn't a jock and I wasn't a great student, but when I was 16 and walked up on a stage, again and again people would ask me to give them more."

At 17, with his parents' blessings, he headed to New York to try his luck as a professional stand up comedian. Unlike many struggling comics, Mohr was quickly able to make a living at it.

"After my first show, I called my parents and woke them up. I told my mom I had really good sets - she thought I said sex," he said with a laugh.

Less than a year and a half after that, he was picked up for Saturday Night Live. During his time on SNL (1993-95), Mohr got noticed for his bang-on impressions of such stars as Christopher Walken, Tony Bennett, Ricky Lake and Sean Penn.

His idol on SNL was Chris Farley.

"On Saturday Night Live, Chris was a force of nature. I remember thinking if I could be half of that, I'd be happy."

From there, Mohr landed his breakthrough movie role in 1996 when he starred as a rival agent opposite Tom Cruise in the blockbuster hit, Jerry McGuire. The following year, he was cast opposite Jennifer Aniston in Picture Perfect.

He went on to appear in a number of TV sitcoms, including NBC's hit show Last Comic Standing, which Mohr produced and hosted, CBS's Ghost Whisperer, as well as his own sitcom, CBS's Gary Unmarried, which ran for nearly two years until it was canceled in March 2010. In 2009, it won Favourite New TV Comedy at the 35th People's Choice Awards.

"I was surprised when Gary Unmarried was cancelled," Mohr said. "I don't get why it didn't get moved to another time slot because fans were really enjoying it."

More recently, Mohr starred in Clint Eastwood's thriller Hereafter, opposite Matt Damon in 2010.

If that isn't enough, Mohr has released his second book, No Wonder My Parents Drank: Tales from a Stand-Up Dad, about his trials and tribulations as a dad of two - Jackson, his nine-year-old son from a previous marriage and 11-month-old son Meredith Daniel.

When asked what the audience can expect on Friday night, Mohr quipped, "The audience can expect a stool, a bottle of water and a 5'10", 41-year-old, 200 pound comedian.

"I always try to have 20 minutes of brand new material for my show. I'll also do a few impersonations."

Besides his stand up comedy routine, Mohr is shooting a television pilot called Applebaum, opposite former Twilight star, Rachelle Lefrere, which will air on CBS.

Tickets for Mohr's show are $49.50, available at all Ticketmaster locations or by phone at 1-855-985-5000 or online at www. ticketmaster.ca. The show starts at 8 p.m. For more information, visit www.riverrock.com/ entertainment.

mhopkins@richmond-news.com