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Why Hollywood Won't Cast Jay Mohr Anymore

In the late '90s and early 2000s, comedian and actor Jay Mohr was a prolific performer appearing in movies, TV shows, and on the stand-up comedy circuit. After emerging as a featured player on Saturday Night Live in the early '90s as a masterful celebrity impressionist (his Christopher Walken and Buddy Hackett were especially spot-on), Mohr landed roles in projects as disparate as Jerry Maguire and The Ghost Whisperer, as well as hosting and producing the comedy competition Last Comic Standing. But apart from the stand-up comedy stage, where has Mohr been lately?

The first TV sitcom he headlined really tanked

If it aired in today's "peak TV" environment, Action might have been a hit for AMC or Netflix. But it aired in 1999 ... on Fox. Action was about a foul-mouthed Hollywood executive (Mohr), and it was shot in the innovative single-camera format. It earned critical raves and a cult audience, but not a lot of viewers. "People still ask me why it was canceled, and I have to explain I didn't know there were six networks until we finished in sixth place," Mohr once said. In other words, shows on the lowly UPN and the WB beat Action.

His second TV show wasn't much better

After audiences didn't respond to Mohr in something fresh, new, and startling like Action, his next starring role in a sitcom came in something far more traditional and familiar: a three-camera, laugh-track-laden sitcom about a regular guy with a complicated love life. Gary Unmarried aired on CBS for two seasons (2008-2010). It was as far away from Action as possible, and yet it didn't do all that much better: It aired to middling ratings (and critical savagery). Mohr took a shot at both ends of the TV spectrum, but he struck out both times.

He had a time-consuming radio show

In 2013, Mohr started hosting a daily, three-hour sports talk radio show called Jay Mohr Sports. Distributed by Fox Sports Radio to more than 80 stations, Jay Mohr Sports replaced the popular The Jim Rome Show, which left Fox for CBS Sports Radio. The hosting duties and prep work for a nationally syndicated radio show make for a full-time job—if Mohr was getting big offers, he'd be forced to turn them down because the radio gig didn't leave much opportunity to tape TV shows or film movies.

He may have missed his big shot

If Mohr loves hosting things, why not try a late-night talk show? He did—and it bombed. In 2001, Disney boss Michael Eisner saw Mohr on Live with Regis and Kelly and signed him to act in ABC shows. The deal also included an ESPN talk show called Mohr Sports. Aside from sports, it also included skits and musical acts—much like a traditional late-night show. It was ostensibly canceled because of low ratings, although Mohr later blamed the network for the show's demise, saying that ESPN wouldn't promote his show and tried to micromanage it.

He had to admit he stole a bit from another comedian

When you're desperate for opportunities, stealing material from another comedian doesn't usually help. In 2004, Mohr wrote the book Gasping for Airtime, a memoir about his difficult '90s stint on Saturday Night Live, particularly how he struggled to write sketches and get them selected for air. Mohr admitted in Gasping for Airtime that, in desperation, he stole comedian Rick Shapiro's "Irish bartender" routine and lightly adapted it into a sketch that made it on air. Mohr was later caught and called out for his transgression, and the sketch was cut out of future reruns of the episode.

He has a tumultuous personal life

A difficult personal life, including a messy divorce and custody issues, can easily sidetrack a busy career. In 2006, Mohr married actress Nikki Cox (Las Vegas, Unhappily Ever After). They had a son together, and Mohr even changed his legal name to John Ferguson Cox Mohr. But things went downhill in July 2016 when Mohr filed for divorce and asked for emergency full custody of their son. Mohr alleged that Cox's depression self-medicated with drugs made her unfit. Just six days later, he withdrew the petition and told reporters they were working it out because they were "very in love, and that's really all there is." Alas, in December 2016, Mohr filed for divorce again, reportedly because of Cox's erratic and dangerous behavior.

What's next for Jay Mohr

Mohr has recently made steps to head back into acting. In early 2017, he left Jay Mohr Sports because he found it "difficult to juggle the commitment of a three-hour weekday radio show with a film and TV career, stand-up comedy shows, as well as time with my family." Already this season he's appeared on ABC's American Housewife, and he continues to do voiceover work in animated projects and for video games. Now that he's got more time on his hands, we just might be seeing Mohr ... more often.