For Jay Mohr, sports and humor go together like Dick Vitale and "Duke, baby," Cael Sanderson and domination, and the Mariners and players with crotch rocket brand names.
After 16 years of stand-up comedy, a successful stint on "Saturday Night Live" and multiple films ("Jerry Maguire" and "Go"), Mohr has landed his dream job, hosting "Mohr Sports" on ESPN, a sports-themed talk show that debuted a few weeks ago. The show, which also features a musical guest each week, came as a natural transition from Mohr's reporting work for Fox Sports.
A meeting with Disney's Michael Eisner, who had seen Mohr on "Regis and Kelly," led to the actualization of the show.
"When I met with Michael Eisner, I just laid out the show for him and he said, `Great, sounds great, can we do it?' " Mohr explains. "And I was like, `What's this we? You're Michael Eisner, what am I gonna do?' "
Mickey Mouse's keeper did not let the comedian down, and "Mohr Sports" was born with Mohr in control.
"We've been really lucky with `Mohr Sports' that the network has let us stay autonomous and they don't get in our business," Mohr says. "Our first guest was [former Los Angeles Rams defensive end] Deacon Jones, who's not a Kurt Warner, a Tom Brady or a Derek Jeter. But we just knew Deacon would be fun."
A sports nut, Mohr is grateful for the creative control, in which he exudes genuine excitement.
"It's exactly what I want to do, right now, at least," he says. "You get to sit down and interview heroes."
And one of those heroes happens to have just pinned down a 159-0 record.
"We knew [Cael] was going to get his 159th win, because his last match was against Brett Favre," Mohr jokes.
Mohr isn't just buttering up the ISU campus with his admiration either; he was the captain of his high school wrestling team.
"I don't think wrestling gets enough coverage," Mohr says. "In the summer Olympics we watch people run races at fifteen different distances but for some reason the network executives don't think audiences would enjoy guys like Rulon Gardner and Cael Sanderson wrestling internationally on prime time - I enjoy it."
He may not get to see Olympic wrestling on television, but Mohr is hoping a certain Cyclone champion will show up for his Veishea performance.
"I would be honored, capital H-O-N-O-R-E-D to meet Cael, baby," Mohr says in his best Dick Vitale, one of his many "SNL" personas. "Gene Mills used to be the biggest wrestler, and [Dan] Gable, Gable lost his last match . not Cael."
Mohr is such a fan that he would love to have Sanderson as a guest on "Mohr Sports."
"I wouldn't even think twice about it," Mohr says. "I wouldn't even ask the network's opinion."
The chance to meet Sanderson reveals Mohr's genuine awe and excitement.
"God, he's 159-0," Mohr says. "The guy put more people on their backs than Al Green."
Sports have been a constant in Mohr's life since his days as high school wrestling captain and a baseball player.
"I wasn't getting drafted by anybody, but I was real active," Mohr explains.
However, there was no need for the comedian/talk show host/actor to worry about signing bonuses and Nike contracts he was missing out on - Mohr found his future at the unlikely age of 15, publicly debuting his wit at a comedy club in his hometown in New Jersey.
"They wanted to have an open mic night with teenagers, and I just thought, `Wow, I think I should try that'," Mohr explains. "Every time there was stand-up comedy on TV I'd just be staring at the television."
One night in front of a crowd and it was all over, Mohr says.
"I was the center of attention," he explains. "I went from a guy getting kicked out of class to a guy getting kicked out of class that knew he had a show later that night."
With an unflagging desire to make sure everyone in the audience leaves saying, "That was one of the greatest shows I've ever seen in my life," Mohr has always jumped on any chance to pick up a mic, performing anywhere from bowling alleys to steak restaurants.
"I'm 31 now and I've been doing stand-up for 16 years, and there's open mic nights in Hollywood I always drop in on and people say, `What are you doing here?'" Mohr explains. "And I say, `Where should I be, at home, thinking about how I could be trying out five new jokes?' I'd rather be here trying them out."
Even after working on "Jerry Maguire" - "Tom Cruise was the coolest human being I've ever met in my life" - and starring in the upcoming films "Simone" and "Pluto Nash" with Al Pacino and Eddie Murphy, respectively, Mohr won't drop the mic.
"Stand-up's the only thing I can't do without," he says. "When I'm doing stand-up all the time I'm not thinking, `Oh, I wish I was on a movie set.' But when I'm on a movie set, I think, `If I leave now, I could go do a show'."
"It's almost an addiction," Mohr adds. "You just have to get on the microphone."
And now with dreams of meeting Cael Sanderson and entertaining school-weary students, Mohr travels to Ames to pick up the mic in the Lied Recreation Center as part of Dew the Rec, which begins at 8:30 p.m. Friday.
"When students are studying their asses off and taking tests and exams and waking up for classes they hate and with part time jobs trying to pay for books, just the fact that you're the guy that's going to come in and provide relief," Mohr says, "I take that seriously."
But not too seriously.
"Cyclones, brace yourselves," Mohr says, as cheesily as possible. "This is no stand-up act, this is a traveling party."