What Mohr Can I Say?


Kevin Ortiz reviews Jay Mohr’s recent Melrose Improv show.

When I picked up my children from my mother’s house on my way home from the Hollywood Improv about two Saturday nights ago, my mother hit me with the question right between the eyes, “What are you going to write about this time if you have already reviewed Jay?” What was my steely response to such a poignant question? “Shut the hell up mom, and support me for once in your f&#@ing life!!” Then I kissed her on the cheek and headed home. The truth is, as I sat in front of my computer that night, I actually thought to myself, there are so many things that I could write about and so many angles I could take, that it was hard to decide which road to drive down this time. In the end, it was Jay himself that actually gave me the theme of the review. Trust.

Jay does not practice in front of a mirror before a show. Jay does not pace nervously behind stage. And Jay does not run his “bits” by a friend before a show to try them out. Now I am not tooting Jay’s horn here….although that sounds very very hot. In all honesty, if you have listened to interviews Jay has done, listened to Jay’s radio show, or even seen Jay live in person, he’ll say as much himself. This is fact. Jay’s a veteran of stand-up comedy, and he can literally hop on stage 5 minutes after waking from a nap. Yet, all of these things, which are very cool and very impressive, would not matter if Jay did not have one thing. Trust in his audience. I promised myself in writing these reviews that I would never give away any of the laughs, so I never want to say exactly what Jay talks about on stage, but I will say that his stories, which are all true mind you, involve topics that naturally have the tendency to make people feel uncomfortable. The crucifixion of Jesus. The fact that celebrities sometimes force their charity or their cause on you. Oral sex at a very young age. These are just a few of the themes of Jay’s stories, and Jay constantly reminds the audience that these stories are all true. Picture an audience that is sometimes quiet, sometimes laughing uncomfortably, and sometimes laughing out loud because the shit is funny, but then immediately looking embarrassed for laughing. Picture this audience and you are there with me. Now imagine the comedian on stage. The comedian says something that he knows just made the audience uncomfortable. He can tell by the silence. He can tell by the change in atmosphere. What does he do? In a situation liked this it would be easy enough for the comedian to turn on the audience, and become the “you just don’t get it” guy. Jay is not that comedian. There is a reason Jay has been in comedy for this many years, and there is a reason that he consistently sells out. Jay never turns on his audience, he guides them, stays with them, acknowledges them, and comforts them. I know what some of you may be thinking at this point. You are thinking, “Kev, you’re going a little deep there, aren’t you?” Well, if you know me at all, you know I love to go deep….pause for childish laughter from the male readers, and ooohs and aaaahs from the female readers…and you know I am straight forward as well. I mean it when I say that going to see Jay Mohr is an experience. There are moments of pure unadulterated laughter, there are moments of genuine connection between you and Jay when you actually feel like he is talking straight to you, and there are sentimental moments when something he says triggers a memory inside your own brain. Jay takes you to all these places flawlessly. You see, Jay trusts you, the audience, so much that he is willing to be vulnerable, willing to be himself, willing to get up on stage with no bits, no cheap attempts at laughs, and no net. Jay is going to jump and he knows that even if it’s not right off the bat, you still will eventually catch him. Trust. It is a beautiful thing.

The difference between seeing Jay Mohr and other comedians is that with other comedians, you will walk away at the end of the night saying things like, “Man that guy was funny,” or “Remember that joke when he said…” However, when you walk away after seeing Jay, you say things like, “What a great show!” or “Man, that guy puts on show!” Jay is giving you a one man show. Jay is not giving you zingers, one-liners, or bits. Even though he would be perfectly capable of all those things, that is not what he is giving you. He is giving you all of himself on that stage, he is giving you the greatest show on earth, and he knows you are going to love it. He trusts you to love it.

Before I leave you, I have been trying with all of these reviews to give the reader something personal and specific about the night, and I have a great moment that will help sum up the type of person that Jay is and the type of show that he does. At some point Jay was referencing “that kid that your kid knows, and always gets your kid in trouble.” Jay asked the audience if they knew what he was talking about and you could hear an average “yes” response from the audience. Jay pointed at one specific lady who had responded with a yes and he asked, “What was the kids name?” The lady in the audience responded with a name and Jay repeated it to himself thoughtfully and then went on with his story. Now again, I know what you are thinking, what the hell was so personal and unique about that and made you want to share it? Well see, here is the thing. That one minute interaction was a connection. In that moment, Jay made that lady feel like just a person he was talking to at a café. I guarantee you. They shared something. In that moment they both have kids, they both have kids with friends who get them in trouble, and they both “get it.” I am absolutely positive that when that lady remembers that moment years from now, and make no mistake of it that she will, that lady will remember the time Jay asked her a question and she responded. She will not remember him as “that comedian,” or as “Jay Mohr.” She will simply and sentimentally call him, Jay. If you are a big fan of Jay’s, you know that this is the type of thing that Jay does daily on his radio show as well. He connects. He makes you feel as though he is talking directly to you. He becomes your friend. It is a beautiful thing. #WE


  • June 11 Roschester, WA
  • June 15th Pittsburgh, PA
  • June 18th Canyon Club Augora Hills, CA


-Kevin Ortiz

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