Emmys: ‘Brockmire’ Star Hank Azaria Revisits the Sports Announcer’s ‘Sexual Astronaut’ Meltdown

Kimberly Potts
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

As we enter Emmy season — nomination voting runs June 12 to 26 — Yahoo TV will be spotlighting performances and other contributions that we feel deserve recognition.

What’s a Major League Baseball announcer to do when he goes home to surprise his wife with flowers on their anniversary, and he is the one who’s surprised instead, as he happens upon his beloved spouse in the middle of an orgy?

If that sports announcer is Jim Brockmire, he trashes a decades-long career by melting down, on air, about the “sexual astronaut” antics of his wife, Lucy.

Six-time Emmy winner Hank Azaria plays the heartbroken, bitter man in IFC’s dark comedy Brockmire, and in his selection for Yahoo TV’s “My Scene to Remember” Emmy series, he chose the hilarious but crushing moment when Brockmire intersperses play-by-play of the Kansas City Royals game he’s calling with explicit details of what he saw when he walked into his home earlier in the day.

“Our first indication that something is awry — no pun intended — is the guy is downing major amounts of Sazerac rye whiskey,” Azaria says, setting the scene in the video above. “This is 10 years ago in Kansas City, and we’re about to discover why. Although he seems quite composed, we’re about to see the wheels come off of that.”

Azaria gives a lot of credit to Brockmire director Tim Kirkby for helping him create the funny but also emotional take. It’s a mix of tones that carries throughout the whole season, making the series a raunchy but also unexpectedly sweet and poignant comedy.

“I had the good sense and good fortune to hook up with [writer] Joel Church-Cooper and Tim Kirkby,” Azaria says. “They saw the humanity and what was sort of heartbreaking about it, while being also funny, even more than I did, and sort of encouraged me to take it that way in the performance. And I realized, ‘Wow, that actually is right.’ As funny as it is, if you also treat it honestly and realistically, it’s pretty sad — and an interesting comment on the weird digital times we live in, too, that it just gets captured and lives forever.”

The actor, who is potentially a quadruple threat this Emmy season with his fine work on Brockmire, The Simpsons, Ray Donovan, and The Wizard of Lies, also says his enthusiastic performance in the Brockmire season premiere scene taught him a valuable lesson, after he nearly blew his voice out on the first take.

“We learned we had to save yelling for the end of the day,” Azaria says. “And sometimes when I screamed in the show after this, we just mimed it, and we put it in later in looping.”

As for Brockmire Season 2 — the show was renewed for a sophomore season just before Season 1 premiered — Azaria, who’s also an executive producer on the series, hints that everything, good and bad, intensifies for Jim Brockmire.

“Brockmire’s career advances, as does his alcoholism and insanity,” Azaria teases. “And it’s much more a love story between him and Charles, even more so than Jules, though Amanda Peet is back.”

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