If you go in for "excruciating," then you are a ripe candidate for Jason Miller’s fan club. Not talking about the Jason Miller who played Father Karras in 1973 film “The Exorcist,” though at this point there would appear to be parallels in areas dealing in fiction and possession.
We’re talking about the host of “Bully Beatdown” -- the uber-popular (and perhaps former) MMA fighter.
What is going on with “Mayhem?” First he’s caught naked in a church with a spent fire extinguisher, then he’s tweeting Ronda Rousey strange bits of indecipherable brain patter. He’s never been what you might consider average -- the nickname should tip you off -- but now, after appearing in the Kevin James MMA movie “Here Comes the Boom,” he’s a method actor gone berserk.
Just so we’re clear -- he’s method acting after the role. He’s still in character, presumably to help sell the movie. Now there’s promoting a movie ... and there’s what Miller is doing. But exactly what is it that he’s doing? Does he even know?
Miller made an in-studio appearance on Ariel Helwani’s “MMA Hour” on Monday in New York, and showed up as “Lucky” Patrick Murphy, a caricaturized ruffian from Dorchester, Mass. From the word go, the interview was awkward. Helwani wanted true life. He got bad fiction, instead. There was no middle, yet there were beads of sweat.
Helwani played along with the ruse, but couldn’t drag the real Miller out. “Mayhem’s in the woods,” he was told time and again. He was also told to “f--- off” on occasion. That Helwani wouldn’t spend an hour of mortifying role-playing with Miller made him angry. After crawling on the furniture and shouting, he eventually stormed out. He even swiped the host’s “Volkmann for President” shirt for good measure, which has its own awkward narrative.
Funny as in Andy Kaufman funny?
Nope. It was 14 minutes that felt like an hour. It was 14 minutes of cringe. It was 14 minutes of “Wow, I hope Miller’s OK.”
It’s this last thing that makes it all the more unfunny.
Is Miller OK? At this point, you do have to wonder. After being cut from the UFC -- where, you’ll recall, he gave C.B. Dollaway a noogie before losing a “do or die” decision -- Miller has been out there a little further than usual. There’s his Twitter account with nearly 228,000 followers, which has become an erratic log of disconnect. And then there was the arrest for the Orange County church break-in. With a platform to explain things, or at least downplay the incident and make light of it, Miller strayed into left field.
He came as “Lucky” Patrick, a character from the movie, which didn’t exactly sell anybody on the idea of seeing it. He was in and out of accent. He was in and out of moods. He was in and out of the segment. By acting standards, Miller is a good fighter.
Was it just “Mayhem’s” brand of hokum? Maybe. If it is, might be time for a new shtick. Nobody hams it up quite like “Mayhem,” who in the fight game was known as much for his big choreographed walkouts as he was for his performances.
If Miller was just having a laugh, he was doing it alone. Can’t imagine the producers of the film are laughing along with him. An impenetrable guise? Helwani might as well have been interviewing the lady in the Hello Kitty costume down at Times Square.
But if it’s something other than misfired silliness, you have to be a little concerned for “Mayhem.” The incidents are stacking up around him, and everybody’s seeing it. Everyone but Miller, who traveled from California to New York to tell us he’s looking at things through the eyes of somebody else. Talk about uncomfortable.