''If I sound funny, it's because I'm on an (exercise) bike,'' Charles Grodin says on the phone from his Connecticut home. ''I've got a 7-year-old son, so I have to be up to speed.'' That's not the only reason Grodin needs to keep fit. Beginning Jan. 9, the 59-year-old actor well known for his slow burns on Johnny Carson's and David Letterman's couches will host his own CNBC talk show in Tom Snyder's old 10 p.m. slot. So heeere's Chuck:
What's the difference between being a good talk-show guest and a good talk-show host? Well, I'll find out soon. Most of my guest appearances were really acts of me being upset about something. As a host, it's not an act. I'll come out more as myself, whatever that is.
Do some viewers take your talk-show tantrums seriously? More people take them seriously than know that I'm kidding. Recently I was on Letterman's show and during a commercial break I said, ''You know, a lot of people find this unpleasant.'' He said, ''Oh, I don't care about that, and neither do you.'' Well, I know he doesn't that's his trademark but I do.
If you could book anyone from history as a guest, who would it be? You mean and have them be alive? Because no matter how great Jefferson was...Let's see. I sure would want to hear what Jesus had to say. ''So what's the deal? Did you do that really?''
Will there ever be a Midnight Run 2? No, they would make more movies with me and a dog, but not with me and De Niro. That's totally based on money. The Beethoven movies have made $300 million, and Midnight Run took in about $40 million, although I think it's the best movie I've done.
Is it true that you auditioned for the Richard Gere role in Pretty Woman? Yes. I had mixed feelings about the movie. I definitely thought it was a glorification of prostitution, and I had a problem with it. But I was ready to overcome the problem.
Any advice for aspiring talk-show hosts? Well, one of the roads is to be an unpleasant guest. That'd be a ticket. God, I don't know. I'm still trying to find out how you go to a commercial.