Charles Grodin is dead and the world will never be the same. On top of being a great movie scene-stealer — and an incredible if sadly infrequent lead; seek out 1972’s epic squirmfest The Heartbreak Kid soon as you can — he regularly stole talk shows, appearing as an aloof yet casually destructive guest. He loved to rattle Johnny Carson and David Letterman, and they gladly let him do it. And nearly 15 years ago he completely and hilariously derailed an episode of Hannity & Colmes.
Before he went solo and next-level evil, Sean Hannity spent some 13 years sharing a Fox News show with Alan Colmes, a mild-mannered Democrat who was in no way his far-right co-host’s equal. In 2007, two years before the show was axed and Hannity went his merry way, they brought on Grodin, who himself had hosted a perhaps shockingly serious MSNBC show from 1995 to 1998. They thought they would talk about the 2008 election, which was still 11 months away. They thought wrong.
Grodin instantly sizes them up and refuses to play ball. He accuses Colmes of wearing eyeliner. He tries to get Hannity to talk about his nonexistent singing career, asking him to “do your medley from Fiddler on the Roof. (“That’ll bring the house down coming from you, because you’re Jewish, aren’t you?” he asks the outspoken Irish Catholic.) At one point he calls Holmes “Eric” and later repeatedly pronounces Hannity as “Hawn-ity.” He asks the latter if he has a hairpiece.
All the while Hannity and Colmes try to get Grodin to talk shop, but he won’t. He says he has no interest in talking about an election, because it was too far in the future and “because I don’t think you guys should even be talking about it.”
The closest Grodin and his hosts come to blows is when they come back from a break and Hannity re-introduces him, this time as a “left-wing extremist.” Grodin fires back, saying, “Here’s right-wing fascist Sean Hannity.” When Hannity blusters at being called the f-word, Gordin retorts, “You’re a fascist. Did you not co-host a show with Goebbels before you met Alan?”
Later, when pressed about which side of the aisle he’s on, Grodin demurs. “I have no politics,” he claims. “The reason I get tagged this way, as left, is because I’m very active on prisoner issues and on homeless issues.”
But every time Hannity and Colmes try to steer the ship to a serious political discussion, Grodin torpedoes it. It’s a beautifully chaotic appearance, all thanks to Grodin, and one can only imagine what havoc he would wreak had Fox News ever let him go on Tucker Carlson. There was no one like him and there never will be again.
You can watch the full Hannity & Colmes appearance in the video above.