Stephanie Miller

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Stephanie Miller
Radiostephmillerwp.jpg
Birth name Stephanie Catherine Miller
Born (1961-09-29) September 29, 1961 (age 56)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Medium Stand-up, television, radio
Nationality American
Genres Political satire, observational comedy
Website The Stephanie Miller Show

Stephanie Catherine Miller (born September 29, 1961) is an American political commentator, comedian, and host of The Stephanie Miller Show, a liberal talk radio program produced in Los Angeles, California by WYD Media Management and syndicated nationally by Westwood One.[1] In 2017, Talkers Magazine ranked her the 23rd most important radio talk show host in America.[2] Miller has leveraged her talk show via various platforms including online, as well as via her Sexy Liberal Tour live comedy show.

Early life[edit]

Miller was born in Washington, D.C..[3] She is the daughter of Stephanie (Wagner) and former U.S. Representative William E. Miller, who was Barry Goldwater's running mate in the 1964 presidential election and a Chairman of the Republican National Committee.[4] After her father left the United States Congress when Miller was 3 years old, her family moved to upstate New York, and she grew up on Willow Street in Lockport, New York. She is the youngest of 4 children. Her two older sisters, Libby and Mary, are almost 20 years older than her.[5] Her brother Bill is just 2 1/2 years older.[6] Her brother ran twice for the United States House of Representatives from upstate New York, in 1992 and 1994, but lost both times.[7][8]

Miller's first efforts at comedy were in high school, performing in a sketch, "Torn Between Two Lovers," requiring a specially-sewn dress with panels that boys ripped open every time a chorus of the song was heard. Recalling the performance, Miller says, "I got my first laugh, and that was it. It's like a drug. It's always been my only drug.".[9] After completing her secondary education in private Catholic schools, graduating from DeSales High School in Lockport in 1979,[10] Miller attended the University of Southern California, earning a degree in theatre.[11] Her original plan after college "was to be Carol Burnett" with a career in television.[12] On September 29, 2015, Burnett called Miller on her radio show to wish her happy birthday. On the phone, Miller told Burnett she always wanted to be her, "but it didn't work out. She made me cry when she said I shouldn't be Carol Burnett because there's only one Stephanie Miller and nobody does what I do. I was bawling."[13]

Stand-up comedy[edit]

Miller's first job after graduation from college was at the Laugh Factory, the legendary Hollywood comedy club, working for club owner Jamie Masada, answering phones, putting names on the marquee, cocktail waitressing,[14] and other tasks, while also performing stand-up at the club. When Miller moved back to upstate New York a few years later, she worked at Yuk Yuk's Comedy Club in Buffalo,[15] living in a $125 per month apartment over a pizza parlor near the club.[14] While working in radio in the 1980s and 1990s, she also performed at many comedy clubs around New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles.[16][17] She appeared twice on A & E's An Evening at the Improv, on the A&E TV Network, on August 5, 1988, and March 3, 1989.[18] She was also the first comedian to perform when the Chicago Improv club opened. In addition, she performed a one-woman Off-Broadway show while living in New York City in the early 1990s.[19] Miller also performed at the Laugh Factory when she moved back to Los Angeles from New York City in 2003.[20] Miller says she has a talk with her late father every time she is about to face an audience.[21]

Acting roles[edit]

Miller initially set out to be an actress, and for many years had hoped to star in her own sitcom, and also expressed interest in doing film.[9] Early in her career, Miller had several small acting jobs, such as appearing as a nun in the 1984 TV movie Shattered Vows, and a brief appearance as a nurse on General Hospital. After gaining prominence as a radio and TV host, she had roles where she essentially played herself, as in the movie View from the Top, and an episode of the TV series Diagnosis: Murder. Her most significant acting role was in the 1997 comedy film Just Write.[22] During the late 1990s Miller also explored doing a television sitcom with producer Barry Kemp, who cast her in a pilot for ABC.[9][23]

Radio and television career[edit]

Early radio career[edit]

Miller did not plan a career in radio, As she has noted, "I always say radio was an accident until they started paying me a lot of money and then it wasn't an accident anymore."[13]

Miller began her radio career after her father's death in 1983, when she returned to Lockport from California. Her first radio experience was delivering humorous bits on Sandy Beach's morning show on Hot 104 WNYS in Buffalo, New York,[10] which included doing impressions of Katharine Hepburn.[14] She then took an on-air job at radio station WLVL in Lockport, where she went from evenings to afternoon drive to mornings in three months.[9][24] She then sent a tape to Brother Wease (Alan Levin), the morning drive host at WCMF in Rochester, New York. Levin "hired her as soon as I heard her tape.", and in 1985 she went to WCMF to work as "Sister Sleaze" on the Brother Wease Show. Speaking about Miller, Levin has been very complimentary, noting "She's very manic, very bright, very funny and creative." While working with Miller, in reply to friends asking Levin "how come you give that girl so much mike?" he responded: "Because she's phenomenal. Don't try and compete; let people fly. I let her fly, and we had a ball."[11] After Rochester, Miller progressed to larger markets, as morning co-host at radio station WCKG in Chicago with John Howell from early 1988 to October 1989,[25] and as morning co-host with Howard Hoffman at Hot 97 WQHT in New York City for three years until 1993.[26]

In 1993, Miller headed back to Los Angeles to develop a sitcom for Warner Brothers that never materialized.[27] Instead, in 1994 she began her talk radio career when was hired by talk station KFI in Los Angeles, initially for her own weekend show which quickly became a weeknight radio show where Miller achieved high ratings.[28][14] During the show, as she had on her earlier stations in Rochester and New York City, Miller would sometimes call her mother (also named Stephanie) in upstate New York on the phone, and her mother would also co-host when she came to visit in-person.[10] Miller's mother would later do the same on her radio show at KABC.[9] On her show on KFI, Miller began to incorporate political talk. "It was the first time I had done talk radio, and I was like, 'Oh, you mean just me talk, with no music?'" she recalls. "I was like, blah, blah, blah. Oh, I still have 10 minutes left. That's when I guess I started to get political, and I started to realize more of my liberal leanings." She states that her turning point in terms of being outspoken about politics came in August 1992, when she heard Pat Buchanan's gay-bashing "culture wars" speech at the Republican Convention. "It was just so mean. It changed everything for me."[14]

Television talk show[edit]

In the autumn of 1995, Miller became one of the few women to host her own late night television talk show, The Stephanie Miller Show, syndicated by Buena Vista Television.[29] Unlike other late night television talk shows, the show had no band, no desk, a studio audience with nightclub-style seating instead of theatre-style seating, conversations with the audience via video phone, and pre-taped sketches starring Miller as real-life characters.[30] Anne Beatts, formerly a writer on Saturday Night Live, was Executive Producer and a writer for the show. Beatts enjoyed working on the show with Miller, and liked the immediacy of a daily talk show.[31] However, in December 1995, the show was cancelled after only 13 weeks. Danny Bonaduce filled in for Miller the last week the show was on the air.[32] Reflecting on the experience a few years later for an article in The Buffalo News, Miller said, "I think 13 weeks is a pretty tough shot for any unknown in late night. I felt like my dad must have felt in the 1964 campaign: 'I have no shot in hell, but I'll just give it a try.".[23] Comedian and voice actor Carlos Alazraqui, who later worked with Miller on her KABC radio show, and is now a regular guest on her current radio program (Coffee with Carlos), was part of the Irregular Regulars sketch comedy group on Miller's television show.

Return to radio[edit]

Stating that "After a year in the Federal Talk Show Relocation Program, I decided to come home to radio,", Miller returned to Los Angeles radio in June 1997,[33] first doing afternoons at KTZN ("The Zone") and then moving to evenings at KABC. It was during this period that she first began working with Chris Lavoie, who would later be her long-time Executive Producer on her current syndicated radio show which began in 2004.[34] Impressionist Jim Ward, who is on Miller's current radio show, also was with her on KABC.,[35] along with Carlos Alazraqui. The show was syndicated in September 1998 on approximately 20 stations.[9] KABC canceled Miller's show in March 2000.[36] The show continued in syndication on other stations for another week, but was then canceled completely. According to Miller, the firing from KABC was for the "somewhat racy content of my show",[37] and for being "too liberal".[38]

TV hosting[edit]

Along with her radio show, in 1997 for approximately a year, Miller began co-hosting the CNBC television show Equal Time, as the liberal counterpoint to conservative Bay Buchanan. She later said that she didn't enjoy her time on Equal Time "very much" and that Buchanan would only talk to her when the camera was on. She left Equal Time in 1998 to become the original host and a writer for the Fox Family channel program Show Me the Funny, until 1999.[23][39] In February 2000, shortly before her departure from KABC, Miller began hosting the Oxygen Channel's revival of the game show I've Got a Secret. After her radio show on the ABC Radio Today network ended, Miller moved back to the New York City area,[40] and worked for the Oxygen Channel. In addition to hosting the revival of I've Got a Secret, which ran for 120 episodes[20] until 2001,[41] she also co-hosted with May Lee, Oxygen's weekday 30-minute TV magazine show, Pure Oxygen, from 2000 to 2002.[42] According to May Lee, she and Miller "made a pretty good team - she as the funny, goofy half; me as the serious, sophisticated other half. We worked well together and understood our respective roles on the show."[43]

TV and radio hosting: 2003 and later[edit]

After leaving Oxygen, Miller returned to Los Angeles in 2003, and shopped a pilot that she co-produced, which she described as a cross between The Carol Burnett Show and Politically Incorrect.[20] The pilot was not picked up. From 2004 to 2005, Miller also served as a frequent panelist on the PAX TV game show Balderdash, which was hosted by Miller's friend Elayne Boosler.[44] In 2004, Miller was initially offered the original morning show at Air America, but the offer was withdrawn, and the slot was taken by Morning Sedition, with Marc Maron, Mark Riley, and Sue Ellicott.[45] In 2006, CNN discussed with Miller the possibility of a television show,[11] however the show was never developed.

Current radio show[edit]

In September 2004, The Stephanie Miller Show was launched by Democracy Radio and WYD Media Management.[46]

Miller's show's audience has grown to approximately 6 million weekly listeners (2017).[14] She has been ranked #2 in Los Angeles right behind The Rush Limbaugh Show.[47] In 2017, Talkers Magazine ranked her the 23rd most important radio talk show host in America.[2] The 2014 Talkers Heavy Hundred list ranked Stephanie Miller as the 22nd most important radio talk show host as well as the #3 radio talk host in the LGBT category in the United States market.[48] In 2011, Miller won the Talkers Magazine Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Talk Radio by a Woman.[49]

Since 2010, TV and video simulcasts of The Stephanie Miller Show have been broadcast through numerous outlets, including Ustream (2010-2013),[50][51] Current TV (2012-2013),[52] and Free Speech TV (2014-now).

Goldwater/Miller '08 Presidential Campaign[edit]

In 2007, Miller launched a spoof Presidential campaign with CC Goldwater, the granddaughter of Barry Goldwater.[53][54] Miller's father ran with Barry Goldwater as Vice-President in 1964. The 2008 campaign was dubbed Goldwater/Miller '08...ex-Republican girls gone wild!.[55] Commenting on the campaign, Miller stated, ""We are the ticket of low expectations and morals and are damn proud of it too." During the campaign, it was noted that with over $345 cash on hand Goldwater wanted to buy some media time in the 4:00 to 4:15 AM time slot in Kern County, California.[56]

Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour[edit]

Starting with the first show on April 23, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin,[57] Miller's live Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour has periodically toured the country to sold out houses and very high acclaim. After Donald Trump became president, the tour was renamed the Sexy Liberal Resistance Tour. The current cast includes Miller, John Fugelsang, and the comedy duo Frangela, for an evening of liberal humor and commentary.[58] The shows also have special guests.[59] The comedy album, Stephanie Miller's Sexy Liberal Tour, Vol. 1, was released in December 2011. It became the first album to reach #1 on the comedy charts for iTunes, Amazon.com, and Billboard. On the day of its release, it was the #2 most downloaded album on Amazon and remained on the Billboard Comedy Album charts for 6 weeks.[citation needed] A DVD of the November 2016 pre-election show in Los Angeles is also available.[60] In September 2012, Current TV broadcast a behind-the-scenes documentary about the Sexy Liberal Tour, including the origins of the Sexy Liberal Tour and never-before-seen footage and commentary from Miller and her then tour co-hosts John Fugelsang, Hal Sparks, and Aisha Tyler, as they toured the country.[61][62]

The idea for the Sexy Liberal Tour originated in-studio during a live radio broadcast with Miller and John Fugelsang in 2011. The goal was to do a concert in Madison, Wisconsin to raise money for the recall of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Tickets went on sale two weeks prior to the show date and were sold out within four days.[61]

On July 24, 2016, during a performance of the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour in Philadelphia in conjunction with the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Miller fell off the stage at the Walnut Street Theatre, falling into the orchestra pit. John Fugelsang jumped into the orchestra pit after Miller to check on her. Civil rights lawyer Gloria Allred who was at the show, also came to her aid. Fugelsang and Frangela finished up the performance without her. Miller missed the next day's radio show, but was back on the air on Tuesday July 26.[63]

Stephanie Miller's Happy Hour podcast[edit]

On September 12, 2014,[64] Miller began Stephanie Miller's Happy Hour podcast, released weekly via paid subscription. This uncensored show of original content features many of the regulars and guests from her radio show, and other celebrities and comedians, typically consuming alcohol (as with any other happy hour) while they chat. Video versions of the Happy Hour are also available. The concept was suggested by Travis Bone, one of Miller's former producers, who thought listeners might like to hear and see what it's like to be at a party at Stephanie's house.[65] It also debuted on the Billboard charts on February 18, 2015 at #2, and was dubbed by Billboard as its "Hot Shot Debut". The Best of Stephanie Miller's Happy Hour, Volume 2, released in November 2015, repeated the feat.[citation needed]

Sexy Liberal! Of Me I Sing book release[edit]

In 2016, Miller released Sexy Liberal! Of Me I Sing, a combination of memoir and political humor. It was initially released as an e-book where it immediately became #1 on Amazon in political, humor, and memoirs, and later was released in paperback.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Miller lives in the Los Feliz[66] section of Los Angeles with her Great Pyrenees, Fred. She has never been married and has no children, and often jokingly refers to herself as "a childless loser". In the 1990s, she had celebrity dates with parody songwriter "Weird Al" Yankovic and Barry Williams of Greg Brady fame.[28]

While she had been open about her sexuality with family and friends for many years, in 2010 in the midst of the furor over gay marriage and Proposition 8 in California, she decided to publicly announce that she is a lesbian. On her August 13, 2010 radio show, Miller said, "I've reached my personal tipping point to say I am a gay woman." She then movingly shared details about her private life and personal journey in deciding to publicly disclose that she is gay. Miller credited country singer Chely Wright with helping her in coming out. Commenting in an interview with the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News on her decision, Miller said, "I realized that I can't authentically talk to [my listeners] about these issues anymore without walking in my truth. I can't just stand on the sidelines as an unbiased observer."[67][68][3] After Miller came out as gay, she recorded a video for the It Gets Better Project, whose mission is to communicate to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth that it gets better. In the video she discussed how she had lost 15 years of closeness with her family because she mistakenly thought they wouldn't accept her as gay.[69] The day after Miller came out, at a town hall in Seattle, Washington, a 16-year-old girl and her family came up to Miller "and they were all crying. They thanked me and told me I had given their daughter the courage to come out today. We all hugged and cried. And I told the young girl that it's going to be okay now; you're going to have a good life."[13]

Miller has been public about having plastic surgery, stating "As it turns out, you can fool Mother Nature!! She's not that bright." Miller's plastic surgery includes a short-scar lift, a forehead lift, under-eye peels, a permanent nose job, and lip and eye lining.[70]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Information from WYD Management Website
  2. ^ a b 2017 Talkers Heavy Hundred, Talkers Magazine, May 22, 2017
  3. ^ a b Hurley, Morgan - Radio "Talk Show Host Stephanie Miller: 'I Am A Gay Woman'"San Diego Gay & Lesbian News.Com, August 16, 2010
  4. ^ McGill, Douglas - "Ex-Rep William Miller,69, Dies; Goldwater's 1964 Running Mate". The New York Times. 25 June 1983. 
  5. ^ Q&A With Stephanie Miller, Interview with Brian Lamb, C-SPAN, January 19, 2009 - sibling age difference mentioned
  6. ^ William E. Miller, Jr. birthdate - January 21, 1959; Our Campaigns website
  7. ^ Bill Miller election results- Our Campaigns Website
  8. ^ Zremski, Jerry - "Miller's Campaign Filled With Statements That Always Seem to Need Some Clarification", The Buffalo News, November 3, 1994
  9. ^ a b c d e f Michaelson, Judith - "Queen of Some Media", Los Angeles Times, July 12, 1998
  10. ^ a b c Pergament, Alan - "Late Night In Fall Holds Promise As Miller Time"The Buffalo News, June 28, 1995
  11. ^ a b c Netsky, Ron - "Left Laughing: Stephanie Miller Moves from Sister Sleaze to Progressive Radio Queen", Rochester City Newspaper, December 27, 2006
  12. ^ Q&A With Stephanie Miller, Interview with Brian Lamb, C-SPAN, January 19, 2009
  13. ^ a b c McGaughy, Emily - Stephanie Miller on her Sexy Liberal tour and the advice she took from Chely Wright, AfterEllen, February 9, 2016
  14. ^ a b c d e f Smith, Bryan - "From Her Los Feliz Basement, Stephanie Miller Is Rallying Millions Against Trump", LA Weekly, June 20, 2017
  15. ^ Stephanie Miller's Happy Hour Podcast - 12-02-16 with Frasier Smith
  16. ^ Stephanie Miller's Popular Progressive Voice Returns to Radio With Nation's Fastest Growing Radio Format. PR Newswire. September 7, 2004
  17. ^ Johnson, Allan - "Disc Jockey Makes Time for a Second Career In Comedy", Chicago Tribune, November 18, 1988
  18. ^ An Evening at the Improv - Episode Guide, TV.Com
  19. ^ Puig, Claudia - "Next for Stephanie Miller: The Queen of All Media?", Los Angeles Times, January 3, 1995
  20. ^ a b c Ryon, Ruth - Hot Property Column, Los Angeles Times, March 9, 2003
  21. ^ "Lockport Comedian Grows Up", The Buffalo News, August 17, 1993
  22. ^ Stephanie Miller (I) IMDB
  23. ^ a b c Pergament, Alan - "New Shows, Bigger Laughs for WNY's Stephanie Miller", The Buffalo News, July 22, 1998
  24. ^ "Danny's Done; Stephanie's Back: KB Radio Changes Format", Niagara Frontier Today Media Monitor, 02/07/2006
  25. ^ "Big John Howell", Chicago Radio Spotlight, September 30, 2007
  26. ^ The Howard Hoffman Collection - reel radio.com
  27. ^ Winship, Frederick M. - Stephanie Miller Bows as Late Night Host, UPI, September 8, 1995
  28. ^ a b Alafi, Shireen - "Hear Her Purr, Hear Her Roar", Radio Guide Magazine Vol. 3, No 1
  29. ^ Tynan, William. (1995-10-02) Joining The Boys' Club. Time. Retrieved on 2012-06-11.
  30. ^ Rauzi, Robin - "Two Women Enter Late-Night Lineup : Television: Radio's Stephanie Miller and actress-model Lauren Hutton plan alternatives to current talk-show formats", Los Angeles Times, September 5, 1995
  31. ^ Anne Beatts on her experience as executive producer/writer on The Stephanie Miller Show, Television Academy Interviews
  32. ^ "It's a Late-Night Week for Danny! Bonaduce", New York Daily News, December 13, 1995
  33. ^ Richmond, Ray - "Miller signs on for Zone radio show", Variety, May 5, 1997
  34. ^ Chris Lavoie LinkedIn profile
  35. ^ Stephanie Miller Show 1998 Behind the Scenes, YouTube
  36. ^ Michaelson, Judith - "KABC-AM Is Dropping the Stephanie Miller Show", Los Angeles Times, March 2000
  37. ^ Michaelson, Judith - "Syndicator Takes Stephanie Miller's Show Off the Air", Los Angeles Times, March 8, 2000
  38. ^ Kurtz, Howard - "On Radio, More Laughter From the Left", Washington Post, June 13, 2005
  39. ^ Ryon, Ruth - "Radio Host Selling Malibu Home - She Needs Land, Not Sand", Los Angeles Times, October 28, 1999
  40. ^ Ryon, Ruth - "Hot Property Column", Los Angeles Times, April 8, 2001
  41. ^ I've Got A Secret - IMDB
  42. ^ End date of time as host of Pure Oxygen listing on Hollywood.Com
  43. ^ May Lee Live and In Person: It All Begins with Passion, by May Lee, pp. 89-90
  44. ^ Balderdash-IMDB
  45. ^ Mentioned during Miller's interview with Marc Maron on Stephanie Miller's Happy Hour - April 22, 2016
  46. ^ "Stephanie Miller's Popular Progressive Voice Returns to Radio With Nation's Fastest Growing Radio Format", PR Newswire, September 7, 20014
  47. ^ Press. WYD Media. Retrieved on 2012-06-11.
  48. ^ TALKERS magazine – Heavy Hundred 2014. Talkers.com. Retrieved on 2014-03-14.
  49. ^ "The Talkers Interview: A Conversation with Stephanie Miller", Talkers Magazine, June 2011
  50. ^ The Stephanie Miller Show - Ustream
  51. ^ Stephanie Miller Show Facebook Page, November 30, 2010
  52. ^ Lieberman, David - "Current TV To Enter AM News Competition With Radio’s Bill Press And Stephanie Miller", Deadline New York, March 5, 2012
  53. ^ "Audio clip: The Stephanie Miller Show, October 1, 2007 - Announcement of Goldwater Miller '08 bid with C.C. Goldwater". Internet Archive Wayback Machine. Archived from the original on June 10, 2008. 
  54. ^ "Video of Goldwater-Miller '08 Campaign Rally". YouTube. 
  55. ^ "Goldwater/Miller '08 Spoof Presidential Campaign Attracts Growing Media Attention Across America as the Comedy Central Candidate Exits Race", PR Newswire, November 7, 2007
  56. ^ "A.P. Hot Flash - 2 Middle Aged Women Seek the White House, Democratic Underground, October 1, 2007
  57. ^ Davis, Ali - "Stephanie Miller on moving to TV, coming out and her craziest callers", AfterEllen, April 6, 2012
  58. ^ Stephanie Miller Sexy Liberal Tour Website
  59. ^ Haithman, Diane "Can a comedy tour be 'sexy and liberal'?, Los Angeles Times, October 22, 2011 - Picture of Lily Tomlin and Edie McClurg on 2011 Sexy Liberal Tour
  60. ^ Sexy Liberal Store
  61. ^ a b "Current TV Orders Stephanie Miller Documentary Special", Broadway World, July 31, 2012
  62. ^ Anderson, Kelly - "The Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour comes to Current TV", Real Screen, August 1, 2012
  63. ^ Christopher, Tommy - Liberal Radio Host Stephanie Miller Falls Off Stage During Show MediaIte, July 25, 2016,
  64. ^ Announced on Stephanie Miller Facebook page, 9/12/14
  65. ^ Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison podcast - development of Happy Hour discussed
  66. ^ Ryon, Ruth - Hot Property Column, Los Angeles Times, April 11, 2004
  67. ^ Weinstein, Steve - EDGE Boston: Radio Talkshow Host Stephanie Miller Comes Out. edgeboston.com. August 13, 2010
  68. ^ "Stephanie Comes Out", Brad Blog, August 14, 2010, story and audio of Stephanie Miller coming out on the air
  69. ^ It Gets Better - Stephanie Miller - It Gets Better Project
  70. ^ Culture, Power and History: Studies in Critical Sociology; edited by Stephen J. Plohl; 2005; p. 32; quoting from January 2002 Harper's Bazaar Article, "Forever Young: Some Women Will Stop at Nothing to Ward Off - and Reverse the Signs of Aging", by Nancy Miller, p. 44

External links[edit]