Dennis Miller

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Dennis Miller
Dennis Miller.jpg
Miller speaking at JavaOne in 2005
Born (1953-11-03) November 3, 1953 (age 63)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Medium Stand-up, television, film, radio
Years active 1978–present
Genres Political satire, observational comedy, wit, sarcasm, sketch comedy
Subject(s) American politics, culture, conservatism, libertarianism, human sexuality, pop culture, current events
Spouse Carolyn (Ali) Espley (m. 1988) (2 children)

Dennis Miller (born November 3, 1953) is an American stand-up comedian, talk show host, political commentator, sports commentator, actor, and television and radio personality.

He rose to fame as a cast member of Saturday Night Live in 1985, and subsequently hosted a string of his own talk shows on HBO, CNBC and in syndication. From 2007 to 2015, Miller hosted a daily, three-hour, self-titled talk radio program, nationally syndicated by Westwood One.[1] He is known for his critical assessments of current events, laced with pop culture references and delivered in an idiosyncratic verbal style.

Miller is listed as 21st on Comedy Central's 100 greatest stand up comedians of all time,[2] and was ranked as the best host of SNL's Weekend Update by Vulture.com.[3]

Early life[edit]

Miller was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and grew up in the suburb of Castle Shannon. He is of Scottish descent.[4] Miller's parents separated and he was raised by his mother, Norma, a dietitian at a Baptist home.[5][6] Miller is reticent to speak about his father, usually just saying he "moved on when I was very young."[6] He is the oldest of Norma's five children, and in his early life acted as the "big-brother shepherd" for her "latch-key family".[6]

Primary school[edit]

Miller attended Saint Anne School, a Catholic elementary school.[7] Miller later described his personality during this period as "Essentially a shy kid. Never an innate performer."[6] As a child he "played street football around Castle Shannon, played baseball in buddies' backyards, played hoops at St. Anne, [and] watched too much television".[6] At St. Anne's Miller, served as manager for the Catholic Youth Organization basketball team for boys 15 to 16 years-old.[6]

High school[edit]

Miller went on to Keystone Oaks High School.[7] His two earliest childhood comedy heroes were Jonathan Winters and Tim Conway.[8] By high school he had already developed a reputation for humor.[6] Miller and his brother Rich had an open invitation to the home of his best friend Ted Wasik. The Wasik parents, Pauline and Ted "Herc" Wasik Sr. treated Miller as one of their own, Pauline later recalled that Miller would often stage his comedy during a meal, "At the dinner table -- my husband used to want to throw him out, because everybody was laughing instead of eating. That's where the comedy came in I guess."[6] At Keystone Oaks, Miller was a member of the Physical Fitness Club, and in his senior year he worked on the Keynote newspaper and served on student council (he lost his bid for senior-class president to Richard Yount).[6] His senior year he also served as co-master of ceremonies for the Keystone Oaks May Pageant, themed "Once Upon A Rumble Seat."[6] Despite a reputation for humor he was "essentially reserved and lacking in self-confidence, an unknown quantity hidden under a cover of comedy."[6] He graduated high school in 1971 with the intent of studying to become a Sports Writer.[7][6]

University[edit]

At Point Park University Miller became a member of Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity.[9] About his social status during this period, Miller writes: "When I went to college, I lived on campus, and the guys I hung out with made me do some things I'm not proud of, although they made the characters in Revenge of the Nerds look like the Rat Pack in 1962. I myself made that kid Booger look like Remington Steele" (I Rant, Therefore I Am).

In the fall of his senior year at University, Miller began writing for the South Hills Record, mixing humor in to his sports reporting. When the paper changed its payment structure Miller quit. He later recalled "I literally remember them saying they were going to pay us by the column inch. It was like an eighth of a penny. 'You're going to pay me what? I am so out of here, man.'"[6] Miller graduated from Point Park in 1976 with a degree in journalism.[10][6] Miller would later reflect on why he did not continue to pursue Journalism saying "I'm just not that interested in other peoples' business and that’s a tragic flaw in a journalist."[11]

Career search[edit]

After College Miller was unable to find work in journalism. Instead he moved through several occupations including a clerk at Giant Eagle deli, a janitor, a delivery man for a florist, and Ice Cream scooper at the Village Dairy.[6] Reflecting on his pre-comedy job history in a later discussion with Tom Snyder, Miller recalled "I remember getting out of college and sitting there in this real estate seminar. This guy telling me how hard we'd have to work and sitting in a bad hotel, like a Hyatt...we weren't allowed to go wiz. I had to listen to this guy drone on for five hours. Then he gets to the end and he says 'you don't get anything except your commissions.' And I am thinking 'I'm in Hell, I don't even know what I am going to do for a living here. I'm a nut case.' Next thing I know I'm working at an all-gay florist, I am the delivery man, I am coming in the morning and they are already doing production numbers of Hellzapoppin...Then I worked as an ice cream scoop, I was five years out of high school, I remember [being twenty-one] working as an ice cream scoop with these sixteen year-old kids talking about getting their [driver's] licences, I got a paper-hat on. The prettiest girl in my high school comes in and orders a cone off me, I'm thinking 'Yah, I'll get laid on this planet.' I just thank God that I can tell a joke, because I don't know what the hell I would be doing."[12] Miller later told the New York Times that "he worked in delis and scooped ice cream until he realized that his life was going to turn into a 'Kafka novella' unless he began seriously pursuing comedy."[13]

Leaving the Ice Cream parlor, Miller joined the staff at Point Park's Recreation Room where "he oversaw the video games, the bowling alley and the air-hockey league."[6] Air-hockey regulars nicknamed him "Clarence" after NHL Commissioner Clarence Campbell or called him "Commish", when Miller's brother Jimmy was around they referred to him as "Commush".[6] A patron from that time recalled that "Dennis would show up and sit on the pool tables and crack wise and do all the things that he's going to get a million bucks for now. That was the only place for the commuters to hang out, the Rec Room. All through school, it was the era of the Super Steelers, and the whole time we were down there we were always talking about football. He always has been a huge sports fan, so he can speak the fans' language."[6]

Beginning stand-up[edit]

In 1979 after seeing a Robin Williams comedy special on HBO, Miller decided that he had to pursue his dream of being a stand-up comedian.[6] He began appearing on-stage at the Oak Lounge in Castle Shannon, while working at the Giant Eagle deli in Kennedy.[6] Miller lived without a car and without much money in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh hitching rides or taking buses.[6] He continued to do stand-ups in Oakland and at Brandy's in the Strip District, eventually saving up $1,000 which he used to try and fast-track his comedy career by moving to New York City. He was forced to return after a year, later summing up the experience "Got my ass kicked."[6]

In 1979 Miller won $500 as a runner-up in Playboy's first annual humor competition with the following joke:

The only difference between group sex and group therapy is that in group therapy you hear about everyone's problems, and in group sex you see them.

— Dennis Miller, Playboy, June 1979[14]

Television career[edit]

In pursuit of a comedy career, Miller began performing in clubs and got on local television in Pittsburgh. In the early 1980s, Miller hosted Punch Line, a Saturday afternoon newsmagazine for teenagers, on Pittsburgh's KDKA-TV.[15] He also produced humorous essays for the syndicated Evening Magazine television program. Miller then began performing stand-up in New York comedy clubs such as Catch A Rising Star and The Comic Strip.

Miller then moved to Los Angeles doing stand-up at The Comedy Store. In LA he was befriended by other struggling comics, Jay Leno found an apartment for him and Jerry Seinfeld got him a slot at The Improv.[13] Miller appeared on Star Search, where he lost out to fellow comedian Sinbad after the two tied with judges' scores, but Sinbad won with a higher studio-audience approval rating. Miller made his first appearance on Late Night with David Letterman on June 24, 1985 (other guests where Phil Collins and Maria Conchita Alonso).[13][16]

Saturday Night Live[edit]

Miller's big break came in 1985 when he was discovered by Lorne Michaels at The Comedy Store. Michaels had him come in for an audition. Miller later recalled the conclusion of the meeting with Michaels, "He looked at me and goes, 'Would you like to do my newscast? And I said, 'Yeah, I would,' and he said, 'Well, I'll see you tomorrow.' And then I walked out. And I remember thinking, 'My life has just changed.'"[13] Miller had landed a spot on Saturday Night Live, where he succeeded Christopher Guest as the Weekend Update anchor. The spot was supposed to go to comic Jon Lovitz, but Lovitz was scheduled for other parts on the show and needed the Update segment to do costume changes; so Miller was drafted to read the news.[17] Miller began his fictional news reports with "Good evening, and what can I tell you?" and closed with "Guess what, folks? That's the news, and I am outta here!" Fans of SNL became accustomed to his smirky delivery, high-pitched giggle, and frequently primped hair idiosyncrasies that would be spoofed by Dana Carvey, Tom Hanks, and Jimmy Fallon, all of whom have impersonated Miller on the show. When Miller left SNL in 1991, the anchor's chair was turned over to Kevin Nealon.

In 1988, Miller released a stand-up comedy CD, The Off-White Album, derived from an HBO special titled Mr. Miller Goes to Washington,[18] which drew heavily from the observational and metaphor-driven style he was known for on Saturday Night Live, and showed glimpses of the political humor that would influence his later work. A well-received HBO special, Dennis Miller: Black and White,[19] aired shortly after the release of the CD.

Although Miller spent much of his time on SNL behind the Weekend Update desk, he was included in some sketches and did a few recurring characters and celebrity impersonations.[20]

Recurring characters[edit]

  • Koko, one of the pixies in the recurring sketch "Miss Connie's Fable Nook"
  • Steve, one of The Stand-Ups (others include Jon Lovitz as Bob, Damon Wayans as Keith, and Tom Hanks as Paul)

Celebrity impersonations[edit]

The Dennis Miller Show[edit]

In 1992, following his departure from Saturday Night Live, Miller launched a late-night TV talk show, The Dennis Miller Show, syndicated by Tribune Entertainment. The Dennis Miller Show continued in the tradition of "alternative" talk shows, which started with the Late Night with David Letterman show, which debuted on NBC in 1982. Nick Bakay was the announcer, and Andy Summers, formerly of the band The Police, led the house band.

Guests included Mountain, with Leslie West and Corky Laing, Toad the Wet Sprocket, who made their national television debut on the show, Henry Rollins who appeared repeatedly to chat with Miller and perform spoken word, and comedian Bill Hicks.

The show's staff boasted a mix of past and future performers, writers, and producers of note including Mark Brazill (That '70s Show), Eddie Feldmann, David Kohan and Max Mutchnick (creators of Will & Grace), Norm Macdonald, Bob Odenkirk (Mr. Show), John Riggi, Kevin Rooney, Herb Sargent (Saturday Night Live), Drake Sather, and Dave Thomas (Second City TV).

The show had problems booking guests because Helen Kushnick, the booking agent for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno let it be known that anyone appearing on a competing talk show would never be invited on Leno's program.[6][21] Miller realizing upfront that his show would have trouble competing with Late Night with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, told his show's booker to not attempt to compete for famous guests, "Don't even try for that, let's go eclectic. We'll go Gertrude Stein - weird sense of salon. I want all the fringe players, you know, who can't believe they are getting on anywhere much less you, but let's make it really an eclectic sense of salon. So they booked this aborigine drum band called Yothu Yindi. It's like five guys in thongs with small logs beating big logs. And my talent booker says 'I got a call from Yothu Yindi's people', which blew my mind first-off that they had people, 'they've been told that if they appear on here they might not get the Tonight Show.' I called Jay and said 'What the fuck are you doing, it's Yothu Yindi?!' And he obviously didn't know anything about it, so we butted heads for awhile."[22]

The show was canceled after seven months, with the Tribune Entertainment CEO saying the show lacked "the ratings growth necessary to continue."[23]

In 1993 when David Letterman left NBC for CBS as a result of the "talk show wars", he was asked by Rolling Stone which comedian he thought might be able to take over the NBC slot. He said, "I hear a lot of talk about this Dana Carvey. There's a boy we ought to look at. But you know, I started watching The Dennis Miller Show before it was canceled, and I thought, if you're looking for a guy to do a talk show at 12:30, Dennis would be a pretty good choice."[24] (The network eventually chose Conan O'Brien).

In 1995, after Leno had fired Kushnick, Miller called him and they apologized to each other. Having re-established their friendship Miller appeared on The Tonight Show on May 10, 1995.[21]

Dennis Miller Live[edit]

Beginning in 1994, Miller hosted Dennis Miller Live, a half-hour talk show on HBO. The show's theme song was the Tears for Fears hit "Everybody Wants to Rule the World", and also utilized a snippet of the song "Civilized" by the Rollins Band. The show was taped at CBS Television City on the same stage that The Price Is Right is taped. It utilized a small set and sparse lighting, and there was no band. It comprised mainly Miller, speaking to the largely unseen studio audience, on a darkened stage.

Miller hosted one guest per show, with whom he would discuss the topic of the day. Early on, guests were all interviewed live via satellite, but soon most appeared live in the studio. There was also a call-in segment. The number was originally given as 1-800-LACTOSE. Later, he referred to it only by its numeric equivalent (1-800-522-8673). Within the time available, Miller typically could accommodate only two or three calls. He gradually eliminated call-ins entirely in the last few seasons of the show.

Miller and his writing staff won five Emmy Awards during the show's run, which aired 215 episodes over nine years. HBO canceled the show in 2002.

Monday Night Football[edit]

By the end of the 1999 NFL season the ABC show Monday Night Football had its ratings decline for five seasons in row. Dropping from an average of 17.8% in of US televisions in 1994 to 13.7% by 1999. In an effort to turn things around ABC fired Boomer Esiason who had been on the show for two years. They also brought back Don Ohlmeyer who had produced the show in the 1970s and gave him the authority to pick his own announcers.[25] ABC Sports president told the AP he felt "Monday Night Football was not as special as it used to be and that's why we've take the dramatic steps we've taken. We wanted to remove some of the sameness. We wanted to reinvent a little bit."[25] Ohlmeyer set out to try and recapture the viewer excitement of the Howard Cosell and Don Meredith era.[25][26]

ABC told the AP that "About 20 people were in contention for each of the new spots in the booth, and auditioned by 'calling' a tape of last year's AFC playoff game between Buffalo and Tennessee with [Al] Michaels."[25] The LA Times noted that ESPN's Sterling Sharpe appeared to have been ABC's first choice but he had refused to return phone calls to ABC.[26] By June 2000, it was announced that Miller had beaten out Rush Limbaugh and Tony Kornheiser (among others) for a job as color commentator on ABC's Monday Night Football.[27][26] The LA Times called Miller's hiring as "one of the boldest moves in sports television history" and noted that Miller like Cosell was "someone who is loved and hated", a person seen by some "as brilliant and witty, [while] other see him as smug, pompous and obnoxious."[26] Show producer Ohlmeyer explained his thinking about hiring Miller, "Football is not played in St. Patrick's Cathedral. People watch football to have some fun. We want a telecast that's relevant, successful and unpredictable. If it doesn't work out, no amount of buzz will save us."[25]

After the announcement Miller appeared on the July 3, 2000 cover of Sports Illustrated with the title "Can Dennis Miller Save 'Monday Night Football?'"[28] Miller told reporters that he would not be trying to dominate the show. Both he and Ohlmeyer said his role would not be that of a comedian. Miller stated "I'm going to try to stay in the background and ask questions a fan would ask. The rants are my HBO show and I won't try to recreate that. I'm going to try to integrate myself in a three-man scheme."[25]

Miller and the new broadcasting team (hold-over Al Michaels on play-by-play, Dan Fouts as analyst, and Eric Dickerson with Melissa Stark reporting from the sidelines) began airing through the preseason, starting on July 31, 2000 in the preseason Hall of Fame Game between the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers.[11] The show's official season opener was on September 4, 2000 with the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos at the St. Louis Rams.[25] Miller's performance at the official opener was met with mixed reviews - the AP and the Boston Globe held that Miller had improved from preseason, but The Washington Times said he "comes off as being a smug, smarmy, smirking sort" and the Toronto Star saying "send Miller back to the Comedy Channel. ...This guy just isn't very good."[28]

Throughout Miller's Football coverage his commentary was sprinkled with esoteric references.[29] A common Miller-ism was after a Hail Mary pass fell incomplete, he would say "Hail Mary is denied – separation of church and state." He also once referred to the "Greatest Show on Turf", the St. Louis Rams receiving corps, as the "Murderer's Row of Haste".

As his first season progressed Miller's critics held "that he sounds scripted."[28] The shows ratings continued to decline - in 2001 the show had 16.8 million viewers, down from 18.5 million the year before and below the 19.4 million of pre-Miller 1999.[30] As the ratings did not improve writers from Newsweek and USA Today began openly calling for Miller to be let go.[28] Despite the questionable ratings Miller and Fouts signed a contract for a third year.[31]

Despite having hired Miller and Fouts for another year, ABC began negotiations with veteran football commentator John Madden. Madden had worked at FOX sports for eight years since the network had won the contract for the NFC conference games away from CBS in 1998. Since getting the NFL contract FOX had lost $4.4 billion (losing $387 million due to the contract in 2001 alone) and was looking to cut programming costs.[32] Madden's contract for the next year would cost FOX $8 million dollars, so when ABC was approaching Madden FOX agreed to let him out of his remaining year on their contract.[32] Despite having been hired for another year, Miller and Fouts were replaced by Madden, who was signed on February 28, 2002 for $5 million a year for four years.[28][30] (Fouts remained with CBS, being moved to cover College Football. Miller and Eric Dickerson were let go.)[32]

Miller later reflected "The football thing was fun for me. I was in the middle of a maelstrom and I just decided not to pay attention to it because for me, getting hired was a freakish act of nature. I had never gone to a football game. ...I remember the day I heard that John Madden had quit Fox (and) I remember calling Dan Fouts that afternoon and saying, 'Get ready babe, we’re getting whacked.' ...I don't have any hard feelings."[28] Elsewhere he said "As soon as Madden left Fox, I pretty much knew I was going to be whacked. Here was Madden, the Pliny the Elder of football announcers. And they were going to stay with the kid? I was having fun. I had alienated half the community, and probably half of them liked me. Which is pretty much my batting average. I began to see maybe a decade ago that my career was never going to be in complete approval. I wasn't endearing."[13] Al Michaels, while overjoyed to work with Madden, praised Miller saying "what he tried to do was the hardest thing ever attempted in broadcasting. No other non-football person or someone of that ilk could have pulled it off as well as he did."[30]

In 2010, TV Guide Network listed Miller's stint at #12 on their list of 25 Biggest TV Blunders,[33] while Awful Announcing put him at #1 in their list of the Top 10 Sports Media Busts.[34]

CNBC show[edit]

Dennis Miller
Starring Dennis Miller
Country of origin USA
No. of episodes 220
Production
Running time 60 minutes
Release
Original network CNBC
Original release January 26, 2004 – May 13, 2005

E! News later reported that MSNBC had considered Miller for a 2002 prime-time talk show, but instead went with Phil Donahue.[35]

By 2003, Miller began providing regular commentary for the Fox News show Hannity & Colmes. E! News reported that he "was being considered a suitable candidate to provide commentary [on that show]...But that deal fizzled, for reasons unknown".[35]

CNBC had seen a slide in its ratings since Brian Williams was moved to NBC to replace retiring Tom Brokaw in its NBC Nightly News. NBC Entertainment president Jeff Zucker approached Miller with an offer to do a prime-time political show weeknights in CNBC's 9pm (ET) slot, which placed him against Fox's Bill O'Reilly.[35][13] Miller accepted and the show began on January 26, 2004 called, simply, Dennis Miller.[13] CNBC announced that they were "comfortable with an unabashed Bush fan in the middle of its prime-time schedule in an election year."[36] Their President Pamela Thomas-Graham said, "When we hired Dennis, we knew exactly what his political beliefs were and his viewers will hear them. The reason we hired him is we think he's witty, smart and interesting. He's part of a lineup. He's not the only person in the lineup." She contrasted his political leanings to that of John McEnroe's whose own talk show followed Miller's in the lineup.[36] The group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting objected that one of the show's producers was Mike Murphy who was an adviser to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and charged that CNBC was setting up a conflict of interest.[36]

Miller promised to serve as "'an ombudsman' who will tell it like it is and become 'incensed' on the viewer’s behalf".[37] Stylistically Miller was seen as "attempting to be serious, angry and funny all at the same time" and the show was compared to that of Bill Maher.[37] When asked if he had the credentials to do a quasi-news show, Miller stressed he was an entertainer "I don't have credibility, I'm a comedian. I'm not Ed Murrow up on the roof in a London fog reporting on the blitz."[36]

In the beginning of the series Miller had a chimpanzee on the show named Ellie, who was declared a "consultant."[37] This was a nod to the early days of the Today show and their mascot J. Fred Muggs. After a few appearances Ellie was replaced by a smaller, friendlier chimp named Mo.[37] Reviewers theorized Ellie was let go "perhaps because she pressed the Howard Dean 'scream' button on Miller's desk one to many times."[37] Mo was noted for swinging across the studio on a rope, doing somersaults on the sofa while giving the appearance of reading Variety (magazine), and for nuzzling Miller while he gave his monologue.[37] Miller appeared to enjoy Mo's presence and his personality.[37]

The hour-long show contained a daily news segment called "The Daily Rorschach", which were wordy riffs on the news events, reminiscent of his segments on SNL's Weekend Update and his HBO show.[37] Reviewers felt Miller's riffs would benefit from a live audience for him to feed off and the show incorporated a "nightclub-style audience of 100 or so" beginning on March 9, 2004.[37] A sign giving out the toll-free telephone number to order tickets was held up by Mo.[37]

For the first half of the show Miller interviewed someone held to be able to explain a particular current issue in the news. L.A. Weekly "Miller may be up front about his own political affiliation, even to the point of shilling for the Republicans, but despite his increasingly aggressive America-first humor, he is unusually evenhanded in his selection of guests."[37] Miller had laid out his vision for such interviews before the show began airing, telling the AP "I don't want it to be a screaming shriekfest. I want it to be a pretty reasoned discourse. I don't care what Gary Coleman thinks about Afghanistan, which to me was the flaw of 'Politically Correct' towards the end."[36]

For its second half the show also featured a panel discussion dubbed "The Varsity", which offered a wide variety of political viewpoints on current topics. Frequent "Varsity" panelists included Ed Schultz, Gloria Allred, Willie Brown, David Horowitz, Mickey Kaus, Steven Katz, Lawrence O'Donnell, Phil Hendrie, and Harry Shearer. In these segments Miller acted "acts less like a host than a fellow conversationalist, and seems as happy to listen as to interrupt. But he does get in a few wisecracks."[37] Miller was praised by LA Weekly for approaching the panel in a "relatively relaxed and straightforward attitude", despite having "worked briefly as a commentator for Hannity and Colmes on Fox, he’s far from being a Murdochian attack dog, and he often sits there and sucks it up while people tell him just how awful the administration of his beloved commander-in-chief really is. ...Miller, it turns out, is considerably more interested in 'diversity' than some of his liberal counterparts."[37]

Fellow SNL alum Tim Meadows and Last Comic Standing's Ant portrayed humorous field correspondents which served as a break between the political humor.[38]

The show was openly pro-President George W. Bush and it debuted at the same time that John Kerry had become the Democratic front-runner. The inability to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a budget that was seen as out of control, and a resentment over the President's tough-talking cowboy image had all caused a major decline in President Bush's approval numbers.[37] While Miller's rating started out well with "with 746,000 people (a huge figure by CNBC standards) tuning in to the first episode, in which he interviewed his pal Arnold Schwarzenegger, but they’ve slipped down to the 300,000 range" by March 2004.[37] This was contrasted by The Daily Show with Jon Stewart which attracted 1.9 million viewers which aired at the later time slot of 11 pm.[37]

CNBC canceled the show in May 2005 due to declining viewership,[39] replacing it with Mad Money with Jim Cramer.[40]

Guest appearances and commercials[edit]

Miller has appeared as a guest or guest star on various shows, including Boston Public, The Daily Show, Hannity & Colmes, NewsRadio, The O'Reilly Factor, The Norm Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, SportsCenter, "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" and late-night talk shows such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with David Letterman, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and WWE Raw.[41]

Miller hosted the MTV Video Music Awards in 1995 and 1996. He was also the host of HBO's 1996 series of election specials, Not Necessarily the Election.

In 2003, he made a guest appearance on the adult swim show Space Ghost Coast to Coast.

He has appeared in various television commercials, serving as a spokesman for M&M's candies, 10-10-220 long distance service, and the Internet service provider NetZero. About these activities he has remarked: "Everybody has to sell out at some point to make a living. I'm a family man. I sold out to make an M&M commercial. They offer incredible amounts of money, and I say, ‘What can I do to sell one more piece of candy for you? Do you want me to hug the M&M?’"[42] Miller also did a short B2B commercial for Blockbuster/IBM partnership company, New Leaf Entertainment.[43] On February 27, 2012, Miller guest starred on Hawaii 5-0 in the episode "Lekio", along with guest star James Caan.

Return to Fox News Channel[edit]

On September 21, 2006, Miller returned to Fox News Channel with a two-and-a-half-minute commentary on illegal immigration during his "Real Free Speech" segment on Hannity & Colmes.[44] He appeared on 13 of the 17 aired episodes of the comedy show The Half Hour News Hour. Currently, he has a weekly segment called "Miller Time" on The O'Reilly Factor. Miller has also appeared on Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld under the pseudonym "Mansquito", a name Miller has pledged to use on future appearances on the network.

Game shows[edit]

Miller co-hosted the game show Grand Slam, which aired on GSN in 2007.[45]

For one month, Miller hosted Amne$ia for NBC. The show was a replacement program commissioned during the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike and was canceled once the strike was resolved and scripted programming returned to the network.

Sports Unfiltered on Versus[edit]

In November 2007, Versus tapped Miller to host Sports Unfiltered, a weekly one-hour sports talk show.[46][47] It was canceled after eight episodes.[48][49]

Radio career[edit]

The Dennis Miller Show[edit]

In January 2007, Miller signed a deal with Westwood One (later acquired by Dial Global, which rebranded itself as Westwood One) to launch The Dennis Miller Show, a weekday three-hour talk radio program.[50] The program debuted on March 26, 2007, and ran through February 27, 2015.[51] The show's website[52] provided a live stream of the broadcast. The site also made archives of all shows available in MP3 format. The live feed was free, but a subscription to the Dennis Miller Zone (DMZ) was required in order to access archived broadcasts. The show aired on 250+ stations, many of which (especially in the major markets at the time of the show's launch) were owned by Salem Communications,[53] airing on tape delay on some of those stations between 6–9 pm ET and 9 pm-12 am ET. Salem stations also aired a "best of" Miller show on Saturdays. His on-air sidekick "Salman" (David S. Weiss) also wrote for Dennis Miller Live. His producer Christian Bladt previously appeared on-camera as dozens of different characters during the "Daily Rorschach" segment on his CNBC television show.

Miller's program included serious discussions about American culture, current events, politics, and their place in the global context. The show was infused with Miller's sarcasm, which is often characterized by obscure pop culture references.[54] For example, each hour of the show once opened with an arcane reference. The first hour's opening phrase was a combination of dialogue from the film Thank You for Smoking and a U.S. space program slogan coined by Alan Shepard:[55] "What's up, Hiroshi? Let's light this candle!" Miller's other opening phrases for his second and third hours respectively were "Come to me my babies, let me quell your pain", (Powers Boothe as Jim Jones in Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones[56]) and "ABC – Always be closing if you want the knife set" (from Glengarry Glen Ross).

Most shows featured three guests (one per hour), mostly from the world of politics and entertainment, as well as calls from listeners. Guests included fellow comedians and SNL alumni (such as Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz), pundits and authors such as Ann Coulter, Aaron Klein and Mark Steyn (while the show's guest list leaned right of center, there were several liberals who appeared on the show, such as Dennis Kucinich and Alan Dershowitz), Presidential candidates, several sports commentators, and some "regulars" like columnists and conservatives such as Debra Saunders, Charles Krauthammer, Victor Davis Hanson, John Bolton, Bill Kristol, and Jerome Corsi along with entertainers such as singer Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits and actor Orson Bean. Miller generally took calls every hour, and in addition to comments about culture and politics, Miller encouraged humorous callers and often commented on their comedic delivery. A segment on Fridays was set aside for "Dennis Ex Machina", his term for a segment without a guest, where he allowed phone calls on any topic.

In a 2007 interview Miller said he felt that his radio show of all his work best represented his actual unvarnished views, saying "This time, if I'm fired, they will be firing the real Dennis Miller."[57]

According to Talkers Magazine, as of spring 2011, Miller's show had an estimated 2,250,000 weekly listeners.[58] Miller and Dial Global signed an agreement in early 2012 to continue his show for three years.[59] Miller ended the radio show after his current contract expired on March 27, 2015.[1]

Other endeavors[edit]

Miller periodically performs stand-up at the Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. In recent appearances, he has done a mix of his old and new material, with some political jokes as well.

He has authored four books based on his stand-up comedy and television monologues: The Rants (1996), Ranting Again (1999), I Rant, Therefore I Am (2000), and The Rant Zone (2001).

Miller has appeared in several films, in both comedic and non-comedic roles. His movie credits include Madhouse, Disclosure, The Net, Never Talk to Strangers, Bordello of Blood, What Happens in Vegas and Murder at 1600. He played the Howard Stern-like talk-radio host Zander Kelly in Joe Dirt (2001) and appeared as himself in Thank You for Smoking (2006).

Miller guest hosted the Slammy Awards episode of WWE Raw on December 14, 2009.

Comedic style[edit]

Miller is known for his laid-back style (for example, calling people "babe" or referring to them as "cats") and acerbic, brooding sense of humor. His specialty is the rant—a stream-of-consciousness monologue in which he rails against whatever happens to be bothering him at the moment. Such rants typically begin with "Now, I don't want to get off on a rant here, but..." and end with "...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong."

Miller listed his comedic influences for the New York Times as including "Jonathan Miller, Richard Pryor, Richard Belzer and Mr. [Jay] Leno."[13] When the Times asked him "about the two comedians with whom he has often been compared, Mort Sahl and Lenny Bruce."[13] Miller had mixed reactions, the Times reported "He said he had transcripts of some of Mr. Sahl's early shows and was amazed by them. But then he lost interest. Mr. Sahl, he said, became too close to the Kennedy family and was a 'savage name-dropper.' Mr. Miller added, 'It always reminded me to watch myself.' ...'Lenny was a heroin addict, and I could care less about heroin addicts. Once I hear a guy is a heroin addict, and they tell me he's a genius, I think, really? I'm not trying to be judgmental. But anybody whose last vision is of a tile pattern on a bathroom floor, I don't know what kind of genius they are.'"[13]

Describing his career Miller stated "It's all been built on arcane references, precision of language, and a reasonably imperturbable nature on TV. The basics are there, but I've been getting paid, making a living and having fun with it for next to 25 years and you know that blows my mind that I've stuck with it. That's my favorite part of showbiz, hangin' in knowing that something good is coming along. ...When I was starting, I thought I'd have to have a sword-in-the-stone moment of inspiration where I'd have to lay around for it to be visited on me. SNL was just a machine, and if you screwed two or three 'Updates' up, guess what, they have someone new and ready to go. So I learned how to pick up any newspaper and have five usable jokes in five minutes. "I don't ever wanna get self-important. I'm a comedian, and I want everyone in my life to know it. The stream-of-consciousness style is my monkey trick. I sit there, I watch stuff, and cultural references bump into my head. I watched a lot of TV when I was a kid."[38]

When asked if accepted others' title of him - "the 'intelligent' comedian" he replied "The smartest thing I ever did was not buying into the fact that people thought I was smart. I was telling jokes about where I named the robot maid for The Jetsons. It’s just a joke. I just did jokes. I never had my head up my ass that I mattered. I’m trying to get laughs. ...I'm OK [intelligence wise]. I remember I had a writer once who told me, and we disagreed about everything so I know he didn't think I was smart, but he said, 'I'll give you this. You have a deep drawer and a nice retrieval system.' I always thought that was a good appraisal of whatever limited comedy gift I had. I have a pretty good memory for pop arcana and a pretty quick retrieval system."[11]

Personal life[edit]

Miller married Carolyn "Ali" Espley,[60] a former model from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on April 10, 1988. Espley is best known as the girl in Kajagoogoo's "Too Shy" music video. The couple live in Santa Barbara, California, and have two sons, Holden (born 1990) and Marlon (born 1993). His younger brother Jimmy Miller is a partner in the Hollywood management company Gold/Miller representing comedians such as Jim Carrey, Will Ferrell, Judd Apatow, and Sacha Baron Cohen.[13]

Political views[edit]

Although in his early years of fame he was perceived to be a staunch liberal and an outspoken critic of Republicans, in recent years, Miller has become known for his neoconservative political opinions.[61]

He is a regular political commentator on Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor in a segment called "Miller Time", and previously appeared on the network's Hannity & Colmes in a segment called "Real Free Speech."

Outlook[edit]

When asked if his political outlook was a result of early influence by his parents, Miller told a reporter "I didn't know my Dad — he moved out early. And my mom's politics were kind of hardscrabble. She didn't think about Democrats or Republicans. She thought about who made sense. I've been both in my life. Somebody can say they don't understand why somebody drifts. But I've always found people who drift interesting, 'cause it shows me the game's not stagnant in their own head. They're thinking."[62]

During the late 1980s and continuing through the 1990s, Miller was generally perceived as a cynic on the left, ever eager to bash conservative Republicans.

Miller has said that he privately began to change his politics in 1992 when liberals made jokes about the poor performance Ross Perot's running mate James Stockdale had during a televised debate. Stockdale was a decorated Vietnam P.O.W. and Miller saw jokes about him as mockery, he would later comment "You know, Stockdale, we would have been blessed to have him as a president. I don't care if he's bad on TV. He was a hero and an icon. I saw people on the left go, 'Who's this old guy who's bad on TV?'...If he's the problem, that's too hip a room for me. That's when I got out."[63] Miller has repeated this story on his podcast "The PO'D Cast" with Adam Carolla, saying that one of the factors was watching Democrats mock and ridicule former VP candidate James Stockdale. He quipped how Stockdale who "tapped out Morse Code prayers with American POWs so they wouldn't kill themselves, is getting hammered because he isn't good on TV."[citation needed]

The perception that Miller was a member of the political left did not change much even when Miller told USA Today in 1995: "I might be profane and opinionated, but underneath all that are some pretty conservative feelings. On most issues, between Clinton and Newt Gingrich, I'd choose Newt in a second, even though he is a bit too exclusionary."[64] Miller also declared himself a "conservative libertarian" in a 1996 Playboy interview.[64]

Miller would later tell American Enterprise that one of the reasons he became more conservative was due to liberal critiques of Mayor Rudy Giuliani's approach to fighting crime in New York City (which began around 1994). "When I kept hearing liberals equating Giuliani with Hitler--that's when I really left the reservation. Even before 9/11, I'd travel to New York and say, 'Wow, this city certainly seems to be running better. Giuliani is the kind of leader I admire. When it's five below zero and you arrest somebody to get him inside off the street--that's not something Hitler would do. It made me realize that I was with the wrong group if that's what Hitler looked like to them."[31]

Miller's ideology changed significantly in the years following the September 11, 2001 attacks,[65] Miller called the attack "the biggest tragedy in the history of this country" and that it not only temporarily halted his comedy but made it difficult to talk, "I couldn't put together a sentence for two weeks, much less something pithy."[31]

His convictions led him to became one of the few Hollywood celebrities backing George W. Bush and the war in Iraq.[65] Miller has said that one of the defining moments, in addition to 9/11, for his move from the Democratic to the Republican Party was watching a 2004 primary debate between the nine Democrats then contending for their party's nomination. "I haven't seen a starting nine like that since the '62 Mets", he remarked.[64]

In a 2007 interview with Bill O'Reilly Miller spoke on the subject of his political outlook "Well, listen. I must say that I never considered myself a secular progressive. ...I didn't consider myself that then, and I don't consider myself to be Curtis LeMay now. I have always thought of myself as a pragmatist. And I began to see a degree of certitude on the left that I found unsettling. I don't like lockstep, even if it's lockstep about being open-minded. And after 9/11, I remember thinking we might have to get into some preemptive measures here. And that seemed to put me — I don't know — off to the kids' table." He said that his more open conservatism may have cost him some passing acquaintances, but it has not affected "my dear friends. I certainly hope our friendship runs deeper than that. I still have some ultra-liberal friends."[66]

Slate.com commentator Dennis Cass describes Miller as having changed from a "left-leaning, Dada-ist wisenheimer" to a "tell-it-like-it-is, right-wing blowhard."[67] The perceived change did not surprise former Saturday Night Live colleague and Democratic Party Senator Al Franken, however: "People have said to me, ‘What happened to Dennis?’ Nothing happened to Dennis. He's the same Dennis. He's always had a conservative streak on certain issues."[68] In a different interview Franken stated "Dennis was always sort of conservative on certain kinds of issues. I am not quite sure why he decided to become a comedian with a dog in the fight, but as a comedian with a dog in the fight I sympathize with him."[69]

While not at all shy about expressing his conservative views on topics such as taxes and foreign policy, Miller is quick to point out that he is still quite liberal on many social issues, including abortion and gay marriage.[68] During an interview, Miller said "I'm basically a libertarian. I'm pro-gay marriage and pro-choice, but nobody wants to hear all that.... They determine who you are based on the war."[citation needed] He made similar comments in a 2004 interview saying "I've always been a pragmatist. If two gay guys want to get married, it's none of my business. I could care less. More power to them. I'm happy when people fall in love. But if some idiot foreign terrorist wants to blow up their wedding to make a political statement, I would rather kill him before he can do it, or have my country kill him before he can do it, instead of having him do it and punishing him after the fact. If that makes me a right-wing fanatic, I will bask in that assignation. ...I think abortion's wrong, but it's none of my business to tell somebody what's wrong. So I'm pro-choice. I want to keep my nose out of other people's personal business. I guess I fall into conservative when it comes to protecting the United States in a world where a lot of people hate the United States. ..."[After 9/11] Everybody should be in the protection business now. I can't imagine anybody not saying that. Well, I guess on the farthest end of the left they'd say, 'That's our fault.' And on the middle end they'd say, 'Well, there's another way to deal with it other than flat-out protecting ourselves.' I just don't believe that. People say we're the ones who make them hate us because of what we do. That's garbage to me. I think they're nuts. And you've got to protect yourself from nuts."[13]

Along these same lines, Miller is also open about his religious views saying "I'm not a Christian, but I believe in God. Whether or not someone is pro-choice is none of my business. That's God’s business. It's in His job description, not mine."[57]

During an interview on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, he said that he did not believe in global warming.[70]

In a radio interview with Penn Jillette on September 22, 2006, Miller explained his libertarianism, saying, "...[a libertarian is] what I am, I'll be honest with you. I'm for gay marriage. I don't believe in abortion but I'm pro-choice 'cause it's none of my business. Pretty much anything goes with me if you're not infringing yourself on other people, but I'll tell ya, 9/11 changed me.... You gotta go around and explain it to people and they think you're a turncoat."[71]

George W. Bush[edit]

An indication of Miller's political change can be seen in his view of President George W. Bush. Miller had previously joked about George W. Bush's intelligence, in a July 31, 2000 interview about joining Monday Night Football, the LA Times reporter noted "He shifted from Jim Brown to George W. Bush: 'God, the man thinks Croatia is the show that's on after Moesha.'"[72][11] In another incident he joked "Bush can't walk and fart at the same time."[73] In January 2001 on his HBO series, Miller joked "Condoleezza Rice has often been described as W's 'foreign policy tutor.' Oh, yeah, I love the sound of that. It's nice to know we're signing our nuclear arsenal over to a man who needs after-school help."[38]

But after 9/11 Miller's opinion had altered dramatically. In 2003 Miller told an interviewer that he was impressed by Bush for pursuing "The liquidation of terrorism" even though "that's not gonna be finished in his lifetime...But to take the first step? Ballsy."[62] He felt it was likely that "the secular state of Iraq and Islamic fundamentalists cohabitate" as "They both think we're Satan."[62] He concluded with "I will say this, I feel more politically engaged than I've ever felt in my life because I do think we live in dangerous times, and anybody who looks at the world and says this is the time to be a wuss—I can't buy that anymore."[62] Miller showed his commitment to Bush by speaking at the President's fund-raisers in Los Angeles and San Francisco.[74][75] During this time, he jokingly referred to himself as "a Rat Pack of one for the president in Hollywood."[73] The LA Times noted that he was "raising his political profile" at this time, he had "spoke out passionately in favor of the war in Iraq. He has made frequent appearances on conservative talk radio; he does weekly political commentary for 'Hannity & Colmes,' a Fox News Channel talk show."[74]

In 2003 the Weekly Standard called Miller "the loudest pro-Bush/pro-war voice in Hollywood"[76] and quoted his comment on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, from February of that year. Miller advocated invading Iraq and vented his displeasure at France's lack of support for the idea, saying "I say we invade Iraq and then invade Chirac. You run a pipe--you run a pipe from the oil field right over this Eiffel Tower, shoot it up and have the world's biggest oil derrick. ...Yeah. Listen, I would call the French scum bags, but that, of course, would be a disservice to bags filled with scum."[76] That same year the National Review wrote "Conservatives...have welcomed and even cheered the comedian's unabashed patriotism and endorsement of President Bush’s foreign — and, in certain cases, domestic — policy."[77] They noted that "During appearances on The Tonight Show, he has also advocated profiling at airports and oil-drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge."[77]

On March 23, 2003 Michael Moore delivered an antiwar speech at the Academy Awards while accepting an Oscar for Bowling for Columbine. The speech in part accused the Bush administration of misleading the public in order to go into war, criticized the government's claims that Americans could secure their homes from biological, chemical or radiological attack by use of plastic sheeting and duct tape,[78] and held the color alerts of the Homeland Security Advisory System as suspect. Moore stated "...We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it’s the fiction of duct tape or the fiction of orange alerts, we are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you."[79] In response Miller stated that when "we say that we love it [the USA]...he's going to tell us what naive sheep we are and that he's the true patriot because he hates it and he sees all the problems in it. Michael Moore simultaneously represents everything I detest in a human being and everything I feel obligated to defend in an American. Quite simply, it is that stupid moron's right to be that utterly, completely wrong."[35][80]

In May 2003 Miller was invited by the Wall Street Journal to write an opinion piece in response to Norman Mailer's anti-war commentary in the London Times that had appeared earlier in the month and which had claimed "With their dominance in sport, at work and at home eroded, Bush thought white American men needed to know they were still good at something. That's where Iraq came in..."[73][81] Miller responded "You know something, the only 'race' that really occurred to me during the war was our Army's sprint to Baghdad. ...And as Mr. Mailer's prostate gradually supplants his ego as the largest gland in his body, he's going to have to realize, as is the case with all young lions who inevitably morph into Bert Lahr, that his alleged profundities are now being perceived as the early predictors of dementia."[73]

On Friday, June 27 2003 President Bush made a 30-minute appearance at a $2,000 a plate fundraiser luncheon for his re-election campaign at Burlingame, California (described as a suburb of San Francisco), netting $1.6 million.[82][83][84] Miller made an appearance at the luncheon fundraiser and was then invited to ride in the Presidential limousine and fly on Air Force One so he could host the President's second fundraiser that day, a dinner at Los Angeles (where he appeared with Johnny Mathis and Kelsey Grammer).[85][84][86][36] He mocked Democratic Governor of Vermont Howard Dean who opposed the Iraq War and had entered the race days before, Miller said "He can roll up his sleeves all he wants at public events, but as long as we see that heart tattoo with Neville Chamberlain's name on his right forearm, he's never going anywhere."[86][84] Bush made a 35-minute speech at the LA fundraiser before leaving for Crawford, Texas and the campaign made an additional $3.5 million.[83] (That night a videotaped Miller made a debut appearance on Fox New's Hannity & Colmes).[84]

In October 2003 Miller's interview with The American Enterprise was published where he praised Bush, saying "He's much smarter than his enemies think he is. I think he's a genius. People whine about him getting into Yale—the way I see it, if your old man buys a building you should get into Yale! But I think he could have gotten into Yale on his own; he's a very smart man. ...The fact that midway through his life, he realized he was drinking too much and screwing up and stopped it—that's more impressive than what college he attended. What he did is a fine accomplishment, and I think it's putting him in touch with his God. ...In this messed up world, I like seeing my President pray. I don’t think a person can get answers out of books anymore. This is an infinitely complex world and at some point one has to have faith in one's religion. I find it endearing that President Bush prays to God and that he’s not an agnostic or an atheist. I'm glad there’s someone higher that he has to answer to."[31]

In the AE interview, Miller was asked about the outrage and public destruction of their music CD's that occurred as a response to the Dixie Chicks's Natalie Maines criticizing Bush at one of their concerts, when she said "We're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas."[31] Miller stated "The Dixie Chicks got exactly what they deserved. In a time of war, to go on foreign soil [London, England] and decry your President should probably cause a hue and cry. When it first happened, I thought, "I'm never going to buy another one of their albums." And then I thought, "You know what, I’ve never bought one of their albums—I don’t like their music."[31]

Miller sat in the gallery of two of President Bush's State of the Union addresses, on September 2, 2002 and as the President's guest on January 21, 2004.[87][88][89][36]

In 2004 while Miller prepared to host his CNBC program he told the Associate Press that his show was not going to do any jokes about George W. Bush, he explained "I like him. I'm going to give him a pass. I take care of my friends."[36] Miller would explain this further in a 2008 interview, "I thought it was so integral that he got re-elected that I laid off him for awhile. There's something to be said for standing up in front of a roomful of press and saying I'm not going to do Bush jokes. At least it was honest, and I could see they were gobsmacked. There's jokes I get presented with everyday that I'll take out because they're ripping on people I know. Guess what, if they're my friend, I pull it out. I'm not interested in hurting people, and it's not just because of 9/11."[38]

Reflecting on his thoughts near the end of Bush's second term in 2007 Miller still had good words for the President "After 9-11, it was a different world. One where crazies strap a bomb to their kids in the name of religion. Bush and Giuliani were fearless leaders during the national crisis. Thank God Bush chose to stay on the offense."[57]

Candidacy Consideration[edit]

In 2003 Rob Stutzman and other members of the leadership for the Californian Republican party, after seeing the political success of Arnold Schwarzenegger approached Miller in an effort to draft him to challenge Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer. Miller had supported Schwarzenegger's candidacy, even acting as its post-debate spokesperson after the Sacramento gubernatorial debate on September 24, 2003. He then went on to speak at a Schwarzenegger rally that same night.[74][75]

When asked about the possibility of facing a Miller candidacy, spokesman for Boxer, Roy Behr dismissed his odds "The Republican Party has gone through a desperate search to find someone who is remotely credible -- they've looked at everybody and everything, and they couldn't find anybody, so they're looking at bringing in the circus. I think the public has always registered how they feel about Dennis Miller. And that's why he got booted off 'Monday Night Football.'"[74][75]

The Weekly Standard's Bill Whalen, saw that with the ascent of Schwarzenegger, other celebrities were considering political careers (such as Republican Kelsey Grammer). Examining Miller's chances for the Senate seat the Standard pointed out that it was "hard to imagine a candidate quicker on the draw or more withering in a debate".[76] But the piece went on to note that other Republican celebrities had been able to make the transition to elected politician (Schwarzenegger, Ronald Reagan, Sonny Bono), because they "embodied optimism".[76] Miller, the Standard proclaimed, was seen in contrast as "both terribly erudite...and decidedly yuppie (the comedian endorses DirecTV and Amstel Light, not his namesake brew). Not to mention a little too edgy for some Republicans."[76] The Standard noted that he had been booed by some in the Republican audience during his Los Angeles fund-raiser for President Bush when he said Democratic "West Virginia senator Robert Byrd 'must be burning the cross at both ends'."[76] Miller had responded "'Well, he was in the [Ku Klux Klan|Klan]]. Boo me, but he was in the Klan.'"[76] The Standard said "he'd be an HBO politician trying to play to a T.G.I. Friday's electorate."[76]

When asked about Miller's chances, Martin Kaplan, director of USC's Norman Lear Center theorized that Miller might face a tough primary battle to win the Republican nomination from other members of the party that had actual political experience. He told a reporter that while Miller did have good name recognition, unlike Schwarzenegger he did not have the ability to "chill the enthusiasm of other Republicans from getting into the race."[74]

By November 2003, the New York Times did a piece on the Republican opposition to Boxer and reported that "Mr. Miller was never serious about the idea, Republican officials who spoke with him say. ...'Dennis has never contacted us,' said George M. Sundheim III, chairman of the state Republican Party".[90] The Times pointed out that while the G.O.P. was talking about drafting him, Miller "had signed a multiyear contract with CNBC as a political talk show host."[90]

Miller, invoking his pleasant home life in Santa Barbara with his wife and two children, later told the New York Times "They inquired about my availability to run against Barbara Boxer, but I'm not at the point where I would consider it."[13] He expanded on the subject in an interview with Time magazine saying he had declined the draft offer, because "At some point that involves moving to Washington, D.C., sitting in a room all day with a moron like Barbara Boxer. I'm just not interested. I like open minds, and I think in Washington right now, we might as well start painting those people red and blue."[62] He told the AP "Maybe when I get older I would think about it, just as a lark, view it as its own form a of TV show. I think it would be fun to get in there and turn out the whole process - just refuse to play and don't budge. Get rid of me if you want, but I'm just going to do what I want."[36]

SNL 40th Anniversary[edit]

Miller did not appear on the 2015 show for the 40th Anniversary of Saturday Night Live, and rumors spread that he and fellow alum Victoria Jackson had not been invited due to their conservative political activism. Miller took to Twitter to dispel such claims saying "Lorne Michaels is one of the classier, well-mannered men I've ever met. When he says EVERYONE was invited, everyone was invited. #snl40 " Miller had also expressed on his syndicated radio program before the airing of the anniversary show that he had chosen not to attend.[91]

Political Support[edit]

In 1992 Miller who had endorsed the candidacy of Jerry Brown during the democratic primaries, moved his support to Independent candidate Ross Perot.[92] Miller went so far as to became a volunteer for Ross Perot's candidacy at his San Fernando Valley campaign office. Miller told a reporter "I don't know that you need to know that much about him. He's an outsider, and the two-party system is going to hell." Miller stated that he had become "'really grossed out' by the system after observing the behavior of politicians in both parties during the confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas.[93]

Ross Perot dropped out of the Presidential race on July 16, 1992 saying he feared a conspiracy against his family, many began to joke about his sanity. On July 30, 1995 Miller told a reporter "I'd vote for him [Perot] tomorrow. I don't think he's a genius but I love the thought of him at State Dinners mistaking the Queen of Denmark for Kaye Ballard. People say to me, 'You wouldn't want Ross Perot with his finger on the button?' But believe me, they would never let Ross Perot near the real button. They would rig up a stunt button for him and if he ever pressed it, it would squirt him in the face with milk or something."[94]

In 1995 considering the candidates for President, Miller told a reporter "I don't respect him [Bill Clinton]. He's the same as [George H.] Bush or [Bob] Dole. Clinton's my age, and I know how full of shit I am. So, I look at him and think, 'I know you. You're the guy who used to tap the keg.'"[94] He would continue to mock Clinton when he won the Presidency and later admitted to voting for Bob Dole in the 1996 election (despite Ross Perot being on the ballot in every state).[95]

On February 21, 2007, while appearing as a guest on The O'Reilly Factor, and again on May 25, 2007, while appearing as a guest on The Tonight Show, Miller stated that he initially supported Rudy Giuliani for president in 2008. After Giuliani's departure from the race he redirected his support to John McCain.[96]

Miller endorsed Herman Cain in the 2012 Republican primary, but later dropped his support, saying of Cain, "He can't win!"[97] He later campaigned for Mitt Romney in the general election.[98] After the Presidential election of 2012, Miller appeared on Fox News Channel and said that under Barack Obama, the US is on the road to the "European model".[99]

In 2016 Miller did not endorse any particular GOP primary candidate. By December 16, 2015 (when the field had been reduced to nine candidates) he told Bill O'Reilly "I would vote for any of them over Hillary, except for Lindsey Graham who is like a varicose Charlie Crist (I get the feeling he's out the door when he gets a chance), and Pataki who I shared an elevator with once and he is a creepy, creepy drip. But other than that I would vote for any of those people over Hillary."[100] Miller became a strong supporter of Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. general election, addressing a Tweet to Republicans who were uncertain after Trump wrapped up the nomination "Don’t kid yourself. At this point, any vote for anyone that is not Donald Trump is a vote for Hillary Clinton. Also, both Presidential boxes left blank is a vote for Hillary Clinton because as mindless as Liberals can be even they don’t enter into suicide pacts with that petulant, whiny part of themselves. As that is your wont, fine…do it! But don’t bullshit yourself. You’re electing Hillary Clinton because you want to elect Hillary Clinton."[101] One of the reasons Miller opposed Clinton was her support for unrestricted access to abortion, Miller told Bill O'Reilly "The left believes in cradle to grave entitlement. They just make it hard to get to the cradle."[102]

Media[edit]

Film[edit]

TV shows[edit]

Comedy specials[edit]

  • Mr. Miller Goes to Washington (1988)
  • The 13th Annual Young Comedians Special (1989) (host)
  • The Earth Day Special (1990)
  • Black & White (1990)
  • Live from Washington, D.C.: They Shoot HBO Specials, Don't They? (1993)
  • State of the Union Undressed (1995)
  • Citizen Arcane (1996)
  • The Millennium Special: 1,000 Years, 100 Laughs, 10 Really Good Ones (1999)
  • The Raw Feed (2003)
  • Dennis Miller: All In (2006)
  • The Big Speech (2010)
  • America 180 (2014)

Audio[edit]

  • The Off-White Album (Warner Bros. Records, 1988)
  • The Rants (Random House Audio, 1996)
  • Ranting Again (Random House Audio, 1998)[104]
  • Rants Redux (Random House Audio, 1999)
  • I Rant, Therefore I Am (Random House Audio, 2000)
  • The Rant Zone: An All-Out Blitz Against Soul-Sucking Jobs, Twisted Child Stars, Holistic Loons, and People Who Eat Their Dogs! (HarperAudio, 2001)
  • Still Ranting After All These Years (HarperAudio, 2004)

Print[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Dennis Miller To End Syndicated Show" from Radio Insight (February 27, 2015)
  2. ^ "Comedy Central 100 Greatest Standups of all Time". Listology.com. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  3. ^ Reilly, Dan (May 17, 2014). "A Complete Ranking of Saturday Night Live 'Weekend Update' Anchors". Vulture.com. 
  4. ^ Miller, Dennis (1994-04-20). Live from Washington, D.C. – They Shoot HBO Specials, Don't They? (TV). HBO. 
  5. ^ Myers, Chuck (July 27, 2000). "1ST PERSON: Meet Dennis Miller". Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Chuck Finder (July 30, 2000). "Dennis Miller: Monday Night Live". 
  7. ^ a b c "People: Peter Wood on Dennis Miller on NRO Weekend". National Review. Retrieved 2010-10-07. 
  8. ^ Miller, Dennis; Conway, Tim (2013-11-01). "The Dennis Miller Show" (Interview). Interview with Dennis Miller. 
  9. ^ "Welcome to Sigma Tau Gamma, Gamma Omega Chapter". Baylorsigtau.com. Retrieved 2010-10-07. 
  10. ^ "Dennis Miller Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c d Jimmie Tramel (January 1, 2017). "Tulsa-bound comedian Dennis Miller riffs on SNL, MNF and the origin of spin". Tulsa World. 
  12. ^ 1995-Dennis Miller. The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder. July 28, 1995. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Bernard Weinraub (January 15, 2004). "The Joke Is on Liberals, Says Dennis Miller, Host Of His Own Show Again". New York Times. 
  14. ^ "Funny Money". Playboy. 26 (6). June 1979. ISSN 0032-1478. 
  15. ^ The Comedy Zone Humor Network. "Dennis Miller : Comedian Profile". Comedy-zone.net. Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-07. 
  16. ^ "Late Night with David Letterman (a Guest Stars & Air Dates Guide)". epguides.com. 
  17. ^ "Penn Jillette Radio Show. Special Guest: Dennis Miller". Penn Radio. 2006-09-22. 
  18. ^ Mr. Miller Goes to Washington Starring Dennis Miller (1988) at the Internet Movie Database
  19. ^ Dennis Miller: Black and White (1990) at the Internet Movie Database
  20. ^ Dennis Miller, SNL Archives
  21. ^ a b Scott D. Pierce (May 5, 1995). "Late-Night Talk-Show Battle has gotten a lot Tighter". Deseret News. 
  22. ^ When Jay Leno Pissed Off Dennis Miller. CampusInsiders. October 15, 2015. 
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  92. ^ Barry Crimmins (2004). Never Shake Hands with a War Criminal. Seven Stories Press. p. 47. 
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  95. ^ Steve Hammel (December 23, 1996). "Whatever Happened to Hail to the Chief?". LA Times. 
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  101. ^ Amy Moreno (July 20, 2016). "Comedian Dennis Miller, "Any Vote for Anyone That is Not Trump Is a Vote for Hillary"". 
  102. ^ Greg Richter (October 20, 2016). "Dennis Miller: 'Ship Has Sailed' on Conservatism". Associated Press. 
  103. ^ "Boston Public (2000-2004) Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. 
  104. ^ Miller, Dennis (1998). Ranting Again. Random House Audio. ASIN B0000544YK. 

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Christopher Guest
Weekend Update anchor
1985–1991
Succeeded by
Kevin Nealon
Preceded by
First host
MTV Movie Awards host
1992
Succeeded by
Eddie Murphy