"America may be the best country in the world, but that's kind of like being the valedictorian of summer school."
Now, I don't want to get off on a rant here, but Dennis Miller is one of the funniest guys around. I mean, when the average comedian's idea of hilarious is whining about the gender gap or their crappy jobs, Dennis Miller throws more at us. He'll be the one who throws us the obscure historical references, he's the one who expects us to keep abreast of our current events, and he's the one who makes fun of Trekkies. As a result (of the first two items at least) he's not as popular as he should be.
Of course, this is hardly to be expected, after all, the American public isn't exactly world renowned for being the most informed of populaces. That title goes to China. Personally, I blame the Republican Party. After all, how could anything other than an anti-thinking campaign get George W. Bush elected?
The fact that he's a sarcastic bastard might have something to do with it as well.
Back In The Day
It was a dark and stormy night, November 3rd, 1953, in Philadelphia, when Dennis Miller was born. Ok, that might be a lie, I have no idea if it was a clear sky at noon.
He was always a bit of a smart-ass growing up, but never really gave any serious thought to it, certainly not as a career.
He went to Point Park College in Pittsburgh, deciding to major in Journalism because it was cool and he thought that Robert Redford looked cool in All The President's Men. Of course, after graduating and finding out just how little journalists get paid, he said screw that, and worked a series of odd jobs.
The break came when he was at some comedy club, and decided that these guys really sucked. Hell, even *I* could do better than that!
So, he talked to the owner, and asked if he could get in on the slowest night, if he brought in a bunch of his friends to drink some booze. The owner agreed, and Dennis found his calling.
He worked the Comic Strip circuit for a bit, places like The Comic Strip in New York City, and The Improv in Los Angeles. He then moved back to Pittsburgh to write and appear on this PM Magazine show they got out there.
In the early 80's, he moved back to LA, and tried to take acting lessons. He figured out quick that he isn't a very good serious actor. So, he kept on doing comedy. He was in The Comedy Store, when Lorne Michaels noticed him.
What's that? Lorne Michaels finding someone really funny and launching their career? That never happens! ... at least Dennis isn't Canadian.
The Big Times
Anyhow, in 1985 Lorne offered Dennis a spot on Saturday Night Live. He fit in nicely as the anchor-person for the Weekend Update segment. Of course, sardonic political and news commentary is one of Dennis' trademarks. Well, not really, but he does it a lot.
He probably wasn't the most popular Weekend Update host. For one thing, his humor is intelligent, which doesn't endear him to people who just don't get it. Combine it with the fact that he's often somewhat condescending, and you get someone who some people don't find all that funny. Those who do find him funny, on the other hand, think he's absolutely hilarious.
He was on SNL until 1991, and when he left he had his own late night talk show, with the "smartest monologue on television". So, of course, it didn't do all that well. The Dennis Miller Show only lasted 6 months. Of course, the fact that it had a really really crappy timeslot didn't help out all that much.
He did a few HBO comedy specials. Soon enough, the kind folks over there figured out that this guy was freaking Funny! So they gave him a show. It did well. It featured a quick monologue, and then he went on to his Rants. The rants were the best part of the show, where he just went off on whatever subject was bothering him. In fact, the rants were so popular that he published 4 books of them.
And then after the rants, he'd bring on a guest, quip with them for a bit. Then he'd go to the big picture board, where he'd do pretty much the exact same thing that he did as the anchor of Weekend Update. Still hilarious.
"Two wrongs may not make a right, but a thousand wrongs make a writer."
Throughout the course of the run on HBO, Dennis Miller Live won 5 Emmy Awards, for Outstanding Writing by a Variety, Music, or Comedy Series, in 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1998. In 1996, the show also won the Emmy for the best Comedy etc. Series. ALSO in that year, Dennis walked away with a Emmy for Outstanding Comedy etc. Special, for Dennis Miller: Citizen Arcane. It was a good year for him.
Dennis Miller Live will wrap up its run on August 30, 2002. This is because HBO is filled with idiots. Oh well.
Dennis also had a job as the color commentator for Monday Night Football, which he got in 2000. However, he was only there for two seasons. Personally, I'm assuming it's because the average football fan didn't really get his humor. I doubt that many football fans will argue. I'm not sure how good he was on there, as I don't watch American Football.
Oh, and according to tallman, his timing was off and his humor out of place. Apparently he'd throw out historical references like just after people scored a touchdown and such. That just ain't right. I'll take his word for it.
Oh, and in the meantime, he's had a number of movie roles. Remember up above where I said that he stayed in comedy because he found out that he's not all that good of an actor? Well, yeah. Most of his roles have either been bit parts, or in really BAD movies. Ones where you wouldn't notice that he's not a bad actor, since he won't stand out from the rest of the cast. Movies like Bordello of Blood.
Update: Looks like Mr. Miller has gotten himself a "conservative talk show". Yeah, like there's not enough of those around now. It's on every weeknight on CNBC. Quite honestly, I've only seen a few minutes of it, but that did nothing to disprove everything I've heard about it, which was not much good. Oh well.
Anyway, there's not much to say about those other than what movies he was in, so I'll just list the Filmography below.
Kinda Non-Career Related Stuff
- He is married to Ali Epsley, a former model and a Vancouverite.
- Together they have two boys, Holden and Marlon.
- He was on Star Search. He lost in the finals to Sinbad. What's Sinbad done recently? Yeah, that's what I thought.
- He's pretty much a sell-out. Wouldn't you be? I know I would.
- His brother Jimmy is a Hollywood Agent, who manages Jim Carrey amongst others.
"What are you in show business for for Christ's sake? I'm not some minstrel strolling through the fields trying to get people to come into my tent to change their life. I'm making a living. Listen man, all the things you have to do in this world--people dig ditches and (stuff like) that--it gets so much harder. I would feel guilty turning down that sort of work. I'm all right. I'm a family man; I'm trying to take care of kids and that--I'm right there. I like people who are honest about commercials. You're stepping up and you're selling a product. What's wrong with that? I read periodically that I get castigated for that. I can't tell you how little that impinges on me."
Yes yes, Dennis Miller is quite the funny man, and HBO is probably making a really stupid mistake in canceling his show. Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.