Lenny Bruce in Reverse
January 26, 2004 9:18 AM   Subscribe

A rant about a ranter who gets another 15 minutes starting on CNBC tonight. He was fired from Monday Night Football and his HBO show was finally canceled after the big-word, obscure reference shtick got tired. Much has been made of his post-9/11 ideological conversion, but there's a case to be made he's just showing true colors dating back to his SNL days. At least back then, this ranter says, he was willing to take on any authority figure, without fear or favor. But now he seems to be a lapdog of the power structure, a "Lenny Bruce in reverse." I still admit to a bit of warm feeling for the guy, maybe because it's still a little flattering to understand his references in this dumb-o-centric age. But he scares me a little, now.
posted by Slagman (74 comments total)
 
Uhm, he's a lapdog of the power structure simply because he holds some conservative ideals now?

Get a grip/clue.
posted by xmutex at 9:24 AM on January 26, 2004


Here's all you need to know about Dennis Miller:

Dennis Miller to Give Bush a Free Pass
"I like him," Miller explained. "I'm going to give him a pass. I take care of my friends."

The word "whore" comes to mind.
posted by 2sheets at 9:25 AM on January 26, 2004


How do you fare with authentic interpersonal relationships?
posted by Satapher at 9:29 AM on January 26, 2004


The argument is, he used to be an equal opportunity basher. Nobody in power, regardless of party, was spared. Now he has taken a side. Certainly his right, but it kind of makes him less interesting.
posted by Slagman at 9:31 AM on January 26, 2004


2sheets, I found this bit more interesting:

Miller has two words for people concerned about his credentials as host of a quasi-news show: lighten up.

"I don't have credibility, I'm a comedian," he said. "I'm not Ed Murrow up on the roof in a London fog reporting on the blitz."

As a viewer, Miller believes one of the titans of objective network news — ABC anchorman Peter Jennings — couldn't appear more liberal.

"At least I come out upfront and tell people about my politics," Miller said. "He sits there and displays it through subtle poker (expressions) all year long — the raised eyebrows, the arch tone of the voice. We get it that he's liberal. We get it that he doesn't like Bush. Just come out and say it!"

(Replied ABC News spokeswoman Cathie Levine: "Peter Jennings is an experienced journalist who respects the boundaries of fairness and accuracy in all his reporting.")

posted by tirade at 9:38 AM on January 26, 2004


Anyone remember his character in The Net? Another turncoat who met a much deserved end....
posted by rushmc at 9:38 AM on January 26, 2004


The argument is, he used to be an equal opportunity basher.

I admit that made him more fun back in the day. Both right and left wing pieties and stupidities offer ample opportunities for hilarious shredding, and it seems like a waste of good comedy talent to spare anyone in my opinion. But priority one for comedy is it better be fuckin' funny, regardless of politics.

But it seems he's decided he's gonna be a house organ, which is just tiresome. Maybe we can lock him in a cage with Margaret Cho and they can claw eachother to death.

Message to all comics everyone: if you aren't going to be funny, than just shut the fuck up.
posted by jonmc at 9:39 AM on January 26, 2004


I agree with Slagman. Even if you are a conservative, there is plenty to bash Bush with (or at least complain about), he does lots of things that are not traditionally conservative, and is generally (like any prez, or any person for that matter) easy to find little nits to pick that can be funny. A free pass for your 'friends'? That's not good for any political talk show and even worse for a comedian.

That is what makes him a lapdog, not his conservative ideology-- there are plenty of non lapdog conservatives, just as there were plenty of non lapdog liberals when Clinton was in power.

Furthermore, I really can't stand anyone who just started noticing what was going on in the world on 9/11. All it says to me is that you just weren't paying attention, and now you're completely ill-equipped to navigate the international-politcial landscape.
posted by cell divide at 9:40 AM on January 26, 2004


Message to all comics everyone: if you aren't going to be funny, than just shut the fuck up.

One could say the same about bloggers. How about: if you don't someone funny, don't listen. (I don't find Miller funny any more, so I've stopped listening.)
posted by jpoulos at 9:46 AM on January 26, 2004


If 911 was what changed him, then he's a fool. I have difficulty understanding why any educated/informed person would run to the team that dropped the ball on the counter-terrorism plan in early 2001, failed to do what was necessary to stop it, and to add insult to injury, essentially ran and hid like the cowards on 911. I'm sure there are plenty that disagree with me, people that were with me in Manhattan that day and elsewhere, but I still haven difficulty understanding this position.

Also, can we draft a movement to get Miller and his ilk (O'Reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh) to STOP calling themselves "conservatives"? It's really not what they are, and it's an insult to Barry Goldwater and Bill Buckley. I prefer knee-jerk reactionary, or anti-populist, or something. Maybe just "right wing" is the most appropriate one.
posted by psmealey at 9:53 AM on January 26, 2004


How about: if you don't someone funny, don't listen. (I don't find Miller funny any more, so I've stopped listening.)

I do the same with comics I don't like. but I assume that comics are performers, they'd like to have an audience. So call it wiseass career advice.

I've got another question, and I'm honestly just curious: The people putting down Miller, do you not like him anymore because his politics changed, or because he's not funny anymore?

I ask because I always found the idea of choosing entertainment based on politics strange. It's like not listening to a band because you don't approve of their footwear. I mean I voted for Clinton twice, but hey there's a lot about the man to make fun of, so I'll laugh at it.
posted by jonmc at 9:53 AM on January 26, 2004


Yes, jpoulos, you are right, but I did enjoy the guy at one time, so this is something of a fan's lament on my part.
It's not that he drifted to the right. It's that he's allowing a partisan instinct to override his funny bone. If you want to send a message, try a telegram. I prefer not to beat over the head with a message, left or right. A comic's first duty is to be funny.

The blog analogy isn't quite right, though. There are an infinite number of blogs and they are easy to ignore. There are a limited number of channels on cable and the airwaves, and they are a public trust. The public owns them. The broadcasters are just borrowing them. They are near monopolies. The people who have the rare privilege to address that huge audience -- ok, granted, CNBC is not super huge, but it's bigger than the average blog audience -- deserve our attention and analysis. Ultimately, of course, if he's a bore, he'll drop from sight regardless of his ideology.
posted by Slagman at 9:55 AM on January 26, 2004


It's worth pointing out that he's still liberal on many social issues, though. Gay marriage, for instance.
posted by GeekAnimator at 10:07 AM on January 26, 2004


do you not like him anymore because his politics changed, or because he's not funny anymore?

With me, the two are interrelated. Of course, I have trouble finding something funny if it pisses me off. But, as Slagman pointed out, Miller is letting his politics get in the way of his humor.

It's not exclusive to Miller. With someone whose politics I agree with (David Cross is a good example), when they diverge from the humor and just rant, I'm still with them. I might stop laughing, but I'm still smiling because I think he/she is right. I think it's just human nature to feel that way.

Plus, I've got a little bit of the dad-turned-out-to-be-a-junkie disappointment. When I was in high school and college, Miller's humor was an oasis in a desert of mindless Pauly Shores. Now he's just a boring reactionary.
posted by jpoulos at 10:11 AM on January 26, 2004


I can appreciate that, I guess, GeekAnimator... but not giving a shit about something is not really the same thing as taking a stand on one position or the other.
posted by psmealey at 10:12 AM on January 26, 2004


Of course 9-11 changed Miller. Like most comedians, fear is the center of his universe. His schtick has always been fear-based: his perspective that the "dumb" people are closing in like zombies propels him to become ever-"smarter" and to attack the dumbness in smart and entertaining ways.

Only now, he has vowed to ignore what most of the world sees as the most zombie-like and threatening dumbness on the planet. The inconsistency is glaring, and it eliminates his ability to use attack-the-dumb humor.

And without that schtick, what has Miller got? That's right: M&Ms.

His routines often made me laugh, but usually left me with a bad aftertaste. He has always seemed xenophobic: he makes dismissive references to other cultures' backward ways; He has a willingness to reduce complicated issues to simplistic rants that tap into other people's irrational fears. Fact is, that's most stand-up.

Miller is unwatchable now because he has become the very thing he has always taken witty pot shots at. A comedian without consistency is merely a shill.
posted by squirrel at 10:16 AM on January 26, 2004


I may be a bit blinded by my own self-interest here...but I'm sickened by anyone who will completely give Bush a free pass while gay rights is still totally on the table.

This is perhaps the last great civil rights struggle and the president is not only on the wrong side, but he has the power and possibly the inclination to deal us a setback that will last for generations and give the country shame on the order of Jim Crow and internment camps. And I have no use whatsoever for someone who's willing to wave that away -- if Miller isn't troubled enough by it to waver in his public stance, then he isn't the man I long ago thought he was.

On preview: GeekAnimator, it's not enough that he has liberal opinions. He's a public figure who frequently airs his political views to a wide audience, and that gives him a responsibility to be actively critical of people who do harmful things, whether or not he supports them on balance.
posted by Epenthesis at 10:17 AM on January 26, 2004


It is funny that folks with leftist sensibilities are suddenly deserting him in droves. I recognized that the guy was a crypto-fascist in about 1992. I don't think that was hiding his politics. He's just trying to cash in on them because being a conservative talking head is now potentially very profitable.

He's not fickle, and he's not a whore. He's just trying to get a decent job. But the two previous statements don't mean that he's worth watching at all. But if you suddenly dislike him, you got taken for a ride because you weren't really paying attention.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:20 AM on January 26, 2004


It's not exclusive to Miller. With someone whose politics I agree with (David Cross is a good example), when they diverge from the humor and just rant, I'm still with them.

I guess I just can't relate to that. Even when I agree, it's too much like being forced to sit in the principals office while he barks the disciplinary code at you.
posted by jonmc at 10:22 AM on January 26, 2004


A side note: I'm sorry for employing the sarcastic "Um." and the behest to obtain a clue or grip. I hate when people do that.

*smacks forehead*
posted by xmutex at 10:23 AM on January 26, 2004


I recognized that the guy was a crypto-fascist in about 1992

well maybe not cryptofascist, but certainly unfunny, and a bit opportunistic, Mayor. I agree. plus, all the lame '80s references (before the 80's came back) were totally lame. I'll take Bulgakov over MacGyver every day of the week.

anyhoo, let's see:

"[Howard Dean] 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."


...
He referred to himself as "a Rat Pack of one for the president in Hollywood."
...
His comment about West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd drew a few moans. "I think he must be burning the cross at both ends," Miller wisecracked.



On justification for the war: "It is stupid for anybody in the world to say they're for war. But I am for this war because, you know, we've got to protect ourselves now. And we've got to remind the world that there is a point that we will not be pushed past before the [bleep] hammer comes down. Now, the simple fact is, do I think Saddam Hussein can bury the nuclear jumper from the top of the key? No, I don't. He's a putz. But I do think he can distribute the ball going down the lane and I think we've got to smack him around. It's time to circle the SUVs!


such a fan of slander and jingoism should at least try to be funny, for fuck's sake
posted by matteo at 10:26 AM on January 26, 2004


politics aside, dennis miller has never been even remotely close to funny.
posted by quonsar at 10:26 AM on January 26, 2004


This morning CNBC fixture David Faber said he would be watching tonight, and everybody should be sure to have the dictionary close by.
posted by ilsa at 10:31 AM on January 26, 2004


CNBC, the last refuge for ratings losers.

What next for Dennis, the governorship of California?
posted by nofundy at 10:35 AM on January 26, 2004


Mr Q nails it. Miller's ridiculous attempts to seem erudite in his rants have always come across to me as half-informed and pretentious. As far as a dictionary for his listeners? Pheh. Miller would do well to buy a thesaurus. If I had a dime for every time he used an SAT Vocab word out of context, well, I'd be a republican.
posted by psmealey at 10:36 AM on January 26, 2004


politics aside, dennis miller has never been even remotely close to funny.

That's because you're too smart for his style of humor. Duh!
posted by Witty at 10:43 AM on January 26, 2004


Mort Sahl! now there was a guy. He belittled the Democrats. He belittled the Republicans....equally. Miller had long seemed to me a conservative and though I enjoyed him when he was non-policitical, his saying that 9/11 was his conversion date is pure nonsense....Why make up an excuse? His rants alas are now increasingly anti-left of the middle of the road and thus he is both annoying and predictable. One day he may come to understand that you canbe conservative, like Bush, and still spot a wart or two.
posted by Postroad at 10:43 AM on January 26, 2004


Also, what does it tell you that Fox News turned down Miller's repeated pitches for a show on that network, and ended up going to CNBC? Although one could argue that this speaks to FNC's integrity, I'd argue that this is Miller's second to last stop on the long way down. To mimic Miller's own style: Come on, the guy's been fired more times than Billy Martin. Then again, Martin was fired all those times by the same guy. Miller's running out of potential employers.
posted by psmealey at 10:47 AM on January 26, 2004


"If two gay guys want to get married, I couldn't care less," he said. "It's their business. If some foreigner wants to blow their wedding up, I want my government to eliminate him."

Great summary of his political stance. Which I happen to agree with.
posted by davidmsc at 10:53 AM on January 26, 2004


The "Off White Album" was funny, from what I remember from high school.

I think jonmc calls it best: I don't care what side of the fence you're on as long as you're funny. I don't think Dennis Miller is funny anymore. I don't think George Carlin is funny anymore. I don't think Margaret Cho ever was funny. And, as much as this pains me to say, I saw Robin Williams's latest on HBO the other night, and I'm starting to think he's not funny anymore.

On another tack: if Bill Hicks were still alive, would he still be funny? And would he have finally killed Jay Leno by now?
posted by RakDaddy at 10:58 AM on January 26, 2004


If Hicks were alive, money and fame would have done to him what it does to everyone else (Miller included): made him lazy and happy.

Therefore not likely funny.
posted by xmutex at 11:03 AM on January 26, 2004


I just checked out Miller's filmography on IMDB. It's worse than I remembered:

Joe Dirt (2001)
Murder at 1600 (1997)
Bordello of Blood (1996)
Never Talk to Strangers (1995)
Net, The (1995)
Disclosure (1994)
Madhouse (1990)

Poor guy.
posted by gwint at 11:06 AM on January 26, 2004


Robin Williams is out of practice after years of being earnest and mega-humanistic or just outright too serious in movies 'n' whatnot.
posted by raysmj at 11:10 AM on January 26, 2004


Or, allow me to correct myself: That's "solemn," and not necessarily "serious."
posted by raysmj at 11:18 AM on January 26, 2004




"I just checked out Miller's filmography on IMDB"

I was trying to remember what, if any, recurring characters he played on SNL besides himself. It must be my left wing bias, but I can't remember any skits that he was in. And I didn't find his smirking Weekend Update delivery funny in the least.
posted by 2sheets at 11:29 AM on January 26, 2004


Someone on Fark summed it up nicely:

"Lost: Two testicles. Small. Round. If found, please contact D. Miller."
posted by homunculus at 11:32 AM on January 26, 2004


While some comedians have fallen from comic grace as their attitudes hardened with age and/or experience (George Carlin is the classic example of aging into a curmudgeonliness that turned him into the obvious successor to Andy Rooney), Dennis Miller has struck me more as seduced by the siren call of partisan sponsorship, ensuring him a stable audience base and "ins" with people who are powerful even when out of power. And as for being a "friend" of W... I'd rather have most of the right-wing trolls of MeFi join me at a MeetUp than either George or Dennis.


Miller's Filmography on IMDB... Poor guy
I feel more sorry for Nick Bakai, a performer I respect in spite of a very uneven resume, which includes "Announcer/Sidekick" on one of Dennis Miller's past shows, where Denny was too dumb/self-centered to know what to do with him.
posted by wendell at 11:33 AM on January 26, 2004


Peter Jennings a liberal? Actually, it's just the reverse. There's a section in The Tipping Point where Gladwell cites a study which proved that Peter Jennings tended to smile more when he was talking about Reagan and Republicans.
posted by ed at 11:40 AM on January 26, 2004




Jennings? Liberal? Did you hear him sticking up for Bush's military record in the last debate?
posted by wsg at 11:57 AM on January 26, 2004


wendell, you hit the nail on the head, particularly the George Carlin point, which I COMPLETELY agree with.

The thing is, Carlin still is willing to insult anyone, and doesn't seem to care about either the exposure or money. Miller, whose HBO show was funny for a couple seasons, then went rapidly downhill, is just flat-out selling out to whomever will foot his bill.

2sheets- He pretty much did nothing at SNL aside from the news, which, IMHO, goes a long way toward the argument that he's just an ego-hound who doesn't play well with others. The argument rounds out nicely when you consider his total failure at MNF- he couldn't tone down his schtick to the level of discourse around him, and just plowed ahead with his own style and expected the rest of the team to follow him.
posted by mkultra at 12:05 PM on January 26, 2004


"Comedians who aren't funny have to try to become political spokesmen" -- National Review Editor Rich Lowry, when asked about Al Franken last August.
posted by pmurray63 at 12:08 PM on January 26, 2004


I guess that makes Michael Moore a whore also for endorsing a democrat for President?

I wish I could point to the reference on Clark's site but it seems to have disappeared after the endorsement proved to be such an embarassment.
posted by clevershark at 1:11 PM on January 26, 2004


clevershark: an endorsement vs. a career swerve into blatant and consistent partisan apologism. See any difference? Moore may or may not be a whore, but you really can't compare him with Miller.
posted by squirrel at 1:36 PM on January 26, 2004


On Bill Maher's show last year, Miller was asked what changed his political stance. He told a story about being in a New York bar with a liberal friend and Miller made a remark about how much the city had changed. He friend says, "Yeah, because of that Nazi Gulliani." That was all it took.
posted by john at 1:43 PM on January 26, 2004


Well, Moore is certainly a whore for endorsing Clark, of all the Democrats. He's practically a Republican. Anyway, Moore has always been a leftist animal, not a comic, and his long history of distorting facts has been condemned since day one by both left and right.
posted by Slagman at 2:09 PM on January 26, 2004


2sheets and mkultra: I have a blurry memory of a sketch called, "The Adventures of Koko, Mishu and Lebée" which featured Miller as the lead character, Koko the clown, with Dana Carvey as fellow clown, Mishu, and Phil Hartman as the mute giant Lebée. I think there were two sketches based on these characters. This was around 1986 and is the only time I can recall Miller as anything other than an extra.

Koko: "Lebée is getting angry! Quick, Mishu, prod him with your prodding stick"
posted by Monk at 2:12 PM on January 26, 2004


On the same Bill Maher show, Miller also made some reference to not being as confident in his "guess work", in terms of his political evolution. I still don't know what that means, but I can guess it means that when you become a bitter mid 40s media has-been, there's less room in your life for intellectual rigor to challenge and refine your own beliefs, and even less room in your heart for some of that other human stuff like compassion and empathy. It must get too damn hard to maintain independent opinions on complex political and social matters when you have lived your life as a chronically malcontented schmuck.

And no, I don't believe that "If two gay guys want to get married, I couldn't care less," constitutes anything resembling an opinion in support of gay marriage. That just means, he's apathetic about certain issues.

Man, I don't know why I posted to this thread so many times today. As much as I the cult of celebrity in this country so much, I should be a mile away from it, but every time I see this guy on television lately his misguided, self-satisfied smugness sends my blood pressure through the roof.

Btw, slagman, how can you tell that Clark is a Republican? I swear I've seen him on CSPAN a half-dozen times, and I still can't really tell where he stands on practically anything.
posted by psmealey at 2:14 PM on January 26, 2004


Uhm, he's a lapdog of the power structure simply because he holds some conservative ideals now?

Get a grip/clue.


No it's because he lost his edge because he sold out. Selling out is a comedy killer, whether you're selling out to the Republicans or Democrats.

I also noticed that, when he went full-tilt Republican, he started dumbing down the rapid-fire polysyllabic vocabulary words & obscure pop-culture references in his rants. He knows his right-wing audience is not as "hip" as his old audience and he has pandered accordingly.

Besides, he's not even the funniest right-wing comedian named Miller.
posted by jonp72 at 3:00 PM on January 26, 2004


Whatever. The real reason for Miller's "conversion"? He woke up and realized he would never, ever be Jon Stewart.
posted by hank_14 at 3:12 PM on January 26, 2004


Furthermore, I really can't stand anyone who just started noticing what was going on in the world on 9/11. All it says to me is that you just weren't paying attention, and now you're completely ill-equipped to navigate the international-politcial landscape.

Hear, hear.
posted by rushmc at 3:20 PM on January 26, 2004


"I guess that makes Michael Moore a whore also for endorsing a democrat for President?"

Moore isn't a comic, and is rarely funny.
He also certainly never gave a "free pass" to the Clintons or the democratic party. His endorsement of Clark is certainly interesting, given his condemnation of the bombing of Kosovo in "Bowling for Columbine".
You might try pinning the sellout badge on Al Franken, although I think his defense of the democrats falls pretty short of Miller's coziness with the republicans.

"How do you fare with authentic interpersonal relationships?"

If that was directed at me, (cue up "You're so vain") I seem to do ok, thank you.
There are three kinds of people who get a "free pass".
The very young.
The very old.
The mentally ill.

Among my adult acquaintances, I expect honesty and accountability. Obviously I have no future in politics.
posted by 2sheets at 3:33 PM on January 26, 2004


STARTS IN MINUTES GET YOUR POPCORN AGAGGAGAG1!!!!!
posted by techgnollogic at 5:51 PM on January 26, 2004


I can't think of a more worthy person to take over Geraldo Rivera's old time slot.

"I like him," Miller explained. "I'm going to give him a pass. I take care of my friends."

So half the country watches him; the other half watches the Daily Show. No big whoop. The end result: liberals get to watch people who are actually funny.

Contrary to what he says, the worst thing that can happen to Dennis Miller is Bush's re-election. If you're going to be a lapdog for the GOP, how can you trash anyone when your party makes all the policy upon which you comment?
posted by PrinceValium at 6:07 PM on January 26, 2004


I've always kinda liked Dennis Miller...
posted by Cyrano at 6:10 PM on January 26, 2004


*Flips to CNBC to check it out*

If the first few minutes are any indication, we don't have much to worry about. For all the edginess in the studio set up ("I want flat-panel TVs, and I want them everywhere), the intro, the DM logo, and the rest, the show is utterly and completely dull. And it'll be cancelled after 4 episodes.

At least Fox News is interesting enough to get me all riled up.

Folks, the show was so dull that the producers made Dennis get a chimapnzee sidekick / "co-host." It's like jumping the shark on the very first show.

*changes channel*
posted by zpousman at 6:22 PM on January 26, 2004


He knows his right-wing audience is not as "hip" as his old audience and he has pandered accordingly.

Actually, most hipsters eventually become either lunatics, religious fanatics, Republicans or corpses anyway, so maybe he's just leading the way.
posted by jonmc at 6:27 PM on January 26, 2004


I liked how liberals that are anti-coporate corruption become anti-corporation.

He couldn't resist his "humorous" take on the news. I never thought he was completely unfunny, but he seems to be heading in that direction.
posted by john at 6:41 PM on January 26, 2004


Yeah, I tuned in...it was sad, really. It was like where comedians go to die if the Catskills are booked. It was also possibly the most masturbatory interview I've ever seen...good god, he practically gave Arnold head.

And the thing with the pictures. Enough with that already. It was kind of amusing when were all stoned, 20 some odd years ago...but damn, that's just tired now.
posted by dejah420 at 6:44 PM on January 26, 2004


His tiny hands disturb me. They need enhancement.

[...]nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands. --E.E. Cummings
posted by Opus Dark at 6:46 PM on January 26, 2004


Personally, I find Dennis Miller, regardless of politics, annoying for the same reasons that I find the New Yorker annoying- a smug attitude.
posted by drezdn at 6:55 PM on January 26, 2004


psmealy re Clark the Republican

OK, I was being a little provocative. But he has acknowledged only recently becoming a Democrat, after years as an independent. He said he voted for Nixon and Reagan, and
also Clinton-Gore, which in some Nadery circles is tantamount
to Republicanism. He was rather supportive of Bush on the war until he decided he would need that as an issue, and he has sort of waffled on abortion rights, and of course there is the matter of his naming "Journey's Greatest Hits" as his favorite album, a dead giveaway.
posted by Slagman at 8:44 PM on January 26, 2004


So half the country watches him; the other half watches the Daily Show. No big whoop. The end result: liberals get to watch people who are actually funny.

But it gets scary when the people with all the power have no sense of humor. Bad things happen.

most hipsters eventually become either lunatics, religious fanatics, Republicans or corpses

To be fair, so does everyone else....
posted by rushmc at 8:55 PM on January 26, 2004


OK, so after this, I had to watch.

It's not a monkey. It's a chimp. In a diaper. Jesus.

droning in and out...
"just how insane the public discourse has gotten"
"highlighting the ludicrousness"
"you want someone to get incensed for you... both sides... "
"we will do the news as catharsis... we're going to strive to be fair and unbalanced. we will attack the bad guys from every angle"
"I may work for the peacock, I will try not to behave like one"
"excoriation has been my milieu up to this point, but..."
"an ombudsman, fair but insistent"
"no Ed Asner" (first laugh)
"I'm not nearly as liberal as I used to be. I still consider myself a liberal... 9/11 changed me..."
"if two gay guys...etc"
"the American experiment appears to be imploding"
"the oppressed minority is... the majority"
"the rights of terrorists even if it means another 9/11"
"a common sense revolution"
first guest: the governator.
Ahnold: "you got me elected, Dennis."
five minutes about how great Arnold's wife is.
suck-ass puffball questions.
before cutting to commercial, Dean scream speech,
for no apparent reason.
"I can never get enough of it. That wasn't a glimpse
into his soul. That was a Glengarry lead." (Does that
even making any fucking sense? No. The trouble
with Dennis is, he's not a closer anymore. Don't touch
the coffee, Dennis. Coffee is for closers.)
More suck ass puff ball business pandering.
Actual Miller question: "Have you ever thought that the cadence of your speech is so infectious?"
Interview over. Nothing was said.
There is apparently a live audience, but it was asleep
until Miller tells a self-deprecatng "joke" about his
staff removing the stick from his ass. Polite titters
from the crowd. He said "ass."
A bit called "Daily Rorschach".
He explains that the people laughing are the crew,
there is no audience. "I think you'll figure out where
the laughs are."
Crap joke. Muffled crew laugh. Crap joke. Muffled
crew laugh. It's weird, like four people are watching.
He's bombing in front of his own staff!
Oh my god. Oh my god. This is so bad.
"Dean then took a big swig from a bottle labeled
loser juice and began to cry." That's a joke?
Suggests dropping Saddam off in the middle of
Kuwait City.
Biggest laugh, over his ad-libbing about mispronouncing
the word "excuse.'
"That's the news, I'm outta here."
Unfortunately, he is not. 30 minutes to go.
Strangely, one of the ads at the break is for the
show itself, reminding us that it starts at 9.
"I came to this job from the Fox Network and I
think they still owe me $12 grand." He is the
liveliest when riffing on how pissed off he is
about this situation.
He offers to match a $6K donation by Roger Ailes
to a charity instead of suing, though he thinks he'll
get an "Al Franken" publicity boost if he sues. Huh,
I thought it was Fox that sued Franken, but whatever.

Next segment: "Varsity Panel." Whatever that means.
David Horowitz. Naomi Wolf. David Frum.
Frum was just on Bill Maher's show on HBO on Friday,
and this whole segment feels like a Maher ripoff.
Except duller. Horowitz: "WMD's is never what the war
was about." It was about UN resolutions that were not honored. Uh huh. Wolf: But David Kay said the UN inspections worked. "What is not OK is 500 people ... are dead."
Miller (who let Horowitz rambles on): "Don't you think... that crushes George W. Bush too?" Then he invites Frum to interrupt her answer, despite pledging at the top of the hour not to interrupt people. Frum: Outlines Saddam's WMD aspirations. "The CIA is a mess and so is the FBI." I kind of
like Frum, he's pretty effective in these forums. Cross talk.
First sign of excitement. It's Naomi Wolf versus too
conservative white guys, make that three. She's surrounded!
She holds her own by talking very very fast so no one can interrupt her. Miller cuts to commercial.

Horowitz defends Iraq policy, despite Miller's effort to change subject to New Hampshire. "In two and a half years there hasn't been a terrorist attack in the U.S. and that's what those 500 lives paid for." Frum makes a better point, that our failurre to deal with Saddam for 12 years showed Osama we could be pushed around. Hmmm... Wolf: "Saddam was obviously a bad guy... American people deserve honesty from their leaders." Changing subject to economy. (Miller tries to change subject to New Hampshire.) She keeps talking.
He picks up something she said about Saddam and calls Saddam's spider hole a "wormhole."
Horowitz on New Hampshire Democratic campaigns: "The level of attack on this president during a war is unconscienable, it's giving aid and comfort to our enemies..."
Frum upset at appropriation of his phrase "axis of evil" by Democrats. Laments failure at bipartisan agreement on foreign policy. Wolf says she is impressed with Kerry.
Miller: "A return to sanity for the Democratic party. I said thank God... I'm not going to vote for Kerry, but..."

Tomorrow's guest is John McCain. He was hilarious and took shots at Bush on The Daily Show. Let's see if Miller can make him seem dull.

Miller ends with a mini rant calling for the end of the space program. Hmmm, showing his independence from W. Talks about the Soviet Union disintegrating "like Yeltsin's liver."
Say, use the space money to build a comprehensive system of bullet trains. Uh, well, ok.

Where's the chimp? No sign of the chimp.

This really sucked.
posted by Slagman at 9:32 PM on January 26, 2004


Affirmative. It was really enervating.
posted by NortonDC at 9:42 PM on January 26, 2004


to be fair, first shows are usually bad... but are not supposed to be that bad if you are a vet like Miller.
posted by chaz at 12:12 AM on January 27, 2004


If Hicks were alive, money and fame would have done to him what it does to everyone else... made him lazy and happy.

Somehow I don't think so. Had his sitcom pilot made it to air in Britain, he might have maintained a kind of happy exile -- prophet out of his own country etc -- but he would still have resented the fact that US audiences and networks were off-limits to him. And if he were alive today, he'd be pissed off that Jay Leno and Rush Limbaugh and a member of the Bush family were still on the scene. (HBO, perhaps, might have found a place for him, but there's more to Hicks's comedy than just saying 'fuck'.)
posted by riviera at 1:26 AM on January 27, 2004


I watched his show last night and was bored out of my skull. I do not mind right-wing commentators as long as they are making logical arguments, but Miller was just b-l-a-h.

He did the same old act and now he openly tells us that he is going to give Bush, his friend, a pass.

Exactly how many dead Americans in Iraq will it take to get Miller to ask an uncomfortable question or two?

Sad, very sad.
posted by StormBear at 12:51 PM on January 27, 2004


Can't believe that nobody posted An Open Letter to Dennis Miller yet. More entertaining 'rants' from former fans.

I, for one, used to love DM. His iconoclastic style pointing out the shortcomings of politicians (in particular) and the mediocity of the middle class were pure hilarity to me when I was a kid. His humor faded (along with the quality of his writers, no doubt) on DM Live, and 9/11 was the real turning point for him politically and humorously, IMO. Not only is he not remotely funny any more (see: "I'm just a comedian" above), but his joyless attacks on all things 'liberal' are weak an uninspired.

At least Jon Stewart can still skewer Howard Dean's speech, or Liberman's pandering style, while still retaining the show's overall 'left' sensibility. And Carlin still has the contempt for the ignorant and the 'normal' that he had back in the day. But DM has morphed into just the opposite of what made him great a LONG time ago, a lapboy who trusts what Big Brother wants and attacks said Brother's opposition.

Definitely not funny.
posted by skechada at 12:52 PM on January 27, 2004


In the interview with Arnold, I thought it was interesting how he said, "creating a huge deficit is the worst thing you can do." They both agreed that California's debt was terrible thing and all I could think about was the larger question hanging in the air about the burgeoning national debt that never came up. I guess that's just part of the free ride Bush is going to get on that show.

Oh, let's not forget how incestuous it is for Arnold to show up. His wife works for NBC and Mike Murphy worked on his campaign and is a consulting producer for the show.
posted by john at 1:34 PM on January 27, 2004


Dennis has talked about NASA with that same bullet train idea before.

I'll be the first to admit that getting a man to Mars is not as important as maintaining a reasonable pace for space travel. NASA gives us a lot more than Teflon and pretty pictures. Of all the things to cut it should be the pork.
posted by john at 3:37 PM on January 27, 2004


Whatever. The real reason for Miller's "conversion"? He woke up and realized he would never, ever be Jon Stewart.

Ha! Damn right -- Stewart has never - EVER - been funny. His "Daily Show" is the most tepid, un-funny, predictable "humor" show that I have ever seen.
posted by davidmsc at 5:06 AM on January 30, 2004


Silence, fool. Stewart rocks.
posted by squirrel at 12:02 PM on January 30, 2004


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