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Overview for Dennis Miller
Dennis Miller

Dennis Miller


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Also Known As: Died:
Born: November 3, 1953 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA Profession: Cast ... comedian talk show host actor


n (1999), I Rant, Therefore I Am (2000), and The Rant Zone: An All-Out Blitz Against Soul-Sucking Jobs, Twisted Child Stars, Holistic Loons, and People Who Eat Their Dogs! (2001).

During the course of "Dennis Miller Live," the comedian himself expanded into other outlets, as well. He emceed "The 1994 Billboard Music Awards" and both the 1995 and 1996 editions of "The MTV Video Music Awards," plus two more HBO projects: "Citizen Arcane" (1996) and "The Millennium Special: 1,000 Years, 100 Laughs, 10 Really Good Ones" (1999). Unexpectedly for someone who rarely played a character on "Saturday Night Live," Miller also began acting in movies. Most notably, he co-starred in "The Net" (1995), "Bordello of Blood" (1996), and "Murder at 1600" (1997). Eventually, Miller turned his sights to the world of sports.

Facing its 30th season in 2000, ABC¿s "Monday Night Football" (1970- ) aimed to enliven its on-air chatter by recruiting a non-traditional sportscaster into its commentary booth. Harkening back to Lorne Michaels revitalizing "Weekend Update" in 1985, it was Dennis Miller who won the position, beating out top contender Rush Limbaugh to the surprise of many. The prospect of Miller on "Monday Night Football" generated copious pre-publicity, but the actual results proved semi-disastrous. Miller¿s flippant tone and frequently obscure metaphors confounded fans and annoyed critics. Online sites cropped up to explain and decry Miller¿s quips, which tended toward observations such as: "I haven't seen anyone rely on the ground game this much since the battle of Verdun," and "That field goal attempt was so far to the left it nearly decapitated Lyndon LaRouche." As a result, Miller lasted only two largely lamented seasons on "Monday Night Football." Removing some of the sting from his football fumble was Miller¿s well-received portrayal of a radio shock jock in the big screen David Spade farce, "Joe Dirt" (2001). However, not long after that film, the definitive somber moment of the early 21st century made a dramatic impact on Dennis Miller¿s sensibilities, both comedic and otherwise.

Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Miller experienced a political awakening that came to embody the best-known aspects of his post-"Saturday Night Live" career. He shifted from a clearly left-leaning point of view to an outlook that appeared to be more classically conservative. Publically, Miller had traditionally backed Democratic politicians but then, especially moved by New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani, he became a booster of numerous Republicans and largely aimed his barbs at liberal policies and politicians. Despite general assumptions, Miller pointed out that his stances on some hot button issues diametrically opposed those of the GOP ¿ specifically, he favored abortion rights and gay marriage. Personally, he defined himself as "a conservative libertarian." His tag as a hard-line righty, Miller said, stemmed entirely from his support of President George W. Bush in general, and the military invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan in particular. "I think, on most things," Miller said, "I'm liberal, except on defending ourselves and keeping half the money. Those things I'm kind of conservative on." Just 10 days after 9/11, Miller¿s reconfigured perspective came to light via his "Real Free Speech" commentary segment on the Fox News program, "Hannity and Colmes." Miller¿s angry, immigration-themed piece planted the seeds for later partnerships between Miller and the network, which billed itself as "Fair and Balanced," but which was popularly perceived as being tilted toward the right.

After upping the brashness of his new ideology on the HBO special "Raw Feed," Miller returned to cable fulltime in a CNBC solo venture simply titled "Dennis Miller" (2003-05). The live, hour-long weeknight broadcast contained a news segment titled "The Daily Rorschach" and a panel conference called "The Varsity," as well as, on occasion, a chimpanzee sidekick. After a lukewarm launch, the show was pulled from the air for retooling and came back, but never found its proper audience and was quietly cancelled. The next two Miller-headlined TV projects flopped even more severely ¿ "The Half Hour News Hour" on Fox News and "Sports Unfiltered" (2007) on the largely hockey-focused cable network Versus. On the positive side, Miller did manage some good notices for playing himself in director Jason Reitman¿s cinematic send up of the cigarette industry, "Thank You for Smoking" (2006).

Still, despite what was deemed his prickly and ¿ especially post-9/11 ¿ even divisive persona, Miller remained a generally well-liked public figure. While ardently speaking out against mainstream Hollywood political thought, Miller reinvented himself in the public eye as a freshly effective guest on other people¿s programs, most notably "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." In fact, his conversion placed him in a valuable position as a sort of living counterpoint to his real-life close friend Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" (1996- ). Miller, for the right, had become the preeminent joker of the loyal opposition. As with Stewart, his masterful comic abilities proved amusing enough to entertain even those who might thoroughly disagree with him. Unlike Stewart, though, Miller had foundered for most of the 2000s while attempting to establish a proper TV outlet for his own ideas and observations. So with his conservative image firmly entrenched in the public consciousness, Miller moved to the popular medium that had proven most friendly to Republican philosophy: talk radio. Westwood One launched "The Dennis Miller Show" (2007- ) in 2007, as a live, three-hour, call-in news and political discussion program airing weekdays. Originating from Los Angeles, the show syndicated to more than 250 radio stations. In the third quarter of 2008, Talkers magazine estimated the show¿s audience at two million listeners daily, placing it among the most famous and successful AM-FM programs of its day.

Regardless of his daytime radio success, Miller¿s capabilities did not translate well to TV game shows. In 2007, he briefly hosted the quiz program "Grand Slam" on GSN. A year later, Miller¿s NBC game show "Amne$ia" (2008) lasted for just one month prior to disappearing from the air. Once again, to expand his cultural reach, Miller set his sights on the world of sports ¿ at least in a very broad definition of that term. Perhaps prompted by the rough-and-tumble realm of daily political talk, Miller tossed his talents into no-holds-barred arena of professional wrestling in 2009. First, he guest-hosted World Wrestling Entertainment¿s "The 2009 Slammy Awards." Then Miller appeared on a 2009 edition of "WWE: Raw Is War" (1997- ). However odd Miller¿s wrestling adventures might have come off, it seemed somehow in keeping his other late-2009 endeavor: a Friday night commentary segment titled "Miller Time," where he cracked wise via satellite opposite verbal grappler Bill O¿Reilly on the Fox News network¿s bombastically combative, "The O¿Reilly Factor" (1996- ).ive" featured a format that seemed perfectly tailored for the host. Each episode opened with one of Miller¿s signature "rants" ¿ a stream-of-consciousness-style monologue on a single topic that began with the phrase, "Now I don¿t want to get off on a rant here¿," and concluded with the statement, "¿ but, of course, that¿s just my opinion. I could be wrong." Hot off the rant, Miller would chat with a single guest (most often a show business or political figure), take viewer phone calls, and conclude with a news segment. Over the course of its run, "Dennis Miller Live" garnered five Emmy Awards for both the writing staff and the host himself, who was billed in each week¿s closing credits as "400 Lb. Gorilla." Print collections of the most popular "Dennis Miller Live" monologues resulted in a best-selling series of books: The Rants (1996), Ranting Agai

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