Dennis Miller is a comedian who was Weekend Update anchor on ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' from 1985[[note]]during the show's 11th season, which was so fraught with mediocre writing and acting that NBC nearly had the show cancelled. Dennis Miller's turn as a Weekend Update anchor was the reason why season 11 was tolerable[[/note]] to 1991, making him the first long-running Weekend Update anchor[[note]]with Tina Fey tying his record and SethMeyers breaking it[[/note]] and the first ''SNL'' cast member to stay on the show for longer than five years. Prior to that, most cast members either were dropped after one or two years or stayed on until their fourth or fifth year, whether due to exhaustion, disillusionment, ExecutiveMeddling, or just wanting to do other projects. Miller basically opened the door for other long-running cast members like Darrell Hammond, Phil Hartman, Tim Meadows, Kenan Thompson, Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, and fellow Weekend Update anchors TinaFey and SethMeyers.
Though Miller acknowledged that he wasn't good at acting in sketches and felt at home as a Weekend Update anchor (as it was an opportunity for him to do his stand-up), there were rare times where he was in sketches. His recurring characters were Koko, a forest sprite from the short-lived recurring sketch "Miss Connie's Fable Nook" and Steve, a sarcastic observational stand-up comic (seen on a season 11 sketch on the episode hosted by Jay Leno and a season 13 sketch on the episode hosted by TomHanks). His celebrity impressions include Nathaniel Crosby (Bing Crosby's son), Senator Gary Hart, and George Harrison from The Beatles.
After his stint on ''SNL'', Miller hosted his own [=HBO=] show ''Dennis Miller Live'' from 1994-2002, and was a color commentator on ''Series/MondayNightFootball'' from 2000 to 2001. Since 2007 he's hosted his own radio show called ''The Dennis Miller Show''.
His comedy is [[DeadpanSnarker very snarky]] and includes [[ViewersAreGeniuses lots of obscure references]] [[SesquipedalianLoquaciousness and big words.]] Early in the TurnOfTheMillennium his political views, previously considered to be mostly to the left, shifted significantly more to the conservative side of the spectrum.
Tropes associated with Dennis Miller include:
* CatchPhrase: On ''Weekend Update'' he would begin with, "Good evening, and what can I tell you?" and end with "Guess what, folks? That's the news, and I am outta here." On ''Dennis Miller Live'' his rants would begin with "[[HypocriticalHumor Now, I don't want to get off on a rant here, but...]]" and end with "[[SelfDeprecation Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong]]."
* DeadpanSnarker: To an almost insane degree.
* RantComedy: The rant was a OncePerEpisode feature of ''Dennis Miller Live''.
* SesquipedalianLoquaciousness and SophisticatedAsHell: He mixes obscure references and big words with lots of slang, and when uncensored, cursing.
* VerbalTic: "Babe."
* ViewersAreGeniuses: One of the main reasons why Miller is a LoveItOrHateIt comedian. Other shows have made fun of this, such as ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' (season ten's "They Saved Lisa's Brain," where Comic Book Guy's "C:/DOS. C:/DOS/Run, Run/DOS/Run" shirt is only considered funny to one person out of a million (which is called "The Dennis Miller Ratio") and ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' (the ColdOpen to "Peter Griffin: Husband, Father, Brother?" has Peter watching a monologue to ''Dennis Miller Live'' filled with obscure vocabulary and historical references -- and Peter responding with "What the hell does 'rant' mean?")
** Subverted once by Creator/JaneaneGarofalo on his [=HBO=] show. She talked about doing a photo shoot and wanting it to be like Kim Deal of the Music/ThePixies, and ''he'' didn't get the reference, saying "I've never felt older."