Dennis Miller is a comedian who was Weekend Update anchor on Saturday Night Live
to 1991, making him the first long-running Weekend Update anchornote
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 episodes in the cases of Ben Stiller, Laurie Metcalf, most of Jean Doumanian's castnote
, and Emily Prager) or stayed on until their fourth or fifth year (often leaving to star in feature films or other television shows). Miller 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 Tina Fey
and Seth Meyers
(the only other Weekend Update anchors to stay on past the fifth-year mark).
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 Tom Hanks
). 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 Monday Night Football
from 2000 to 2001. Since 2007 he's hosted his own radio show called The Dennis Miller Show
His comedy is very snarky
and includes lots of obscure references and big words.
Early in the Turn of the Millennium
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:
- Catch Phrase: 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 "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."
- Deadpan Snarker: To an almost insane degree.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Bill O'Reilly . They have done an infinite number of events, together....
- Rant Comedy: The rant was a Once per Episode feature of Dennis Miller Live.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness and Sophisticated as Hell: He mixes obscure references and big words with lots of slang, and when uncensored, cursing.
- Verbal Tic: "Babe."
- Viewers Are Geniuses: One of the main reasons why Miller is a Love It or Hate It comedian. Other shows have made fun of this, such as The Simpsons (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 Family Guy (the Cold Open 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 Janeane Garofalo on his HBO show. She talked about doing a photo shoot and wanting it to be like Kim Deal of the The Pixies, and he didn't get the reference, saying "I've never felt older."