Dennis Miller Is a Jerk, and Other Lessons Learned in Allen Last Saturday

Categories: Comedy

miller.jpg
Dennis Miller: Kind of a tool. Lesson learned.
If you drive up U.S. 75 long enough, you enter the most recently developed reaches of Collin County, home of the almost-arena, the Allen Event Center. Because it can seat more than 8,000, it's usually used for indoor football, soccer and hockey. But on Saturday night ex-Saturday Night Live stars Kevin Nealon, Dana Carvey and Dennis Miller rolled into town, so it became the world's weirdest comedy club.

Admittedly, I was a little confused by the size of the crowd. I was too young to see the three comics in their primes. I know Nealon most as the laconic man-child from Showtime's Weeds.,Carvey from his groundbreaking ABC show and Miller, well I know him as the failed Monday Night Football host and star of the terrible Bordello of Blood and That Guy Saying Weird Shit on Fox News.

It was a huge crowd, which we assumed was for Carvey who was, at one point, one of Hollywood's biggest talents. But no: They were there for Miller, and shit was about to get really weird in Allen.

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Kevin Nealon
Kevin Nealon took to the stage first, and I expected much more. Nealon mainly riffed on the show's location (tired), dealing with aging (yawn) and how his new status as a parent had changed him (please stop doing this). Nealon frequently checked his watch to see where he was on time, and most of the crowd did the same.

After introducing Carvey, the two did a little bit of Hans and Franz, complete with calling out various audience members for "being little girly mans." It was the "Hey! Remember this sketch!" shtick expected from an event like this. Then Carvey took the stage for himself, and that's when the night got dark.

Comedians riff on their locations -- it's good for a cheap pop from the audience, and you're able to mine the minute details of the community for easy material. Allen, with its wealth, exurb status and willingness to build a high school football stadium that cost SIXTY MILLION DOLLARS, all but sets itself up to be ripped into.

That stadium was Carvey's prime target, as he easily slipped into a drawl and started expounding on the ridiculousness of spending SIXTY MILLION DOLLARS on a stadium where a bunch of 15-year-olds play. And this is when I realized I was not at just any old comedy show. Instead of laughing at the excess displayed by the Allen ISD, the crowd would cheer the stadium's every mention. It was like they didn't realize it was being made fun of. Then, it got weirder.

Carvey's fake Southern segued into an utterly brilliant Ross Perot impression. Carvey deftly used it to jump around the idea that Perot's destruction was himself, which is pretty true. From there entered the political impression grab bag.

Bush Sr. got the crowd in a groove. They cheered even louder when the younger Bush made an appearance. But an odd air filled the room when Carvey did an impression of President Obama. Every conservative voice he did was met with wild cheers; his liberal impressions met middling applause. When he touched on the current president, the laughter has a hint of anger to it.

The audience didn't see the satire in Carvey comparing Obama's reasoned approach to Bush W.'s gung-ho attack style. This crowd laughed at the wrong thing: assuming the joke was on the foolishness of mediation, and not the former president's "We'll put a boot in your ass" attitude.

Carvey seemed to recognize this and quickly moved to his "Grumpy Old Man" character, which led to a bit on not relating to his own kids. In the end, the whole ordeal started to feel like an exercise in Cosbian comedy.

Carvey quickly finished up and Dennis Miller rolled out to headline. For those of you who don't know, sometime in the past decade or so, Miller morphed from being the hyper-literate comic who would routinely drop over-educated references into Monday Night Football games into the hyper-conservative version of Bill Maher. It's as insufferable as it sounds.

Miller has turned appearances on various Fox News programs like Bill O'Reilly into a three-hour radio show on the Dial Global/Westwood One networks. On Friday, Miller instructed small business owners to fire any employees who were Obama supporters. In the same segment, he agreed that Senator Ted Cruz is a statesman. Are Miller's opinions genuine? Are they just tactics for reinvigorating his stagnant career? Who cares: You just paid for political advice from the star of Bordello of Blood.

Miller started his set by trying to humorously discredit the idea of global warming. His point? "It's always been hot." I'm sure you can guess how the crowd responded.

From then, he joked about what's wrong with the economy, then health care, then Obama. The crowd loved it, but my discomfort grew. When Miller started in on illegal immigrants and how "Pancho" is taking over, I was done. I stood up, locked eyes with Miller, contemplated yelling, "I loved you in Joe Dirt!" decided better, and walked out. Whatever bullshit he was tossing out about immigrants caused the Allen Event Center to fill with laughter. I headed toward an exit feeling like I'd just spent 24 hours in a Midwestern strip club.

It's disappointing to see a comic who was once considered A Great reduced to this: an overtly contrary, Thanksgiving-dinner-derailing, crazed uncle figure. It's worse that it found such a huge audience in Allen.


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98 comments
jeneheffer
jeneheffer

Jaime, so sorry but your offense on Dennis Miller just doesn't matter to a whole lot of people. Dennis Miller is hilarious, always has been. You don't like him because of his politics. Maybe you need to stay home and just whine and name call.

randolphr2006
randolphr2006

Dennis Miller is nephew Presley to Bill O'Reilly's Magoo



darkskiesrock
darkskiesrock

People might have been taking political advice from the star of "Bordello of Blood" but people here are taking serious the opinion of a hipster writer from the Observer who probably thinks Serious Pizza is Dallas Best!, a loft in Deep Ellum is way worth it and full body tattoos by the age of 21 that tell a life story are a thing of beauty and this seasons must have accessory. I'd say Dennis is probably a safer bet.  That being said, I didn't really like Dennis Miller's SNL weekend update either, nobody did. The only thing worse was Kevin Nealon's Weekedn Update, that was painful. Even those of us who got the Dennis Miller obscure reference humor, it didn't seem right for SNL. Saying he is a right wing version of Bill Maher these days  is pretty accurate though, I'll give you that, but by saying that you must be agreeing that Bill Maher is an asshole of epic proportions as well (and more so actually, Bill just hates people and is a sheeple mouthpiece apologist for the current administration, Dennis simply "loathes" them), which he is. I'm not a conservative by the way, just so ya know. I have met Dennis before, in NYC around 1999 or 2000 at the Blue Man Group when it was still a smallish production, he was nice, shook hands, and signed autographs. Seemed like a decent enough guy.

tgtg999
tgtg999

Can't stand Dennis Miller.  His Weekend Update on SNL was probably the worst ever, his sidekicks on Weekend Update were good but he sucked ass. 

brentespe
brentespe

The last paragraph says it all. Well written. Poor Dennis.

auntiecairo
auntiecairo

Had a friend whose brother sublet his NY apt. to Dennis Miller when he was on SNL -- Miller trashed the apt. and left without paying -- always been a jerk -- just now there are other jerks who mistake bigotry for comedy.  .

auntiecairo
auntiecairo

Had a friend whose brother sublet his NY apt. to Dennis Miller when he was on SNL -- Miller trashed the apt. and left without paying -- always been a jerk -- just now there are other jerks who mistake bigotry for comedy.  .

alteredjustice
alteredjustice

It's funny how upset this made the Conservative nerds. They were just waiting for something like this to gangtackle.

lzippitydoo
lzippitydoo

There is a reason you write for the Observer!

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

You should have gone to see Lewis Black at Bass Hall last month.    Face it - you chose poorly and it's your own fault.

Threeboys
Threeboys

Hey, gang?

Every review of everything is an editorial.

idontcarayo
idontcarayo

I posted this below as a reply by accident, so here it is in normal comment form:

@JaimesonPaul 

Jaime, I'm guessing you're the writer of this article, and politically, I tend to agree with you. I'm not a fan of Republicans right now.

However, as a comedian, knowing your crowd is an important part of having successful sets. I believe you said Dennis Miller was the last up, and therefore headliner, in what is clearly a conservative venue. I'm sure that was no accident, nor was his set. David Cross is a raging, raging, RAGING soapbox liberal in his sets (to the point that you start to wonder where the comedy went), but I'm not sure that you would have called him a jerk. Had he been performing, you probably would've called the audience a bunch of assholes for booing them, because they probably would have, just as an LA audience would do to Dennis Miller if he'd done this set there instead of in Allen.  

This set was probably calculated and tailor-made for that crowd, and I'd bet the venue owners asked him to air on that side.  It's also probably what made Nealon phone it in a bit...if he had left-leaning political comedy, he probably was smart enough to leave it at home.  Nobody wants to have a crappy show in a large venue, especially not the owners who booked the venue....which makes me wonder how often you perform? 

If Dennis Miller punched someone, he would've been a jerk.  And who knows? Maybe he did. But apparently, you left halfway through his set and then wrote a sweeping review of the whole damned thing. 

Pretty shitty thing for a fellow comedian to do, Jaime.

adultopinion
adultopinion

jeez dude, you write pretty good for a 15 year old

da_wood123
da_wood123

Really, Dbag?  You want to complain about paying to hear an educated man's political leanings?  Sounds like he was playing to his crowd, in which you have no place. 

Typical BS from an uneducated liberal tool.

MikeAllen
MikeAllen

How gay are you? We live in Texas and are proud of being conservative republicans but obviously you live in Oak Lawn Panchito? Please stay there in the future and leave the old SNL alumni alone.

Willie
Willie

Miller is a doosh, but he's smart.  Nealon is nonfunny.  Carvey is talented.  Allen is Plano's butthole.  If you like Dennis Miller, you're a doosh ... and that is a scientific conclusion.  And I'm no lib.  So all you meatheads that love Miller, go eat my shorts.

epicmale
epicmale

GO DENNIS!  We love you!  And when libs write an article bashing you, we know that you are hitting them where it hurts...right in the TRUTH!  LOL...

darrylrs
darrylrs

Miller is pulling the wool over the eyes of these conservatives, just like Rush and others have done. They don't actually believe the stuff they say. Miller is smart enough to know the true science that supports climate change, but he also is a smart business man who knows an open market when he sees it. It's actually brilliant. Very, very few comedians work the red states as a proponent of backwards, backwoods thinking. Miller had hit his niche market. As to whether of not he is funny: he was and can be, but he was failed on MNF. And his film work is shoddy at best. But no one really goes to a comedy show expecting much political commentary. The left has Maher who is MUCH funnier than Miller. And now the right has Miller. But most comedians are sales people and like most sales people, they will say anything to sell tickets and get a laugh. 

jakkwagon
jakkwagon

Hey Jamie, you are so full of shit - I was at the same show as you and got a totally different review. Funny isn't it ? The 10 other people I was with had the same view - a great show with great comedians - maybe you just couldn't see or hear well with your head up your ass.

Mr_Hand
Mr_Hand

Just wondering, what specifically offended so many people by using the term Pancho? Is it inaccurate?  Is it racist? 

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

The only time any of those three ever enjoyed any success was when they were riding the coat tails of poplar, liberal comedians. 

Once they struck out on their own, they became failures - and this is their way at lashing out at Americans for not giving them the love they feel is owed to them.  It's the same story with most other Republicans.

IgnatiusJ
IgnatiusJ

Them is real Murkans up there in the Outer Lands.  They can't afford the neighborhoods and schools in HP/UP, Lakewood, Lake Highlands etc., so they take their lazy, economically impotent up to where it's far cheaper per sq ft to build a McMansion and sit in their Lazy Boys watching Fox inbetween over-funded athletic events for youths.  They should be taxed when they travel into Dallas County.

JaimesonPaul
JaimesonPaul

@idontcarayo @JaimesonPaul Our system keeps eating my response, but the gist of it is: The very moment Miller started appearing on political shows, and hosting a political show he became a pundit, and a pundit is not allowed to mine the race issue for humor. This is not a case like the Daily Show where they frequently say "Don't take us seriously" this is a case of a guy who host a daily 3 hour show where he attacks, and gleefully showers in the support of his listeners. 

AnthonyWeiner
AnthonyWeiner

Jaime must have gone to the junior college of slanted writing.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@da_wood123 

Take it easy, Dennis.

(I like how you didn't use any big words to try and disguise yourself, though.)

darrylrs
darrylrs

@da_wood123 i love when idiot cons claim that the liberal is uneducated, when it is a fact that most people with masters and doctorate degrees are left leaning. 

JaimesonPaul
JaimesonPaul

@Mr_Hand When you reduce a culture to a singular identity, and place a generic, sneering name on them you're being racist. That's why I was upset about the Poncho remark. 

I know it may not seem like much to many, but it feels like a lot to us. Using a name not unlike a slur is wrong, and offensive. 

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@bvckvs 

What? 

All three of these guys have enjoyed a pretty good bit of success beyond SNL, and all three of them started out their careers hewing much closer to the liberal line than conservative, and except for Miller, I'd say that hasn't changed much.

Carvey's coattails were the ones many, many other young comedians were trying to hold onto as his popularity exploded in the '90's.

WonkotheSane
WonkotheSane

@brussell8691 Silly me. I had no idea that overpaying for a run-down house in ridiculous traffic was preferable to living somewhere near work with decent schools in the most educated county in Texas.

Mr_Hand
Mr_Hand

@JaimesonPaul @Mr_Hand   Somehow  the  "Non-White of Hispanic Origin are taking over" doesn't have the same pop.  Holy hell, its like a race to see who can find a way to be offended by the most minute, convoluted insinuation of the obvious.  And lets keep midwestern strip clubs out of this. 

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk @bvckvs 

If by success, you mean they just performed the same outdated schtick over and over to ever-shrinking audiences, then yes they were very successful.

One might even say that performing together at a small town, high school football stadium is the crowning glory of that success.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@WonkotheSane 

(Spoken in Miller's nasal snark)

Whoa, whoa, there, Big Tex . . . (pause for laughter, wink at camera)

Just because 'ol J.R. and Sue Ellen paid approximately the same amount of cashola  that Jerry laid out for his big new tee-vee at the Deathstar so you could attend mummy's alma mater for 6 years (pause for laughter), might . . and I mean might, qualify you to claim that you are educated . . . but in NO WAY qualifies you to claim that you are intelligent. 

That's for the rest of us to figure out once you were done paying them to massage your ego -  and I gotta' tell ya', friend, it's not looking promising.

IgnatiusJ
IgnatiusJ

@WonkotheSane Yeah, Traffic is TERRIBLE where I live in Dallas proper.  Sometimes I'm in the car for minutes. I can see how foreigners from the Burbs, passing through to absorb some culture might get stuck.  

And:  My new $400K, 4000K sq ft house in a great neighborhood with creeks, trails, and convenient shopping and the Lake is horrible!  And the choice between highly accredited private AND public schools is awful.  Plus, the parks, museums, local non-chain restaurants, recreational trails, DART...It's awful.  "Most educated county in Texas" is a great marketing slogan, when in fact, there are far more "educated" people numerically in a few Dallas zip codes. But stick to your uninformed characterizations of the 9th largest city in the country up there in Cow Country.

Wilson
Wilson

@WonkotheSane "Most educated county in Texas" ...

Given our status in education (#49? have we moved up to #48?) that's kinda like saying you got the cleanest girl in the bordello...

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk 

That's not a rational argument, that's just a trollish little tantrum.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@bvckvs @TheCredibleHulk 

All three of these gentlemen are still successful entertainers by any measure you can apply.

You may not care for them, that is your prerogative, but to deny that fact just makes you look ignorant.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk @bvckvs 

If you *honestly* can't tell what is or is not a comedian, then it would go a long way toward explaining why you think these three fools are successful ones.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk @bvckvs 

You make a good point there.  Compared to somebody who is not a professional comedian, they're outstanding successes as comedians.

It's that way with most folks who do nothing but rant against the government.  They tend to be wildly successful in their fields - compared to folks who are not in those fields.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@bvckvs @TheCredibleHulk 

How would you define success for an entertainer?

I'd say that a comedian (or three) that can still draw 8,000 people 15 to 20 years past their prime is doing OK. 

Beyond that, Carvey is still a sought after talk show guest and entertainer, Nealon is fresh off of an acting gig on a very successful series and Miller is still a presence on the comedy and political scenes.

I'd imagine they are all living quite well - How are you doing in comparison? I haven't seen your name in lights, recently.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@JaimesonPaul @TheCredibleHulk 

*chuckle*

I've been told I've got pretty solid Miller impression. It's much easier to nail him in print, though, his heavily scripted monologues are difficult to improvise.

WonkotheSane
WonkotheSane

@TheCredibleHulk Oh goody. A snarkmeister who thinks he's a comedian. Please go back to your shitty tasting beer you chose because it was the most obscure the bar had, and guffawing at how cultured you and your friends are because you live closer to a nice restaurant. If you like living in Dallas, I'm happy for you. However, if you're so happy with it, why do you feel the need to convince yourself by putting down where other people choose to live?

ColonelAngus
ColonelAngus

@Wilson @WonkotheSane Adjust the stats to remove the millions of non-English speaking illegal aliens living in Texas and we would rank much higher.

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