It is safe to say that Dennis Miller is a man of many rants. He poked fun at the news with Weekend Update on SNL, won five Emmy awards with Dennis Miller Live on HBO, has written a slew of awesome rant related books, and not to mention, bitching, grinding his teeth at current events, making us laugh the whole way through.
These days Dennis is a regular contributor on The O'Reilly Factor and hosts a nationally syndicated talk show called The Dennis Miller Show and as if that wasn't enough, this Friday he will be adding yet another accomplishment to his long running list. He'll be joining forces with Adam Carolla with a stand-up performance at The City National Grove of Anaheim. We snagged Miller on the phone this week to talk about medical pot, getting old and getting haggled over his political conservatism via Twitter.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): How'd you end up hooking up with Adam Carolla for this show in Anaheim?
Dennis Miller: I've never done a gig with Adam but I've always admired the way his mind works so I'm really looking forward to it. I just asked him to do a date together and I'm glad were doing it because like I said, I read his books and they made me laugh uproariously and I think I'm a political pragmatist and I think he is too. I've never worked with him but I find his to be a particularly agile mind so I'll try to have mine in good shape for that night. He'll do a segment alone, I'll do a segment alone, and then we'll take questions from the audience. We won't soft soap what has happened recently but we'll be entertaining about it. I think a good banter will be had!
Some people would say you lean right these days. Is that a pretty fair assumption?
Well I'm socially liberal! I like people in love, it's none of my business you know what I mean? As far as radical Islam goes and electing people that are going to bring a few dollars, well I guess that makes me a right winger. [Laughs.] As far as me being involved in other people's life choices I'm very socially liberal. That's their business.
I do think you walk the fine middle line. I like to think your fans are people from both sides that enjoy keeping an open mind.
Listen, it's really Hatfield/ McCoy right now. I write tweets but you can't read the comments because it looks like half of the country hates your guts and half of the country likes you. As I look back on my career I've always sort of made my career right on the cusp line and I should probably embrace that. I don't think I'll ever be for everybody. When I was younger and I had more liberal leanings, I guess I alienated people on the right and now that I'm older, I believe that's a transmodification that takes place for a lot of men and women that they get more conservative and alienate people on the other side. I think I should realize that operating on that line is probably my sweet spot career wise.
I totally agree. I mean, I personally lean left and I'm a big fan in real life and on Twitter.
Well that is very sweet of you to say because there are some liberals… It's like I was saying, I had to quit reading what people say because they're wishing you were dead. You just go, wow, I'm hardly so far over to the right. Anyway, it's an angry place out there.
Yeah people are jerks and especially on Twitter. It's that whole “you can't say it to my face” but on Twitter it's fair game.
That's what I'm learning! I was late to the game and didn't know too much about it and I started in the last year. I find that Twitter is like that same vague rage we feel towards each other while driving.
Haaa. Good point! I would never cuss someone out in person the way I do when I am driving.
[Laughs.] It's so true, Twitter reminds me of how the windshield makes you feel invisible. Somehow Twitter makes you invisible in some subtext amongst the mudslingers.
I heard you say on your radio show once that you don't think marijuana is “Satan's crotch hair” which is an analogy that made me laugh out loud. With some states starting to legalize, do you look at this issue kind of like a never ending battle?
It's not one of the things I get up and think about that much. If somebody is getting loaded every day I think they're easily takeable because I think they perpetually exhibit a limp. Those are the people you can move by without putting into gear. [Laughs.] You can move right by them. If somebody wants to do it recreationally once in a while, what business is it of mine you know? People always sought to alter consciousness throughout history. I'm just saying, I don't know if it's good to aspire to get up and get loaded every day. That's just me. Maybe I'm an old square or something.
Aww I don't think that makes you square but it's just a big battle here in Orange County.
Well if they want to get high in Orange County, imagine it in the hard streets in the inner cities, I guess it looks like even more of an enticement. You're in Orange County, you're not exactly parking out on the dirty boulevard as Lou Reed said.
So as a comic, are there any other comedians that you like to go see?
Brian Regan is the best comedian in the world! He's the best comedian on planet earth right now. I went to see him at the Wiltern and I am telling you, as a comedian you hear people once in a while say, “God, you made my guts hurt.” I now know what they meant. There was a point in that show that I remember looking over at my son and saying, I think I'm going to vomit! He was just relentless. He's the best comic in the world.
You generally cover a lot of topics but is there anything material that you would shy away from doing?
Yeah. You know, I have an idea for an HBO special that is non-political. Listen, when you do Weekend Update for a while you get known for being a topical comedian. Then when you do a topical show like the one I did for ten seasons on HBO, you're the topical guy. Now that this election is over and I see that the country has made a discernible choice and I believe I won't see a change back in my lifetime, I'm not going to be in the parapets every day in order to be hearing some people talking about the 2014 mid-term elections. I'm like, are you kidding me? I'm off for a while and I'm going to just try to write a special that is not political and is just funny.
That would be amazing, I would love to see that! So at this point in your career is there anything that you wish you could do better?
Ehhh. I'm 59 years-old and I'm not trying to be mawkish but, I really never thought I'd get where I've got. I've had some part of the public's consistent attention for a quarter of a century for god's sake! You know my monkey trick surprises me. So I'm really blessed, I've got a radio show, I'm on the road here and there, and I appear on a number one cable show once a week and he never tells me what to say so I can do what I want and convey who I am as a human. I'm not looking for another plate in the air. I just think “Wow, Dennis, you're very lucky to have what you have.”
Follow Dennis on Twitter at @DennisDMZ and listen to The Dennis Miller Show at www.dennismillerradio.com. Get your tickets to see Dennis along with Adam Carolla this Friday (November 16th) at the City National Grove of Anaheim by logging on to www.citynationalgroveofanaheim.com or by calling (714) 712-2700. The City National Grove of Anaheim is located at 2200 East Katella Avenue in Anaheim.