Dennis Miller made Saturday Night Live's weekend update must-see TV before the term was coined. His rapid-fire delivery of the most obscure references was both angry and funny. In his stand up, his rants were made better when you understood the reference, but they didn’t depend on it. In an era that predated the ability to google his references, if you got it, it added another level of comedy to the rant. If you didn't get it (and most people didn't get them all), his points were still valid, thoughtful and funny.
In recent times, Dennis Miller has hitched his stardom to the republican machine. An admitted libertarian with conservative opinions, he early on hitched onto president Bush and decided to ride it all out on Fox news as a commentator.
I could care less about his politics. If he wants to stand up and rant about democrats, I’ll listen. Because again, his delivery is his own. His references are so arcane and clever that i would be in. In fact, he's such a smart comic that I would have thought I would learn something.
So I recently watched one of his rants on the web. And boy was I disappointed.
Watch this. It’s on a website called media matters, often called a left-wing site. Whatever. The topic is the supposed intelligent, or lack thereof of Nancy Pelosi. I don't mind a rant on that. But I would think it at least bears mentioning, fomr a comedic angle, that his President isn't gifted in the intellectual arena, and the president's dad had Dan Quayle as his VEEP.
To heap on the ironies, in a rant about the intelligence of the minority leader, Fox places pop ups to help describe the references for viewers. Thus, a rant about the intelligence of someone has to be dumbed down so people can better follow it.
I just can’t imagine that Dennis Miller missed that irony. If he did, then he's losing his touch. If he didn't, then he's losing something more.
Because I would have loved to hear him angrily say the dumbness of the minority leader isn't a unique thing. There are countless examples on both sides of the dumbness of politicians. But focusing entirely on Pelosi makes the argument partisan and weak. Plus, calling her a nimrod seems so anti-Dennis Miller. I would have preferred to hear how dumb she was using some arcane reference of dumb, like Alice in the Brady Bunch during the episode where Bobby gets hurt – or something.
I don’t agree with Mr. Miller’s politics, but I was happy to listen. But now, not so much. It seems he’s reduced himself to the level of prop comic, with post-production images and effects. And really, that stinks.