Dennis Miller was the guest on The Daily Show last night and raised a couple of interesting questions, such as why he was given two segments and WTF does he think he's doing with his career, if any.
Miller's schtick was wholly scripted, which allowed him to follow the time-honored showbiz tradition of bringing the show to a screeching halt right off the bat. Sal Mineo's chalk outline? Popeye Doyle and the Peter Principle? He righted himself momentarily with a Pope joke ("I don't know about you, but when I see a German guy on a balcony and cheering throngs below, I get nervous") before lurching into unwatchability. Then came the moment I tuned in for in the first place: "I know a lot of you think I'm a right-wing nut because I backed Bush and the war, but I'm a libertarian." This, by way of explaining that he was actually personally opposed to child molestation by priests (!). Really? That's what distinguishes the libertarian wing of the party now--it believes that child abuse laws should extend to religious figures?
Then came the second segment. Lordy. They should have booked the chimp. "I'm a libertarian" about three more times, apparently playing to TDS's dope-smoking demo, a defense of the war on Iraq based on the fact that it was a handy target, and a riff on the ridiculousness of global warming. Sheesh, Dennis, is that CNBC audience too big for you? The fall from C-list comedian to no-list comedian to Netscape pitchman hasn't been rapid enough?
I switched over to the last few minutes of his own show, which I hadn't seen since day two. His skills are not improving, but I noticed something which also happened when he was with Jon. Miller now careens into people on stage, fist-bumps guests, etc., in what comes across as a desperate attempt to demonstrate that he's not a right-wing nut. He's a libertarian. And zany.
I don't get it. It has nothing whatsoever to do with his political views, for me, but the violation of a cardinal rule of comedy: you can't expect us to laugh at your view of the world's foibles unless you include your own. Otherwise you're like Jack E. Leonard peaking though the curtains at a half-empty house before a dinner theatre production of Waiting for Godot. Babe.