Miller time at The Keswick
I was fortunate to be among a group of about 20 people who got the opportunity to shake Miller’s hand that evening. He introduced himself to each person individually with a “Hi, I’m Dennis,” almost like we didn’t know who he was.
There was some brief backstage banter before Miller suggested we all go out on stage and take the pictures, with the Keswick seats steadily filling about 15 minutes before show time serving as the backdrop.
Unfortunately, the pre-show stage lighting — a kind of a dark blue — played havoc with my photos and they all came out with a dark blue tint, making the images almost indistinguishable, even when using a flash. I wonder if any of the other folks with cameras had the same problem.
As for the show, I didn’t laugh as much as I would have liked, but not because Miller wasn’t funny. Between watching his last HBO special and the phone call interview I had with him to preview the appearance, much of it was repeat information.
In fact, at the end of the interview, I had asked him what the Keswick crowd could expect at a Dennis Miller show. “This phone call for about an hour,” he said.
And that’s what it turned out to be. One can’t quibble that Dennis Miller didn’t deliver the kind of show that he had promised to deliver.
One other observation: Political humor is a tough gig right now, given the polarization in our country. I grew up with the humor of George Carlin, who I thought was both funny and brilliant. But in the latter part of his career, Carlin became more political and more anti-government, anti-religion and just about anti-everything. And it just wasn’t as funny as his other stuff.
Miller strikes me as being on a similar path. His stories about taking his mother to meet Frank Sinatra, the shenanigans during his stint as a Monday Nigh Football commentator and the craziness that was the early days of Saturday Night Live were all enjoyable and funny bits. The political stuff, not so much.
Maybe the comedians haven’t changed over the years. Maybe it’s the politics that just isn’t funny anymore.