Former “Saturday Night Live” performer Dennis Miller has led a varied and distinctly different career compared to many of the show’s alumni.
Though the acerbic Miller resists being called a conservative, he appears regularly on Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” with Bill O’Reilly and has delivered his opinions on his own radio and TV talk shows.
Miller even spent a short time as a color commentator on Monday Night Football.
Along with occasional stand-up appearances with Kevin Nealon and Dana Carvey, he also tours with O’Reilly on their “Don’t Be a Pinhead!” tour.
The newspaper caught up with Miller from his Santa Barbara, California, base.
Q: How do you describe yourself?
A: I’m a stand-up comedian.
Q: So, not a political commentator?
A: Yeah, sure. That too.
Q: Everything I read about you describes you as conservative in the liberal world of entertainment.
A: I think of myself as a pragmatist.
Q: On these tours with Dana and Kevin, what’s the crowd like compared to the audience at the Pinhead tour?
A: Don’t notice any difference.
Q: Are you in between radio shows at the moment?
A: No, I’ve quit the radio. I’ve quit practically everything except that I go out with Dana and Kevin once in a while, and I do Bill and we go out once in a while. As I get older, I’d like to travel more.
Q: Out of all the comics you could be working with, why Kevin and Dana?
A: We were on “Saturday Night Live” together. We’re dear old friends.
Q: Many consider you the best Weekend Update anchor of that show. Is that a career highlight?
A: That’s a very priviliged seat that I was lucky to have.
Q: In the show here in Tacoma, what will you entertain audiences with?
A: I do mostly observational humor and I do mix in one of the facets of life I observe: politics — sort of the ludicrous nature of modern life.
Q: What are your current rants?
A: I think I’ll share them on the stage that night. One of the core topics is that the country is tense right now and oddly enough in its open-mindedness, very close-minded. Eggshells are the new Linoleum.
Q: Are you saying people are afraid to speak out or that they get jumped on when they do?
A: Times are pretty intense in this country. I think a lot of people sort of lay in the woods waiting for people to say things.
Q: Did you watch the Super Bowl?
A: The Super Bowl was the one game in the playoffs I watched and I did enjoy it. I’m weaning myself off football and returning to baseball and hockey.
Q: Tom Brady and Deflategate — what’s your take on that?
A: The overanalysis of the peripherals in football is one of the reasons that I’ve quit watching it — stopping plays and analyzing them like the Warren Commission. I don’t care what they inflate the balls at. I don’t understand why this has turned into the new Dreyfus affair. I would give (the ball) to each quarterback and say, “Here, we have an entertainment on Sunday. It’s hugely popular. We’d like to make it better. What do you like to throw the ball at?” And have each person say, “Well, it feels good here.” That would be OK with me.