Dennis Miller is well known for his cynical banter and joy in unleashing biting social critiques in his stand-up shows. He followed the lead of pragmatists like James Thurber, Lenny Bruce, and Andy Rooney. Born in Philadelphia, Miller began his comic career at home in the 70s. He moved on to New York to perform in comedy clubs and try to make the big time. His big break did not come as he had hoped, and he moved back to Philadelphia to write monologues for PM Magazine and host a Saturday morning television show for teens.
By the early 80s, Miller had made his way to Los Angeles and earned a spot in LA's Comedy Store line-up. Producer Lorne Michaels caught one of Miller's performances and liked what he saw. Michaels invited Miller to join the cast of the popular sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. Miller remained on the cast of SNL for nearly a decade delivering popular sketches like the Weekend Update.
He left SNL in 1991 and pursued a solo gig. He succeeded when he landed Dennis Miller Live. The show debuted on HBO in 1994. The show included his infamous social and political rants. From the show's premier in 1994 it began racking up the awards. For four years in a row, Dennis Miller Live won the Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Variety or Music Program. Miller also won individual awards, like the American Comedy Award for Funniest Male Performer in a Television Special for his performance in State of the Union Undressed.
In 2000 Miller's career took a strange turn. He began working as an announcer for NFL Monday Night Football. He brought a wry humor to the normally dry and straightforward commentators. Miller joined veteran commentators Al Michaels and Dan Fouts. Miller adds a unique dynamic to the trio and has football fans chuckling at his one-liners throughout the night.
He also made acting appearances in several major motion pictures. It soon became a running gag that his characters died in his films. He dies in The Net with Sandra Bullock. He dies in Bordello of Blood. He's shot in Murder at 1600 aside star Wesley Snipes. He's beaten to death with a lead pipe in the thriller Never Talk to Strangers starring Rebecca DeMorney. Not surprisingly, Miller's acting career never really took off.
During Dennis Miller's busy television career he's still found time to write. He had two political books published in the late 90s. The Rants and Ranting Again both took shots at the government, big business, and society in general. The books were well received and gained him a conservative following. Miller's conservative following grew more when he came out as a supporter of George W. Bush and the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. His conservative views gained him a regular spot on the FOX News show Hannity & Colmes. In 2004 he also began a regular political show on CNBC called Dennis Miller where his first guest was California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Many Republicans have suggested that he run for the US Senate.