Dennis Miller considers comedy to be a fine art

Dennis Miller performs on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Wilbur (246 Tremont St., Boston). For more info visit www.thewilbur.com.

Comedian and “Saturday Night Live” vet Dennis Miller is known as much today for his political views as for the trademark rhythmic delivery and deliciously arcane references that carved him a unique place in stand-up comedy as well as the hallowed “Weekend Update” chair in the mid-’90s.

To Miller, 58, integrating politics and comedy has been a natural process: “It happened when I got ‘Weekend Update,’” he says. “Once you get known in that way in people’s minds, you’re in the current events business, and that means you talk about politics.”

Miller’s own views — a mix of social liberalism and economic and foreign policy conservatism he describes simply as “pragmatic” — set him apart from his peers early on.

Miller says he finds that left-wingers tend to be more rankled by his mix of left and right wing positions.

“The left gets more pissed off at you than the right does,” he says. “I disagree with conservatives and they just sort of shake their heads, but they concede that you’re allowed to make your opinion. I disagree with the left, and my kids show me pictures of myself on the Internet dressed in Hitler’s garb.” 

At the end of the day, though, comedy still takes precedence over politics for Miller. In fact, he considers it a much finer art.

“Anyone who can look you in the face and not blink when they tell you a complete lie can be a politician,” he says. “Comedians, at some point, need to be a little nimble on their feet. So I’m drawn to [comedy] because it’s the harder thing to do.”

A break from politics

How did Miller develop the rhythmic, free-associative style that makes him such an amusing speaker? He cites comedian Richard Belzer as well as Jack Kerouac’s Beat classic “On the Road,” but the biggest inspiration seems to have been on-stage tension.
  
“The palaver first came with nerves on stage,” he says. “Just to keep it moving, because I didn’t like breaks. I be-gan to realize that those ex- trapolated reference runs [got laughs]… they liked that monkey trick. And I’m nothing if not Pavlov’s dog.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.

Local

VIDEO: Cop reassigned as NYPD investigates alleged head…

An officer alleged to have stomped on a Brooklyn man's head last week had his gun taken away and placed on modified duty.

National

New York Times calls for legalization of pot

The New York Times editorial board on Saturday endorsed a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, becoming the largest paper in the nation to back the idea.

National

Two injured after cable snaps on Ohio amusement…

(Reuters) - A cable on a large swing ride at an Ohio amusement park snapped and struck two riders as the swing was in motion,…

Music

Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.

Music

MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.

Arts

James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…

Movies

Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Auto racing

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Wellbeing

This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…

Education

Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…

Education

Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…

Career

Feeling stuck? Get out of the entry-level job…

Television and movies may be littered with 20-something characters who seem directionless when it comes to their careers, but author Mary Traina says she finds…