Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Miller studied journalism and graduated from Pittsburgh's Point Park College . In the early 1980s he would host The Trolley Show, a Saturday-afternoon newsmagazine for teenagers, on Pittsburgh's KDKA-TV.
Miller rose to fame from 1985 to 1991 as a regular on Saturday Night Live, where he served as a "Weekend Update" anchor, the longest any one performer has held that position in the history of the show.
From 1994 to 2002, he was the host of Dennis Miller Live, a half-hour talk show on HBO characterized by its stark simplicity. The show had no set, band, or even much lighting. It mainly consisted of Miller speaking to the largely unseen studio audience on a darkened stage. There would be one guest per show, whom Miller would quiz on the topic of the day. At one time the show also featured callers, but this was phased out in later seasons. Miller won five Emmy Awards while hosting the show, which aired 215 episodes during its nine-year run.
The highlight of the show were Miller's "rants" on various political issues. The rants always began with the catch phrase "Now I don't want to get off on a rant here..." and ended with the phrase "Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong."
Miller has a reputation for being very scholarly and intelligent, and his distinct style of humor reflects this. His rants and stand-up routines often feature elaborate metaphors and references to obscure historical and political events. This has prompted some accusations of intellectual snobbery.
In 2000, Miller became a commentator on Monday Night Football. Some feared his style of humor was a little too highbrow for football fans. His style was probably more suitable for those fans who watched Monday Night Football more for its entertainment value than primarily as a sporting event, but he demonstrated considerable knowledge of the game and its personalities, although at times he tended to lapse into sometimes obscure analogy-riddled streams of consciousness similar to his "rants". After two seasons, Miller was replaced in 2002 by a figure more firmly associated in the public mind with football, former Oakland Raiders coach John Madden.
Miller has noted that the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks changed him. He became more partisan, and turned to political commentary. In 2003, he provided regular commentary for the FOX News show Hannity & Colmes, and began a prime-time political show on CNBC in early 2004 called Dennis Miller. The show contained a daily news segment called "The Daily Rorschach", which is reminiscent of his "Weekend Update" segments. The Nielsen ratings for his new program remain quite low, and claims have been made that people have been paid by the producers to be in the show's studio audience.
Today Miller is a registered Republican and is now known largely for his neoconservative and libertarian beliefs. This, in addition to his being one of only a few mainstream comedians to support the GOP, has earned Miller a ride on Air Force One and catapulted him to the top of the GOP's "celebrity" A-list. Many in the GOP even called for him to run for U.S. Senator from California against Barbara Boxer.
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