Tuesday, April 24, 2007

AM Drive-Time Bliss with Dennis Miller

Here's my take on the stirring Canes news of the last two weeks.

  • Ray Whitney re-signs: Multi-year deal. Great clubhouse guy. Finisher. Most excellent.

  • Jim Rutherford re-signs: Multi-year deal. Looks like a vote on confidence from PK despite the Jack Johnson and Anson Carter at the deadline deals this season.

  • Andrew Hutchinson playing for Team USA = potential big ups for Spicoli-on-Ice's market value.
Damn, it sucks to have nobody to root for. Go Rang-uhs... (uttered with very little emotion). So there may be some hockey commentary on CB between now and the SCF, but I'll leave the bulk of the analysis to the pros and those Bloggers whose teams are still contenders...as it should be.

Now is the time on Sprockets venn vee talk about Dennis Miller

Like most males of our species, I treat the car radio dial a lot like the TV remote. I don't care what is on, only what else is on. We all know it's inherently dangerous to shave, put makeup on, or talk on a cellphone while driving. But I'm probably just as dangerous behind the wheel because I tend to get absorbed in rhythmically tapping the "seek" button every nanosecond. As early as two weeks ago, I used to cycle between NPR, Colin Cowherd on ESPN, the local agenda-driven yahoos, alternative FM (very heavy with chick music flavor), ever-reliable old school Soul, and Laura Ingraham.

I can't stick long on NPR because it's God-awful boring. Everybody on every broadcast seems deep into their daily Percocet fog. I can't stay long with Cowherd either. He's way too in love with himself, and feel like I'm stabbing Jim Rome in the back by listening to an unlicensed clone. Lost interest in the self-absorbed and serially cranky Imus years ago.

Anyhoo, a couple of weeks ago, a local AM station lost the Laura Ingraham show. Never liked it much anyway. Shrill-er-ific radio, at best. Enter Dennis Miller Radio. Great mix of politics, story-telling, comedy, pretzel logic, obscure metaphors and surreal analogies. No political talking point regurgitation. No point/counterpoint between folks who have a list of grievances to get thru as loudly, and with the most venom possible.

For a guy whose got more cultural knowledge and obscure trivia packed into his lobes than 98% of the population, I love the lack of pretentiousness in Miller. I appreciate the fact that he admits that he's learning on the job. During week one, an overly-exuberant Miller took every opportunity to seize on what he thought were the essential elements of a caller's commentary to launch into a tangential rant. Now he's listening first, and there are fewer mis-riffs. How about a radio talking head whose not afraid to admit he's wrong? How about a radio host who brings on thoughtful people regardless of their political ilk? How bizarre, how bizarre.

My daily commute is around 45 minutes each way, and I laugh out loud at least once every trip listening to Miller. Sometimes he seems to be playing word association games - like he's got South Park Manatees feeding jokes into his earpiece- but I find his shtick to be very compelling radio. Today, he called Arianna Huffington, "The Smart Gabor." Two weeks ago he reflected on the possibility of Paris Hilton being sent to jail for violating probation and labeled it, "The Shaw-skank Redemption."

So here's my attempt at a Dennis Miller Radio Primer for CB readers - a few core references you will need to be familiar with in order to follow a few of a his recurring riffs:

  • Rube Goldberg: Cartoonist and social commentator of the mid-twentieth century. Noted for what are called gold "Rube Goldberg Machines." These are overly complex devices designed to perform a simple task. Think of the board game Mousetrap.

  • Isaac Asimov: Science fiction author who took a keen interest in robots.

  • Ray Bradbury: Another science fiction writer and author of The Martian Chronicles.

  • Ma-mood Aqua-Velva Zhad: DM's id. for the current President of Iran.

It's fair to say Dennis crashed and burned on MNF and CNBC. His stylings were just too divergent for the MNF crowd. As for CNBC, who the Hell watches anything on that pseudo-network anyway? I loved that CNBC show, especially the panel discussion segment. Now I think he's again found his niche. To steal from Elvis Costello, "Radio is a sound salvation. Radio is cleaning up the nation." To me, Dennis Miller is the new voice of reason on the radio, sans the treason.


The Acid Queen said...

I frakkin' adore Dennis Miller--the only time I ever watched MNF after I graduated high school was when he was part of the crew...and it was specifically because he's a very well-read and intelligent individual who didn't feel the need to treat the viewers like they were stupid. I get inspiration from Dennis Miller, only I'm more like a well-read and intelligent Denis Leary (minus the nic)--but that's OK.

Of course, sadly, the viewers of MNF are stupid and ABC proved it by canning Miller at the end of the season because a lot of those stupid viewers complained that "that long-haired guy" was accusing them of having IQs of more than two small digits.

magnolia_mer said...

SNL has never been the same since Miller left Weekend Update. I wish someone would put out a DVD with nothing but his WU segments.

CasonBlog said...

You all get his radio show back there?

magnolia_mer said...

Nope. It's only in Charlotte.

Kevin said...

What AQ said. And then some.

d-lee said...

Funny. I really dislike Dennis Miller. I always did.
Since John Tortarella reminds me of Dennis Miller, I can't stand him either. Well, then there's the whole bit about how he coaches the Bolts.

I certainly appreciate his references to intelligent things, and I get some of them, but it was exactly that that ruined MNF when he was on. People don't want references to 19th century Russian literature when they're watching football. Even if they understand and appreciate the reference, they still prefer football talk.

And as far as "Weekend Update" goes, I have to differ with Mer.
The Tina Fey/Jimmy Fallon duo was fantastic. Far and away my personal favorite of the recent WU anchors.

Still, nobody will ever touch the genius that was Jane Curtain/Dan Aykroyd.

That's just my two cents

CasonBlog said...

David, you ignorant slut...

I agree that his obtuseness didn't work at all on MNF. I'm digging it on the radio. Today, he told the story of when he was doing human interest features for local Pittsburgh TV and had to cover a middle-aged, binge Star Wars collector. The real nugget was when Dad left the room and he got the loon's son to admit dad was a bit out there.