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May 11, 2018

Dennis Miller a hardcore right-winger? Not so fast, he says

The stand-up comic has a gig coming up at Parx Casino

Make regular appearances on Fox News, tour with disgraced hard-right commentator Bill O’Reilly and regularly lob verbal bombs at liberal pieties and conventions and those who embrace and represent them, and you’re sure to be labeled “conservative” or “right-wing.” Although he has done all of the above, comedian Dennis Miller would prefer you not hang such labels on him.

“My business is, I look at the world in a certain way,” he said during a recent phone call occasioned by his May 17 gig at the Xcite Center at Parx Casino in Bensalem.

“I think I’m socially liberal--very liberal—and in other areas, I’m libertarian. I think in other areas I’m conservative: I don’t trust radical Islam and I’d like to keep half my money. But when [President Donald] Trump does things that I think he’s being an idiot, I’ll tear him a new one, too.

“It’s an eclectic brew of beliefs, but at the end of the day, they are utterly mine.”

Miller did support Trump’s presidential bid. But, he explained, it was more about Trump’s opponent than the 45th president.

“I looked at Hillary Clinton and she wasn’t my cup of tea,” he offered, adding that he is “astounded” three million more Americans did believe she was the superior candidate.

“I would say this: I think [Trump’s] outer voice is indeed an accurate depiction of his inner voice, warts and all. I don’t think Hillary’s inner voice and outer voice have ever had a cup of coffee together.” 

As a result, he continued, “It doesn’t seem that aberrant a thing that I didn’t want Hillary Clinton to be president.”

Although the relentless, hair-on-fire ways of the 24-hour news cycle make it seem like ancient history, it was just a couple of weeks ago that Miller was one of the few high-profile figures to take a shot at comedian Michelle Wolf in the wake of Wolf’s controversial monologue at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Shortly after Wolf made her remarks—including the widely misconstrued line about White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ “smoky eyes”—Miller tweeted he would have a comedic response “by Wednesday”—a few days after the affair. The joke, according to Miller, was that he “had no idea who she is,” and had to take the time to find out before he could comment. But Internet trolls immediately heaped scorn on him in the mistaken belief he was saying he wouldn’t be able to think of something funny for several days.

Not that he’s been crying himself to sleep over the cyber-beating he took.

“I guess everyone falls into the churn these days,” he reasoned. 

“When it's your turn to get your ass kicked on Twitter, you should probably get your ass kicked on Twitter and shut up. I can't sit around all day at age 64 and go over this stuff like [it's] the Zapruder film,” he insisted, referring to the amateur, eight-millimeter film that captured the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

When it's your turn to get your ass kicked on Twitter, you should probably get your ass kicked on Twitter and shut up."

Currently, in addition to his standup act, Miller, who first rose to prominence in the mid-1980s as a “Weekend Update” anchor on “Saturday Night Live,” is focusing on his new podcast, "The Dennis Miller Option," which finds the comic offering his takes on current events. It's programmed by the star-studded digital operation, 

He can also be heard on dozens of Westwood One-affiliated terrestrial radio stations that carry his daily, 60-second commentaries. 

As for the Parx appearance, Miller noted the set will be somewhat of a warmup for the upcoming TV special for which a distributor has yet to be announced.

“It's about 66 percent comedy about the world we live in, and maybe 33 percent about headlines and topics of the day,” he said. 

“Once you do 'Weekend Update,' for better or worse, you're gonna be a guy who talks about [current events]. You can't avoid it completely.

“But the prime objective of the special is to be funny. To that point, I'll be speaking about social media, how tough it is to be a kid nowadays, political correctness, things like that.

“Then, at the end, we'll talk about Madame [Nancy] Pelosi, President Trump, [Senator] Chuck Schumer, Ted Cruz.

"I hope Ted Cruz is still in office when I do the special because I think he has an offer to appear in a full-length black cape on Telemundo hosting [horror films]. I can see him walking in with his right arm over his mouth, like [the actor in director Ed Woods' beloved celluloid stinker, 'Plan Nine From Outer Space'], after Bela Lugosi died and they had to replace him.

“He'd be perfect for that.”

Dennis Miller performs at the Xcite Center at Parx Casino, 2999 Street Road, Bensalem on May 17. Show time is 8 p.m. Tickets are $85-$40.