A couple of years ago (during an era best forgotten) someone at CNBC thought it would be a good idea to give that fount of flopsweat, Dennis Miller, yet another show because people used to think that he was funny for about five minutes in his career … which is slightly more than two minutes over the Carrot Top entry-level position. To ensure that this Titanic idea would float, it was decided to add a monkey to the act since it is an old show business truism that dates back to vaudeville that states: “Monkeys are funny…Dennis Miller isn’t.”
Unfortunately, there is another truism that states, “Sometimes a monkey isn’t enough.”
Part of the blame for this miserable failure of a show can be placed on CNBC for their decision to not employ a laughtrack so Miller’s fan would know when to laugh, opting instead for a recording of crickets chirping, lending the show and Miller’s act a patina of verisimilitude: a courageous act, but ultimately a foolish one and faster than you can say “Cha-Chi” the show disappeared down the drain scarcely making a sucking sound as it passed.
Flash forward to 2006.
The Fox News Network, faced with declining ratings after many of their viewers lose the instructions for turning on the TV, decides they need to pep up the ratings for Hannity & Colmes. Surely this calls for a monkey, but the auditions went poorly as guests began to discuss the November elections with the monkeys while Sean Hannity smoked cigarettes, mugged for the camera, and picked nits out of Alan Colmes hair. Although the monkeys were willing to work for bananas, Sean Hannity has a no-trade clause in his contract and the Food Network was unwilling to part with Rachel Ray, so Fox decided to bite the bullet, stick with Hannity, and look for something within their budget that would also make Hannity look, if not Mensa-like, at least as if he didn’t have to be chaperoned all day so that he wouldn’t stick his tongue in wall sockets.
Enter Dennis Miller.
Unfortunately during Millers retirement/hiatus/alcoholic spiral/stint at Chick-fil-a, his act didn’t get its groove back and we are left with this:
Hey, folks. Tonight, we’re going to talk about Nancy Pelosi, because the mere thought of the nosy neighbor from Bewitched as third in line to be the leader of the free world has stoked me into a Rain Man-like panic attack. A quick glance of her record reveals she voted to cut intelligence spending. Well, if anyone in the universe should vote for more intelligence, it’s Nancy Pelosi. Let’s just say that the whistle on Representative Pelosi’s train of thought is barely audible off in the distance.
Now, I’ve worked in office scenarios before where a nimrod rose to a position of power in the office through mere inconsequentiality, and it drove me berserk. And I just know that every day I turn on C-SPAN, which, granted, is never, and see her wielding the wrong end of that gavel, it will give me Krakatoan shpilkes. To think that a C-minus, D-plus applicant like this, who no doubt would have been drummed out of the Mary Kay corps after an initial four-week evaluation period, might have a seat at the table of true powers, the speaker of the House, is absolutely insane.
Every time I see Pelosi in her little Chanel suits — a latter day “Wacky O” — regurgitating the Democratic talking points that she had to learn phonetically because the word “grasp” is not even vaguely in her vocabulary, I shake my head so badly you could blend paint colors in my mouth. Now, I know in public the Dems will paint Pelosi as merely a more saucer-eyed version of [former Prime Minister of Pakistan] Benazir Bhutto, but the behind-closed-door fact is that they won’t let her be speaker for long, if at all. They can’t afford to let this mask of Nefertiti for harridans front their party for the next two years, because it will blow away any toehold they’ve established with real humans.
Bewitched, Rain Man, Mary Kay, “Wacky O”; references almost as quaint as the sexist drivel about Chanel suits and “Nefertiti for harridans”. If it weren’t so expected of him it would almost be embarrassing.
Miller hasn’t bottomed out yet, but it’s not for lack of trying as he spirals to the right and down the drain one last time taking his dated Bob Hope-era cultural references with him, shvitsn all the way.