Rob’s Review: Sideways Thumb
Dennis Miller’s stand up comedy has always been a “you love it or you don’t,” proposition. Famous for his vague references and analogies, he’s simply too smart for the room too often for too many. That’s not to say that only the most educated and refined can enjoy him, not at all. He just has an attrition point.
Miller has always taken on the combination of “what’s the deal with,” type comedy involving things like air travel, to topical, more serious subjects involving current events and politics. Years ago, over the course of many months, Miller shifted before the public’s eyes from a borderline socialist to a staunch conservative. In fact, for a while there, it seemed to most of us that he had retired from comedy and had become a full-time political commentator.
He’s back doing stand-up on Amazon Prime, Itunes, and a few other platforms with a new special and it’s…ok-ish.
When Miller is classic Miller, like his hysterical story about being stuck on the tarmac of a plane while needing to use the restroom after another passenger has stunk-it-up, it’s funny and it’s fun (even though he slipped in a line about border security). He tells another great story about the disconnect between he and his sons over technology and, in classic RAD fashion bashes Gen X for being responsible for the millennials we’ve all raised.
Some of Miller’s political comedy, which by my count, is about 40% of this special, is comedic and tolerable. Portraying Bernie Sanders as Santa Claus is cute, but is also easy low hanging fruit and beneath his level of intelligence and creativity. Watching him try to be supportive of Trump while still acknowledging that much of what he says and does is both unnecessary and a little cringe-worthy. Equally so are his shots at Elizabeth Warren over her non-Native American roots. That joke is like Dawn’s hoo-hoo…everyone’s already been there.
And then there’s the political stuff that just doesn’t land. Joking about former senator Harry Reid as though everyone knows and remembers him just bombs. Too often he references people and events as though everyone knows what he’s talking about and he fails to remember he’s not on Fox News anymore. I didn’t feel like I’d wasted an hour, and I did laugh aloud more than a few times, but it dragged too much at times. Only a devout Miller fan like myself will enjoy it, and even you will shrug your shoulders and go “eh,” when it’s over.