In this fourth installment of his acclaimed Rants series, bestselling author, Emmy Award-winning talk-show host, and wisecracking analyst for ABC's Monday Night Football Dennis Miller makes hamburger meat out of society's most sacred cows as only he can, with the kinds of allusions that require high SAT scores -- or at least a smart crib sheet.
This time around, Miller takes on child stars with rap sheets, women with bigger muscles than his own, herbs you don't smoke, God, and football. As always, nothing is out-of-bounds.
"I don't care who you know, you never start out at the top, no matter what business you're in. First you're given oil wells, then you're given a baseball team, and then, and only then, are you given the White House." This Miller "rant," similar to the others that run five or six to a page in this new collection, his fourth, encapsulates all of his comic traits: biting, slashing, witty and ecumenically politically savage, targeting right, left and center. This persona honed on HBO's Dennis Miller Live and ABC's Monday Night Football is not a far throw from his kinder Saturday Night Live days, but his aggressive tone and often vicious ridicule make him this country's most notorious satirist, social agitator and malcontent. Whether he is going after George W. Bush or Gary Condit, Miller is rude and abrasive, taking on everyone and everything, from God (whose "name gets thrown around like the drunken dwarf at a biker rally") to the fat Elvis ("after the 50s, even Elvis couldn't do Elvis") although much of his anger is directed at stupidity in government and popular culture. Though funny, the pieces tend to suffer from sameness, and in the end, after he has demolished most everything in sight, readers have no idea of what Miller's politics or thoughts really are. Despite its political topics, Miller's work is really about great stand-up, not serious exploration of current events. Of course, that's just our opinion. We could be wrong. (On sale Oct. 23)
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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September 01, 2002
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Excerpt from The Rant Zone by Dennis Miller
Mikey Hates It!
If Mr. Blackwell has come out of his lover's hole and seen his shadow, it must be awards season, huh? I watched the People's Choice awards the other night, and I'm torn when I see that little kid from The Sixth Sense. On the one hand, you'd like to see him win, and on the other, for his own good, you wish he wasn't even in the business.
Now, I don't want to get off on a rant here, but I'm reasonably sure that acting isn't a suitable profession for adults, let alone children. These days, every movie ends with the assurance that "no animals were injured in the making of this film." Yeah, but they never tell you about the kids, do they?
Child actors are a tragedy waiting to happen. Look at the Little Rascals. They're all dead. Now, sure, they pretty much all died of old age, but does that make them any less dead? O-tay, then. Where was I? Oh, yeah, the harsh reality of a child star segueing into his or her most challenging role: adulthood. Life cereal is running a new series of commercials featuring a grownup Mikey. Remember Mikey? The "Mikey-likes-it" Mikey? Well, get this: Life cereal cast some other guy to play the adult Mikey! Nice, huh? So where is the real Mikey? No doubt he's sitting in a dimly lit bar in the Valley midafternoon, badgering the bartender to pour one more on the house for the real Mikey, goddammit! He'll drink it! Mikey'll drink anything.
I speak from experience. Most of you don't know this, but I was a child star and I have kept it under wraps because I thought it might hurt my career as an adult. You probably don't recognize me with the goatee but, yes, I played the little redheaded girl Margaret on Dennis the Menace. Fuck you, Wilson!
The most miraculous thing about children -- other than their uncanny ability to repeat verbatim in front of your boss every joke you've ever made about his speech impediment -- is their innocence, their sweetness, and their utter, total trustfulness. Children truly do believe in the goodness of mankind. Throw a child into show business, a world where the phrase "I'll call you" actually means "I will use every ounce of will that I possess to avoid coming into contact with you for as long as the sun shines in the heavens and I continue to draw breath," and, trust me, that childlike quality will be stripped faster than a fully loaded Lexus parked in front of a Detroit crack house.
Christ, isn't it hard enough for a kid to have a normal childhood without being schlepped around to audition for every walleyed, halitosistic, bad-toupeed, spits-when-he's-talking casting director in town? Putting your kid in show business means taking him to meet the very people you should be doing everything in your power to protect him from. The only idiots who don't see that are frustrated stage parents who try to fill their career-void by being so demonically driven they make William Randolph Hearst look like Jeff Spicolli.
Fortunately, you can tell when your kids are in danger of becoming child stars. There are some tea leaves you can read. Like if you tell them to go out and play, and they say, "Play how? Moody? Belligerent?" Or if your kid sees news coverage of another kid trapped in a well and says, "Hey, did I read for that?" Or if you call your kids in for dinner and they say, "Sorry, I don't eat with the crew." All of these are bad signs.
No child really wants to be in show business. Ask little kids what they want to be, and they'll say a fireman or an astronaut. I guarantee you, not one will say: "I want to be on a set all day with a bunch of alcoholic, prescription drug-addicted, psychotically self-involved adult costars, waiting to say my completely unrealistic lines that illustrate how adorably wise and precocious I am."