Dennis Miller talks about Bill O'Reilly, Trump and his comedy show at the Genesee
Breaking political news: Dennis Miller will not be running for president in 2020.
"I will be running FROM it -- like the Road Runner, running from Wile E. Coyote," the Emmy Award-winning comedian, radio personality and Fox News Channel ("The O'Reilly Factor") political commentator, said through much laughter.
Miller, 63, whose TV credits include "Saturday Night Live" and HBO's "Dennis Miller Live," recently spoke with the Daily Herald about his stand-up comedy show, coming to Waukegan's Genesee Theatre on Thursday, March 23. Miller also spoke about his "The Spin Stops Here Tour 2017" with Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly and Jesse Watters, his thoughts on President Donald Trump and his own comedy heroes.
Q. Your upcoming show at the Genesee is purely your own stand-up comedy. Will you be talking about politics, as you do with Bill O'Reilly on "The Spin Stops Here Tour?"
A. Bill and I will be doing a show in Omaha the night after the Genesee show. But when I am with Bill, you work under his tent. So I like to go out and do a long-form comedy show. I want people who are mulling over whether to come to the (Genesee) show or not to know that my prime directive is to have them walk out of the theater with their stomachs hurting from laughter. I will talk about topical things -- the foibles of the day, the frustrations of the digital age. And some politics. I have people on both sides of the aisle who bug me.
Q. You and Bill O'Reilly seem to have a good rapport on TV. Are you great friends?
A. Listen, Bill lives in New York, and I live in California. Our lives are in different places. On TV, we are usually on a split screen. So we are good split-screen buddies. But we are both history buffs. And I admire what Bill does for charity -- the immense amount that Bill does for charity.
Q. What is funny in the world today?
A. Nancy Pelosi. She always looks like she is watching the docking of the Hindenburg. That stunned look she always has. Also, how important technology is. I often think it's sad that this generation's Apollo moon project will be Twitter. Someday you will go to the Museum of Natural History, and all of the skeletons there will have bent-forward necks and long arms from taking selfies.
Q. Do you consider yourself to be a Republican? I have heard you say that you are liberal on some issues.
A. I am fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I think that giving away more than 50 percent of your money, which I do, seems unfair, and I don't trust radicalism. Yet, if two people with the same type of genitals want to get married, then I couldn't be happier for them.
Q. You don't seem to be a fan of Hillary Clinton.
A. I didn't like it when she said she 'lost' 30,000 emails -- and they were all about yoga and wedding plans. Some people look at her and see an honest woman. I look at her and see a dishonest woman.
Q. How do you think President Trump is doing so far?
A. Well, I don't think Donald Trump is Hitler, as you hear some people say. Hitler is Hitler. I always give somebody six months before I start making judgments. I did that with Barack Obama -- I didn't vote for him, but I thought, 'Good luck, buddy.'
Q. As a youngster, your comedy heroes were Tim Conway and Jonathan Winters?
A. They were funny men. I used to watch Jonathan with that 'look' on his face, or see Tim Conway on "McHale's Navy." I got to know Jonathan when I lived in Santa Barbara. We used to have breakfast together. You would start having breakfast with Jonathan, and you would end up having breakfast with 14 people, because of all of his characters. He would go through all of his voices.
Q. Did you want to be a comedian as a child?
A. I think it was when I was in the 10th grade. I was small, not good at sports -- and regular looking, Not particularly handsome. I was having trouble making a 'dent.' At that time, it was important to fit in. And I was not fitting in. I remember that I made this football player laugh in a study hall. And it was like Pavlov's dog.
Q. You have two sons in their 20s. Are you a funny dad or a serious dad?
A. I am all of those things at one time. You try to be friendly, and at times you try to be stern. I don't think you can ever turn into their pal. Whatever I did, it worked. I love my boys. I have fun with them, and I think they also know that I expect certain things of them.
Q. What would be a wild dream come true for Dennis Miller?
A. I'd like to live in Rome for a year. I did spend two weeks in Antarctica, and I went to the Himalayas. But living in Rome for a year ... that's good enough for me.