DENNIS MILLER SHOW: REVIEW

I just watched as much of the debut of Dennis Miller’s CNBC show as I could bear. It was, to be kind, not very good. Maybe this was opening day jitters and the show will hit a groove after a few episodes. If it doesn’t get better, though, the execs at the network will rue the day they cancelled Alan Keyes.

The point of starting off what purports to be a serious talk show with a monkey sidekick escaped me. Not only did it set a bizarre tone, it wasn’t even funny. A bad combo.

I thought scheduling Arnold Schwarzenegger as the guest was a master stroke. Until I heard the interview. Man, that was awful. For one thing, even though California is easily the most populous state, very few of us are interested in a 20 minute chat on local politics, especially when it basically consists of Schwarzenegger repeating campaign mantras over and over and using the phrase “the last five years” as often as possible. Bor-ring.

The “snarky comments on the news” segment wasn’t very good, but it was fairly hit and miss on the HBO show, too. The opener about how they didn’t have a studio audience because the reactions of a bunch of tourists who’d just finished looking at chalk outlines of Sal Mineo was rather clever.

I’m not sure what the spiel about things he’d like to do with the show at some point in the future was. Save that for the production meetings. And, frankly, I don’t care whether Fox owes you $12,000.

The “Varsity Panel” of David Horowitz, Naomi Wolf, and David Frum was somewhat interesting. They’re all bright folks. But listening to Wolf trying to debate the others on weapons of mass destruction was painful.

FILED UNDER: Media
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Mark Hasty says:

    I was kind of disappointed also. It was actually painful to watch. I wonder, though, if Dennis wasn’t under the weather? He seemed very much not himself.

  2. James Joyner says:

    It reminded me a lot of his first few times on Monday Night Football. Too forced. Too self-conscious.

  3. Al Barger says:

    Actually, I was pretty pleased with the show. I think it was a reasonably serious discussion, with some humor mixed in. I was actually especially pleased with the chimp.

    FULL RANT HERE

  4. Paul says:

    It was not a strong debut. I think he needs an audience to work his magic. The highlight for me was when he described the California/Mexico border situation. “After dark, if you’re wearing night vision goggles it looks like the start of the Boston Marathon.”

    To me the show looked stiff…as though he hadn’t decided if it should be deadpan or outright funny. I think he’ll find his sweet spot.

  5. Paul (that other one) says:

    I thought it had good bones… That is to say the format was OK and if he lightens up it has potential.

    But GAWD Naomi Wolf was horrible.

  6. Ricky says:

    Way too stiff on the first night.
    Much better on #2, although Horowitz got a little too heated during the discussion.

    They *really* need a studio audience for a comedian, though.

    The first night got a 0.6, though….probably the biggest audience ever for CNBC.

  7. James Joyner says:

    Heh–I actually skipped last night’s show, having completely forgotten about it. First impressions are powerful. I should set the TiVo to get it for a while to see if it improves.

  8. HH says:

    Show 2 had some technical gaffes and they lost the monkey (for good?). The NY Daily News today is dead on that it needs work but it won’t take much to make it great.

  9. RM says:

    TELL MR FORD,MR KERRY, MR DEAN AND ALL CANDIDATES WHO KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE SOUTH,WHY NOT TRY A NEW APPROACH AND JUST BE YOURSELF??RATHER THAN MAKE FOOLS OF YOURSELVES TRYING TO WOO THE GOOD OLE BOYS WHO “DEER HUNT,DRIVE TRUCKS,ETC.” IF YOU WANT TO WOO THE VOTE,TALK ABOUT WHAT IS REAL,DO NOT BE A BIG PHOTO-OP..BUSH IS MADE FUN OF ALL THE TIME DOWN HERE FOR THOSE PLOYS.AND DO NOT VISIT THE SCHOOLS AND TELL THE TEACHERS WHILE YOU READ THE KIDS A PAGE IN A BOOK: NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ALL THE TIME INTERUPTING THEIR SCRUNCH TIME CRAMMING FOR THE FCATS!

  10. Martin South says:

    Dear Dennis,
    The other evening you expressed a problem with the justification of 500 U.S. Military deaths in Iraq….The justification is the 4,000 or so innocient deaths of 9/11, along with all the many chances Saddam was given to avoid this specific conflict, not to mention the UN resolution that was given as an ultimatum. You are doing great.
    Best wishes….Karla & Martin South

  11. Trevor Mack says:

    Ol’ Den’s been puling in 0.1 ratings since the debut. That was curiosity. The guy’s a washed-out half-a-fag with an “agenda” to revive a career that should’ve been put to sleep after MNF. He cost ABC close to 200 million dollars in lost revenue. Amazing anybody would give the beetweed a job after that.