Dennis Miller HBO Specials

Dennis Miller HBO Specials
For fans of the intellectually sarcastic stand up comedy of Dennis Miller, a three-disc DVD set of his successful HBO specials is now available. It's a comprehensive compilation of material from his early SNL days to his political talk show days. It's largely no frills packaging, delivered to us not by HBO but by Standing Room Only Entertainment, featuring low rent, pixelated DVD menu graphics and an outdated, uber-thick DVD case; it's a pathetic, unpolished undertaking that could make for a funny bit in Miller's routine. Glossiness of the packaging aside, it makes a great one-stop for fans to rediscover one of the great Seinfeld-era pop culture humorists at his best. The set includes seven one-hour specials: Mr. Miller Goes to Washington (1988), Black and White (1990), They Shoot HBO Specials, Don't They? (1994), Citizen Arcane (1996), The Millennium Special (1999), The Raw Feed (2003) and All In (2006), all of which summarize virtually all the ridiculous pop culture and political happenings from George Bush I to II. The 1988 special is probably his best, showcasing Miller at his most cantankerous. His frustration with the International House of Pancakes provides one of the best bits in his arsenal, one that many years later still generates substantial laughs. Of course there's some overplayed jokes about Southern hicks, Kmart, Hare Krishnas, first-class seats, old drivers and even Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, which severely dates the material, but taken in context is a great time capsule of the era. Eighteen years of material is a lot take in, as Miller is best experienced in small doses. It's interesting to see how his politics have changed since the all-around political anarchist stance of his youth to the staunch right wing conservative attitude in his older age. In All In (2006), for most non-Blue Staters, his pro-Iraqi War and anti-environmentalism rants are some of his most controversial and prickly bits. But I think even liberalists will find it difficult to hold a straight face when Miller discusses the trustworthiness of global-warming statistics from the turn of the century: "Hey, Ezekiel, put the candlewick down the gopher hole, let's lay down an empirical baseline for future generations." As his politics have changed, his delivery style has remained remarkably consistent. The fun of Miller's material is his momentum gaining rants, dropping the most obscure references to aid in his ridicule. Though half the references still go way over my head, it doesn't matter. I may have no idea who Larry Storch from F-troop is but I trust Miller's right on the money. (Standing Room Only)