Dennis Miller: Q&A
A conversation (get out your almanac) with the comic and former Monday Night Football analyst
Posted: Friday November 9, 2007 2:43PM; Updated: Friday November 9, 2007 2:43PM
Last week SI writer Richard Deitsch interviewed Dennis Miller for the magazine's Q&A. The comic and former Monday Night Football analyst has a new sports show, Sports Unfiltered with Dennis Miller, which airs Tuesdays on Versus. Here are additional excerpts from their conversation:
SI.com: How are you, Dennis?
Miller: Just a young kid with a dream. What's up with you?
SI.com: Any plans to drop a Boutros Boutros-Ghali reference in one of your opening shows?
Miller: No more than I will bring up Choo-Choo Coleman if we are in the repetitive name business. Listen, when I did football I remember telling them: Guys, I got one monkey trick. I'm not going to be able to change it. I told the same thing to Versus. It's the coin of my realm. I do the weird references. It's my one trick. So you might see a Boutros Boutros-Gainey, the hard-charging defensive specialist for Les Habitants.
SI.com: In an interview last year you said you would not watch Tony Kornheiser until 10 games into his first season. But that didn't hold up, right?
Miller: Yeah, I cheated. I like Tony but he's in the same place as me and he better get used to it. Half the people are going to like him and half the people will hate him. It's a weird task. I was surprised Joe Theismann got thrown under the bus because after a decade or so, I had grown fond of Theismann. At first he used to drive me crazy but I would tell myself: Anyone who throws for 560 in a game at Notre Dame, you have to respect. But then I got to know him a little and I thought his on-air stuff got better. Obviously, it came down to a him or Tony thing and I don't quite know what the machinations were, but believe me, I sniffed around. That story is on deep background. But I like Jaws [Ron Jaworski]. He's a nuts-and-bolts guy and maybe their demo studies told them they needed to go for a proletariat working-class hero. Nobody can break a play down with a laser pointer like Jaws. So I enjoy it, but I'm hoping Tony is a big boy. At the beginning, I thought he had screwed the pooch a little when he reacted to the criticism but he seems to have gotten better. A lot of people will like you. A lot of people will dislike you. You should be happy just to show up until they tell you it's not your time to show up anymore. That would be my advice to anybody who does it.
SI.com: Are you glad you did a stint on Monday Night Football?
Miller: Of course. I was a sports nerd and in the sanctum sanctorum. We did two years, and I was picked up for a third. But when John Madden left Fox, I called [Dan] Foutsie that morning and said, "Man, we are whacked. The Big Dog is loose on the tundra, and he wants to feed. I know he doesn't want to sit in the Dakotas for the rest of his life and f------ read." I said I bet you and I get whacked. Within four hours Foutsie called and said, "I just took it." I said, "Me too, my friend." Madden is the best guy who ever did that job. Al Michaels is the best play-by-play guy. When you've got a chance to put them together and you are looking at a standup comedian who is in the way guess what? You get whacked. Hey, I'm a big boy. I'm like G. Gordon Liddy. When it's time to take me out, just tell me what corner you want me on. I don't want innocents getting hit in the crossfire.
SI.com: Are you contractually obligated to say nice things about hockey now that you're on Versus?
Miller: Nah, I dig hockey. I grew up in Pittsburgh. I can't say that I'm as much as an aficionado, but I go way back. I'm back there with Leo Boivin and Andy Bathgate and I remember the Gumper playing without a mask. I always thought Worsley could afford to play without a mask because a puck to the face could only help the profile.
SI.com: Your first guest was Curt Schilling. Will politics be a part of your show?
Miller: No. What's that great quote in Lawrence of Arabia? "When in Feisal's tent, do as Feisal does." I'm in the sports tent here. I get a headache from politics. I like sports because it's a fact there is resolution on a daily basis and it doesn't involve the loss of life.
SI.com: What's the format?
Miller: I'm essentially trying to recreate my HBO show in sports mode. Going to do some big screen. Going to do a mono up front, a little bit of a rant, do a couple of interviews.
SI.com: Who would you like to have as a guest?
Miller: I like Bill Belichick. I think Belichick getting caught using the IMAX cameraman David Breashears from the Everest climb is what's going to lead them to a 19--0 record this year. It's tough to get it up every week, but now that they realize their entire legacy is being questioned, they will go out and say, "We're going to destroy everybody and go 19-0, and nobody will have any reasons ever to question those Super Bowls."