American stand-up comic, talk show host, commentator, and actor Dennis Miller first rose to national attention as a cast member of Saturday Night Live in the mid-'80s.
A native of Pittsburgh, Miller began hosting a Saturday afternoon news magazine on local station KDKA-TV called Punch Line, which was aimed at teenagers. He began performing stand-up shortly afterward, rising in the ranks of the club circuits on both coasts before being discovered by Lorne Michaels at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles. In 1985, he succeeded outgoing anchor Christopher Guest on SNL's popular Weekend Update segment, quickly winning over fans with his smirky, deadpan delivery and biting political satire. During his tenure on the show, Miller recorded his debut comedy LP, The Off-White Album, as well as several HBO specials. In 1992, a year after his departure from SNL, he launched the short-lived Dennis Miller Show on NBC, a late-night talk show that was followed two years later by the more successful Dennis Miller Live on HBO. Finding his niche on cable, the more scaled-down Dennis Miller Live only featured one guest per half-hour program and, during its eight-year run, netted its host and staff five Emmy Awards. Miller joined ABC's Monday Night Football in 2000, bringing his own offbeat brand of color commentary to the sports world. Over the next decade, Miller would try his hand at a number of ventures, from hosting another commentary show on CNBC and appearing in commercials for M&M candies, to hosting two games shows and, in 2007, launching his long-running talk radio show for Westwood One, The Dennis Miller Show (not to be confused with his previous TV show of the same name). In addition to his hosting work, Miller has appeared in numerous films, written several books, and continues to occasionally perform stand-up. Politically, Miller began his career as an outspoken liberal, though his views shifted toward neo-conservatism in the 2000s and he is a regular commentator on Fox's political talk show The O'Reilly Factor. ~ Timothy Monger