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Miller Fright

Dennis Miller’s doomed new talk show features a chimp named Ellie.

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“Ellie, the chimp, is with us again,” Miller told his audience one night recently. “Ellie, did you fart?” I may be anthropomorphizing here, but Ellie, with great dignity, looked at Miller as if he had just laid an egg on national television. Ellie was right. He had.

That same evening, Miller held up a copy of the national gay and lesbian magazine The Advocate with Wesley Clark’s picture on the cover. “I know there are a lot of people in the military who’ve always thought he marched to the rear,” Miller said.

Fart jokes? Fag bashing? Such is what passes for humor and/or thoughtful political discussion on Miller’s show, from a man who once won five Emmys and then experienced an epiphany on 9/11 and converted to Limbaugh-style conservatism.

No. Wait. That’s an insult to Limbaugh, whose radio show is sometimes genuinely funny.

It’s not difficult to understand where CNBC is coming from. What do people who play with money all day want to watch at night? Perhaps a conservative comic could help pass the time until the Tokyo markets open. So CNBC’s suits sought out Miller to fill an hour, five nights a week, from 9 to 10.

But Miller comes off as so desperate to make his conservative bones, so eager to fawn over any idea from the right, so hungry for approval from his new friends, that it’s positively painful to watch.

But if you do want to watch, make it quick. “Dennis Miller” has failure written all over it. Because viewers don’t have to sacrifice a limb to escape. All we have to do is punch a button on the remote. S

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