Dennis Miller has developed an interesting persona–the hip reactionary. It seems to have worked for him, as his resume is varied and undoubtedly remunerative. Sometimes I do wonder if he wonders whether working with/for Bill O’Reilly (for example) is, at some level, embarrassing.
His act, which I guess now is not an act, seems to depend on his being the smartest, glibbest person in the room, the guy who unloads a barge of allusions, is never caught off balance but keeps other people off balance.
It was interesting, then, to run across this video of Dennis Miller’s hosting of Don Rickles, who seems to intimidate Miller, throw him off balance, and expose some insecurities–all by subtly implying “who do you think you are”? Beneath the banter, a lot of rhetorical jousting seems to be occurring: