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Dennis Miller slams right-wing label

Dennis Miller slams right-wing label
jam.canoe.ca

Dennis Miller has no problem with Canada's decision to stay out of the war in Iraq. "Canada can do what it wants as long as they come see me at Casino Rama."

The acerbic comedian, who rants nightly at 9 p.m. on CNBC, brings his act to Rama this Friday at 9 p.m.

Reached by phone last week in New York, the five-time Emmy winner bristled at suggestions he has sold out to the political right, a perception stemming from his outspoken support of "Operation Iraqi Freedom."

"That's one thing I've noticed about people on the left," said Miller. "They don't really individualize your views and look them over. If you disagree with them on one thing, they call you right wing."

Miller backed the war because "I felt we were in the fight of our lives against al- Qaida," he says.

He insists he's left of centre on everything but the war. "I believe in gay marriage and pro choice -- although I think abortion is wrong, but everybody has a right to choose."

If he is more conservative these days, it's because "I wasn't certain enough of my guess work to be a liberal any more."

How does he feel about Canadians? "I share my bed every night with one," he says, referring to his wife of 18 years, Ali Epsley, originally a Vancouver girl.


Throughout his days behind Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update desk, his nine years on HBO and even those two seasons on Monday Night Football, Miller earned a reputation as someone who shoots from the lip. Fire any topic at him and he's loaded and ready to fire back. For example:

* Should Jon Stewart have gone after Tucker Carlson on Crossfire?

"That Tucker kid can be maddening," says Miller. "I think all men hold a latent fantasy about tearing a guy in a bow tie a new a--hole."

* Was Bill Maher (booted off ABC post-9/11 after anti-American remarks) the victim of a conservative chill? Miller says he took a month off after the attacks, "and just shut up and sat at home and was exhausted, saddened, depressed and shaken up. Bill was out there within a week saying we were the cowards. That's tricky business.

"Maybe he got fired for bad manners," he added. "Do you have to get out there within a week and say we're cowards? Maybe it's a red badge of courage for Bill to get fired. All I know is you do get fired for things in this world and one of them is pissing off your boss."

* Do kids really get their TV news today from cats like Miller, Stewart and Maher?

"I think that stuff's overrated," said Miller. "I think Jon Stewart has a good following because he does a good comedy show.

"All this stuff about kids getting more informed and getting out and voting -- guess what? You can try this for the next 100 years and it's never going to happen."

No matter how many "Rock The Vote" campaigns, "comes the day," says Miller, "and, 'Wow, I'm a little hung over and there's a SpongeBob marathon on.' "

Miller's latest TV series features a steady parade of newsmakers, pundits and intellectuals. Asked who his favourite guest is, Miller singled out Vanity Fair writer Christopher Hitchens. "That's a substantive brain," he said. "I'm a little bit skittish of him because he's so smart."

When it is suggested guests may be equally intimidated by Miller, the comedian scoffs. "I'm kinda faux smart," he says. "I'm smart because I know the Jetsons' robot maid's name. They're smart because they're smart."

What is the Jetsons' robot's name? "Rosie," says Miller. "You're not so smart."
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