AUSTIN – As day two of the Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival arrived on April 24, I crossed the threshold of the Paramount Theatre, wondering how exactly a comedian like Dennis Miller would be received by an Austin audience. Well known for his outspoken conservatism and completely esoteric punch lines, Miller could easily have stepped out in front of a theater full of dyed-in-the-wool liberals, hostile to any cracks about Nancy Pelosi’s supposed plastic surgery bill or the floundering roll out of Obamacare.
And yeah, Miller did touch on those subjects –- why wouldn’t he? –- but luckily for him, the ticket holders he drew in were already eager and receptive to such positions. Miller drew a voracious round of applause when praising the leadership of polarizing Texas governor Rick Perry, and spent most of the set’s first half ripping into environmentalists-– jokes that were also met with approving roars of laughter and applause. But for those in the theatre who don’t much enjoy hanging out with Fox and Friends, Miller also touched on a variety of more universally relatable subject matter.
Though it’s hard to believe that Miller anchored Saturday Night Live‘s “Weekend Update” desk almost 30 years ago, at age 60, he’s now able to riff on things like erectile dysfunction drugs and the proverbial “kids these days” with noted expertise. Whether you were a card carrying Tea Partier or a dreadlocked Lone Star enthusiast, it’s likely Miller brought something to your attention that coaxed a chuckle, if not an outright belly laugh. Miller may not be for everyone, but he sure knows how to work a crowd with unapologetic aplomb and seasoned comedy prowess.