When Dennis Miller steps onstage Friday at Bass Hall, he's going to want to talk politics.
"We're at a junction election," the comedian and radio show host says. "We're at a pivotal point in American history. Which direction will this country be heading?
"It's hard to be sure, quite frankly. It seems like a 50-50 split."
Miller's audience at Bass Hall, however, probably will be conservative by a landslide.
That's the side that Miller, the former Saturday Night Live "Weekend Update" anchor, has aligned himself with during the past decade.
Still, his main agenda, Miller insists, will be to make people laugh.
"I try to keep half of the act fun," he says. "I don't want to hector people for an hour about my belief system. I want them to walk out saying, 'My god, my stomach hurts from laughing so much!'"
We chatted with Miller last week about his comedy and his views.
Were you always political with your comedy?
Not until I got Saturday Night Live. Before I became the 'Weekend Update' anchor, no, I didn't do much political stuff at all. But that job dictates that you do stuff that's topical -- and part of topical is politics. That's what I became known for to some degree. So I just keep pulling on that thread.
That said, if it serviced my career, I would do nothing but jokes about airline travel and hotel room-service food. If you told me, 'You know where the big laughs are today? Airline material,' trust me, I'd be there in a second. But that's not the expectation anymore. That's not where my bread is buttered.
What are some of the things on your mind that you'll want to discuss while you're here?
Where does this country go from here? That's why this election is so important. Do we want to live in Competencyville? Or do we want to become soft and a little European? Sure, I want to help the helpless, but I think we're at a time in history where we don't have the cash to help the clueless.
What if the election doesn't go your way?
I'm not going anywhere. It's still the greatest country in the world.
Is most of your act locked in from show to show, or do you change it up depending on what's happening in the news on the day of the show?
I've got a baseline act. You can't just hatch it all the day of the show. But obviously between now and the day of the show, things will happen in the news and I'll write jokes about them.
You've been doing live shows on the road with Bill O'Reilly. Any chance he'll be a surprise guest in Fort Worth, that he'll grab a guitar and start jamming with you onstage for a while?
I make no promises. But I'm telling you, when we go out together, the people love him. He's a superstar. He's a rock god. It's like I'm going out on the road with Rick Springfield.
When you step onstage, should the audience expect to hear some of Everybody Wants To Rule the World, your theme song during the years you hosted a talk show on HBO?
Do you know what that song cost me? Let me add it up. I did 200 episodes during eight seasons over a span of 10 years. I think the rights to that song cost me $4,000 a week. That means I kept Tears for Fears fed and clothed to the tune of about $100k a year.
What is it about stand-up that still appeals to you and keeps you doing it?
It's hard. I dig that action. When you pull it off, there's no feeling quite like it. That's why I do it. I talked to Jerry Seinfeld about it. He said, 'Yeah, the sitcom made me rich, but stand-up is my real job.' It's the same with me. I can do a lot of things. But stand-up is what I really do.