The show is barebones. No real opening. Versus just threw it to Dennis standing on a stage. He did a 10 minute monologue. In my opinion, most of it bombed. There were the usual obscure references like one to the Grand Wizard mentioned in a story about the Fabulous Moolah’s death.
But as weak as his headlines were, Miller’s strength is his rant and he went on one against sports owners who rape fans for food, throwback jerseys and ticket prices. His rant which included a bleeped out “fuck” went four minutes.
We only saw Dennis standing on a stage and we heard bits of laughter so we had to assume he’s in front of a live studio audience. Miller’s best line was about the New York Jets saying, “If you want to pay tribute to the Jets, how about the team winning a game once every five weeks?”
He then introduced his first guest, Curt Schilling who was live via satellite from his 38 Studios offices in Maynard, MA. We didn’t discover that Miller is in a studio in Santa Barbara, CA some 16 minutes into the show. The interview was typical Miller, taking the opportunity to give and take with Schilling. This went two quick segments. They talked about his signing of a new contract today and remaining with the Red Sox. And they promoted Curt’s 38 Studios company. It was ok. Curt rolled with the punches. The segment was practically over as soon as it started.
Following a commerical break, Dennis answered some viewer questions including one from hack Jay Leno. This segment also included Dennis’ second bleeped “fuck”. Not a very strong segment as Dennis answered questions on steroids use, the BCS, boxing vs. MMA and a mock question from Leno.
Al Michaels from NBC and Miller’s former partner on Monday Night Football came on and there was more give and take. While Miller did bomb on MNF during his two seasons, you can tell Al genuinely likes Miller and it’s the reason why he agreed to be on the first show. Al is a very good storyteller and a good guest. He was also appearing via the satellite from his home in LA. Michaels said he was playing hurt with a cold and he was wearing a Google baseball cap, sunglasses, a scarf and a jacket. He looked he was in the witness protection program. This led Miller to his best line of the night, “Little do people know Al has been legally blind for all these years.” The two talked NFL and this was definitely the best segment of the night. Even with a cold, Al can banter with the best of them.
Miller’s next guest was sports handicapper Brandon Lang appearing from Las Vegas. He picked winners against the spread on certain NFL games this weekend.
The final segment was called “Photo Finish” where Miller did headlines just like he did back on Saturday Night Live, his old HBO show and syndicated talk show. This was much funnier than the monologue, but there were some bombs as well.
Overall, the show was uneven and choppy. I’m sure it will get better. Versus had better hope so. My grade, C-.