Happy hour

Interview with Larry Miller, May 2011

Larry Miller, the man of a thousand appearances, to play the Victoria


The comedian at work in his one-man show, Cocktails With Larry Miller

By Masada Siegel, Special To The Dayton Jewish Observer

You’ve seen his face but may not know his name. Larry Miller has appeared in more than 50 films and hundreds of television shows. One of the more memorable moments in his career was his role in Pretty Woman with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.

He’s had roles in The Princess Diaries and The Nutty Professor, is a regular in Christopher Guest’s pseudo-documentaries such as Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind and For Your Consideration, is a frequent guest on late-night TV and was in the cast of ABC’s 10 Things I Hate About You.

These days, he’s touring America with his one-man comedy show, Cocktails with Larry Miller: Little League, Adultery and Other Bad Ideas.

Based on his bestselling book, Spoiled Rotten America, Cocktails will play the Victoria Theatre as part of its Variety Series, on May 7.

Miller says he loved show business even as a young child, and was riveted by old movies, sitcoms and books.

“Looking back, it was all formative,” he says. “I soaked it all in. The best break I ever had was the decision, the stumbling instinct to begin to go on stages, to do it. I wasn’t any good, but I did it. Do you know how many people at 30, 40, 50 years old wish they did something and followed their passions?”

Miller is an arts advocate; he encourages nascent performers to follow their dreams.

“I am a big banner waver for show business,” he says. “Anyone can make a good living in this business. They might not be Brad and Angelina, they might not be a star, but there are so many avenues to pursue from being an agent, to working in theatre or magazines.”

When his friends come to him and tell him their kids want to be in show business, it makes him smile, he says.

“They often wonder what to do,” Miller adds. “My response is, there is nothing to do. Do you want your kid to work somewhere they don’t want to, and hate their job?”

But he tries to keep it in perspective. “Showbiz is not easy. I get rejected all the time, but so does pretty much everyone. I was just up for a part in a film, and in the waiting room are the likes of John Silverman, Richard Lewis, Dave Foley, and I was thinking, are you kidding me? You have to laugh in this business and know you are not going to get everything you want.”

A storyteller by nature, Miller shares how he believes Judaism plays an integral role in his profession.

“I was at the Aspen Comedy Festival and one of the questions posed was, ‘Why have there been so many Jewish comedians over the last 100 years?’ Many people responded (that) it was a way to deal with oppression through humor. But I believe with all my heart that Judaism is a word-oriented culture. It’s all about the words, sentences, inflections. It is so deeply ingrained in our people, it’s perfect. It’s even in the concept of the Torah, how important each and every word is.”

The Victoria Theatre Association will present Cocktails With Larry Miller on Saturday, May 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Victoria Theatre. Tickets are available at 228-3630 or www.ticketcenterstage.com.

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