Funnyman’s Football Follies

Is he the new Howard Cosell? Or the same old, arcane reference-spewing, obtuse comedian Dennis Miller? It might be too early to say, but the former “Saturday Night Live” guy made his “Monday Night Football” debut as a gridiron color commentator, er, Monday night, helping broadcaster Al Michaels and former NFL quarterback Dan Fouts call the shots in the pre-season Hall of Fame game.

Today, the reviews are in. How did he do?

“The sports world, as we know it, has imploded,” says Bill Plaschke, a Los Angeles Times sports columnist. “Tradition has been trashed, values have vanished.” But Plaschke says that’s a good thing ultimately. He liked Miller’s references to the pope, his crotch jokes, his jokes about Jack Lord’s hair and mentions of the Sword of Damocles.

“Time flew. The boring became bearable,” is how Plaschke puts it.

In other words, change is good.

Barry Garron, reviewing the broadcast in Daily Variety, wasn’t so appreciative of Miller’s maiden effort. He said Miller and Fouts (who was also making his debut) “found new ways to fumble, jumble and mumble their way through the first game.”

Garron ripped lots of Miller’s one-liners but admitted that “… despite the snafus, there was a refreshing candor about Miller’s comments.”