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Miller’s Crossing

Seinfeld cohort resurrects his true talents in rare stand-up appearances passing through New York

Veteran comedian Larry Miller, whose second career as an actor has placed him in 50 movies and countless TV shows, showed where his true talents lie in a rare stand-up appearance at Comix on November 13.

Miller riffed masterfully on the spoiled nature of American society, reflecting the observational style of his colleague Jerry Seinfeld, with whom he started out in comedy. “Two words,” Miller remarked. “Puffs Plus. People are trying to live off twigs and roots in other parts of the world, and we’re [saying] … ‘Kleenex is just too rough for me. I need the aloe and shea butter’ -- whatever that is.”

From various riffs like this on the softness of Americans, Miller segued imperceptibly into a take on marriage. “It’s not the senior citizen couple holding hands in the commercial as they enjoy their new beach house,” he says. “It’s tough. There’s deep anger. It goes back. … She’ll think, ‘If I have to watch him eat cereal one more time out of that stupid Mets bowl, I’ll …” And a sentiment like that is so memorable and funny at the same time, it will have you doubled over laughing. Repeatedly, minutes after it’s been said.

Like Bill Cosby [see review 4/6/09], the bulk of Miller’s set was all relatively new, and even coming from a similar post-middle aged perspective, but capped with one classic bit at its end, harkening back to their younger years in comedy. For Cosby, it was the “Dentist” routine; for Miller, it’s his story of the “five stages of drunkenness” as a night goes on.

Based in L.A. for many years, and much more visible in television and movies than on stage, Miller doesn’t turn up on the stand-up circuit that much, but when he does, he reminds you of just how good he is at it.

Larry Miller closes his three-night run at Comix on November 14.




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