Anyone watching Carson, Letterman, Merv Griffin or any of the talk shows in the late 70’s or 80’s or even into the 90’s saw George’s stuff. You couldn’t help but love him. He was fast, clever, and funny. He was in fact one of Norm McDonald’s inspirations. He was one of Dave Letterman’s best buddies. He and Tom Dreesen, Johnny Witherspoon, and Jeff Altman were all sort of Dave’s circle I guess, and Dave really took to George. They lived together in little tiny cubicles side by side in a building on Sunset blvd across the street from the Comedy Store in the late seventies.
George came down from Seattle and his mother, Helen, ended up being the bookkeeper at the ‘Store’. The first real money I ever made in showbiz was from George. I sold him a j0ke he used on The Tonight Show when I first got to LA and he gave me fifty bucks. It was a crap joke. ‘I went to a real drug oriented high school. ‘High High.’ It was crap but George knew how to sell it, and he got laughs with it on Carson and my parents saw it and it was the first time they thought maybe I had some kind of shot at this thing. They had no idea how high I used to get with George before I got sober, but that’s another story.
He really loved being a stand-up though. He was one of the early guys that only wanted to be a stand-up. Nothing else. Didn’t want to act. Didn’t want to direct, do a talk show, produce, have a sit-com. Just wanted to write jokes, tell jokes, be on talk shows as a guest, get high, have fun, then write and tell more jokes.
FIRST TONIGHT SHOW
THE GEORGE MILLER COLLECTION ON LETTERMAN
George did more Letterman shows than anyone. (Maybe Dressen or Altman or Johnny Dark did more?) Anyway, a fan of his did a series of George Miller collection on Youtube. Here’s the first 2 of 6. Dig into these if you want to see George’s stuff.
I’M DYING UP HERE
Dave took good care of George when he passed. Paid his medical bills, but was a good pal too. There was a wonderful memorial at the Laugh Factory. It was special. We were all there. In fact it’s the opening scene of William Kneodelseder’s book ‘I’m dying up here.’ George was a hell of a guy. He was always really good to me, I miss him a lot.
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