If you've seen "Pretty Woman," "10 Things I Hate About You," any of Christopher Guest's mock-umentary films, or a particularly memorable episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" that took place in a Palestinian chicken eatery, then you've seen Larry Miller.
An accomplished actor and genuinely hilarious comedian, Miller made his Lincoln debut at the Lied Center for Performing Arts on Saturday evening with his one-man show, "Cocktails with Larry Miller."
Set in a cozy sitting room complete with a grand piano and well-stocked bar, the hour-and-a-half show began with a toast, as is custom before any friendly conversation over mixed drinks: "Here's to marriage, children, and drinking, and how any one of them always leads to the other two."
One part classy, two parts authentically entertaining. And one is never enough!
To say that Miller has a way with his audience might be an understatement. His quick-witted and amiable approach to comedy settled in quite nicely at the Lied. Act one amounted to a good-natured indictment against our century. Other topical highlights included the central conflict of any marriage (the way dishes are arranged in the dishwasher) and how our best defense against terrorism may be upset Little League baseball moms. The second act began with a skit in which Moses negotiates with the Almighty over the fine print of the Eighth Commandment, before discussing how marriage is like the Terminator's grinning, red-eyed endoskeleton. Tough, undying and somehow still intact.
In the end, life is hard, and the thought of having to spend any or all of it with another person is a mixed blessing at best and unbearable at worst. Miller, like the best comics of his generation, uses humor and alcohol to smooth out the rough edges, and he does so in a way that, like a good cocktail, warms you right up.