Dennis Miller on Wanda Sykes' Controversial Jokes at White House Dinner

Published May 13, 2009

| FoxNews.com

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 12, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Miller Time" segment tonight, one day early because our guy Miller is traveling to Guantanamo Bay to entertain the troops there, so before he leaves, he wants to weigh in on the Correspondents' Dinner. Here now from L.A., the patriotic Dennis Miller.

Way to go, Miller. You know, it's a longer flight down there to Guantanamo because you've got to go around. The Cubans will shoot you out of the sky. You've got to take the back way in. But I'm happy you're going down there to give those guys and gals some entertainment because it is an isolated place.

Click here to watch Miller Time!

DENNIS MILLER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, Billy, I'm going to try to get into Havana and go to a new car dealership and pick up a '49 Packard.

O'REILLY: And they'll be having tea with the Fidel beard and everything. Get a little hat, and you and Fidel can skip around.

MILLER: You know, they're men of honor. I wanted to be able to say I went to Gitmo, because I believe they do an honorable thing there. And all these stories that Ramzi al-Kaboom says about the Koran in the toilet. I don't buy it. I just don't buy it. I believe our boys. I don't believe those guys. I remember a time...

O'REILLY: You got any Muslim material you can drop on them out there?

MILLER: I was thinking of going over to the internees' headquarters and doing Rickles' act, just tear into them.

O'REILLY: Hey, nice turban, Abdul.

MILLER: I've got to tell you…

O'REILLY: Will you take that — Miller, that will be great. All right. White House Correspondents' Dinner. My man Miller here actually emceed an event for Bush the elder, and you were pretty tame. I mean, you didn't go after anybody, did you?

MILLER: Oh, I was scared witless. I mean, you know, I was just a kid trying to make it, and it was Bush 41. I thought Wanda Sykes was kind of funny, for a girl. That's a joke, Wanda. You know it. That's all she's doing today is explaining that. It was a joke. And the way I look at Wanda Sykes, man, I thought he was going to bring Reverend Wright in. So Wanda Sykes seems — that seems like a respite from the sturm und drang. I thought he might do Jeremiah down to do the gig. I thought Wanda was probably eager to please. I mean, you're a black comedienne, and you've got a black president. I mean, can you imagine how much she needed to make him approve of her? So he went for it, and it looks like it worked. He was laughing his butt off, especially at the — you know, the...

O'REILLY: It all went south. Taken from somebody who was there in the front row, and I was. It all went south in the last 10 minutes. The first 15 minutes were fine. But then she got mean. And here's my question to you. The remarks about Limbaugh, about Sarah Palin, Cheney to some extent — that wasn't over the top — were mean. And then they flashed to Obama laughing at the meanness. I don't think that does him any good there, Dennis.

MILLER: Well, listen. Cheney thrives on that stuff. It's like Dennis Hopper with the mask in "Blue Velvet." He just eats that stuff up. But I would say this. I don't think she was a pro that night. You know, a comedian's judged by somebody whether they're a pro or a non-pro. I don't know how funny or funny it wasn't. But I do know it wasn't pro, because at some point you get hired, and she didn't fill the requisite out for what they needed. They needed it to be edgy but to not make it feel weird.

O'REILLY: Right.

MILLER: She obviously made it feel weird. So I'm just talking as a professional comedian. I would say she didn't come up to the mandate. And you know what? I think she could care less about the mandate. She wanted to make Barack Obama laugh. And when she went for the Limbaugh's kidney failures, you know, she killed it, knocked it out of the park. So I'm sure she's happy about it.

Listen, it would be, you know — it's, you know it's not everybody's thing. But if Limbaugh does get renal failure, I hope it doesn't happen under Barack Obama's national health line — healthcare thing. Because they don't pay attention to that. It's always stuff like chronic fatigue syndrome or I don't have enough diversity training. You know, but renal failure I don't even know if that's covered under the universal plan.

O'REILLY: Now, when you did your gig for Bush the elder, did they tell you what you could and couldn't say? Did they go over your script? Did they scrutinize you?

MILLER: Yes, Bush did. Bush 41 grabbed me. He said, "I don't want any f-bombs. My wife is here."

O'REILLY: Really?

MILLER: Yes. It was cool. I liked Bush 41. You know, I think he missed the point on a couple things. I wish he'd went up that road and croaked that tote over that. But he was just a straightforward guy: "My wife is here, I don't want any f-bombs." He was pretty cool about it. So at the end I remember leaning in to him, saying, "Was that OK, Mr. President?" He said, "Yes, it was. It was OK." And I felt good. If I'd walked out of that room and felt like I let him down I would have felt really bad.

I think Wanda understood there was no way she could let Obama down. I don't think he rides like Bush. You know, he's a little more — give you a little more space. None of it really matters to him. When she said, "I hope his kidneys fail" — when she said, "I hope his kidneys fail," it's like easy to wish for the outlandish like that, because it's probably not going to happen. She could hope that Limbaugh's kidneys fail. I could hope that she would have been a little wittier and pithier that night. Neither one of us were close to having that happen.

O'REILLY: No, but again, it hurts Barack Obama to be seen as accepting that kind of stuff. And it does. It does. Even for people…

MILLER: Who does it hurt? Do you think he cares?

O'REILLY: I think — I think it hurt him. I do. I think the last...

MILLER: I think he could care less, Bill. He is so front-running right now. They're so in the bag for him. He feels bulletproof. I don't think he thinks twice.

O'REILLY: There's such a thing as dignity, and that's what I think the line was there.

Now, your pal Donald Trump said that Miss California is OK. She's allowed to proceed as runner-up. And you say?

MILLER: Trump had to do something. I thought he was — he thought this was all going to comb over. And when it didn't, he had to protect the brand. You know, he had to dive on the commerce grenade. So I understand what he's doing here. But listen, it was his fault from the get-go. I don't know why he has this Concepcion Ramada (ph) — what's that? I knew his name was a guy who played infield for Sparky Anderson's…

O'REILLY: Perez. Right.

MILLER: I had it mistaken. It's Perez Hilton, not Conception Ramada. But I'm happy for Miss USA or Miss California, whatever she is. How many people get summoned to testify for their God like that? I mean, she must — she must be happy. She got to stand up. How good would that make you feel about yourself?

And as far as provocative photos go from your youth. Billy, I remember when I first met you, you were 19 years old. We were in an auto show in Teaneck, New Jersey. You were standing there next to a revolving Z-28 in a pool board, Drew Merriwhether (ph) cat suit. And I look back on it, it doesn't seem provocative. Nostalgic for those times when you were an automobile model.

O'REILLY: Hey, Miller, give me one favor. Say hello to Khalid Sheik Mohammed for me out of Gitmo.

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