Larry Miller is not a liar. Well, okay, technically he is… if you consider acting a form of lying. In fact, over the past two decades, the veteran actor/comedian has built himself quite a career playing make-believe, both on TV (‘10 Things I Hate About You,’ ‘Boston Legal‘) and in film (‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,’ ‘A Mighty Wind‘).
Now he’s landed a new role, as the host of GSN’s new game show ‘Late Night Liars’ (debuting tonight at 11pm), an oddball twist on ‘Match Game‘ and ‘To Tell the Truth‘ featuring a panel of foul-mouthed puppets. It’s up to contestants to tell whether the panel’s “celebrity” members, including ditzy poodle Cashmere Ramada and billionaire chimp Sir Sebastian Simian, are lying or not. We caught up with Larry and hooked him up to a lie detector (not seriously) to get the scoop on his latest venture.
Alright, be honest: You saw all the success Jeff Dunham was having with puppets, and said to yourself, “I want some of that action.”
[Laughs] It’s funny, my kids watch him; they love his specials. But you know, to me, there are only two kinds of comedy: funny, and not funny. And this feels funny to me. So we’ll see what happens with it.
Explain a bit about how the show works.
Well, the puppets tell stories, and within those stories, they give a fact. And contestants have to listen and figure out whether they’re lying or not. And you know, these puppets are so expressive; the concept of them being puppets vanishes instantly. I forget about it, the contestants forget about it, and we just all have a great time. And it really evokes a certain time with those old game shows. As a kid, I used to watch shows like ‘Match Game.’ And they were great, because everyone on the panel was friends, they all had fun. And—even as a kid, I thought this—it seemed like they were all drunk, too. [Laughs] But it’s just evoking that feeling of friendship, of a real fun time.
Speaking of a fun time: The puppets on the panel do a lot of drinking. Will you be drinking to keep up with them?
Oh yeah, absolutely. The contestants get Champagne, too. It may not be the kind James Bond drinks, but it’s real. So yeah, we’re all having a good time.
Did you try to emulate any of those classic game show hosts?
To me, when they’re good, they’re fun. You know, of course, Gene Rayburn, from ‘Match Game,’ with his unique and preposterous microphone. That thing seemed like a magic wand. And going back further, Bill Cullen, Monty Hall from ‘Let’s Make a Deal,‘ and now Pat Sajak… these guys just make it fun, and that comes through to the audience.
You’ve been around this town a while: Who’s the best liar in Hollywood?
Such a horrifying and difficult question… just because there are so many. I mean, there are people who would vie for that title! “I would outlie him!” You could line up the last 19 presidents, with everything we know about them, and they’d take a look at the amount of lying that goes on in Hollywood, and say, “I can’t do that.”
Okay, then who’s the worst?
See, there are no bad liars in Hollywood, in the sense of unskilled, because they just wouldn’t last long. That’s why in show business, if you can’t lie, you hire people to lie for you.
See Larry Miller’s voice acting skills in ‘Bee Movie’: