When you share a bill with Gwenyth Paltrow on Conan O'Brien's step-down-but-still-in-the-game TBS vehicle, you know you've sort of made it. Such was the case last night for T.J. Miller, the latest in an increasingly long line of semi-stars to come out of Denver's East High School that also includes Don Cheadle and Adam Cayton-Holland, who went on from Westword fame to make promotional joke videos for a bar-trivia company. At any rate, Miller made good for the home town, starting out a little rough but pretty much killing it toward the end.
Initially, Miller's style seemed to come off a little too understated for the crowd, which gave his bits about making eye contact with a woman while throwing up in the street and his somewhat generic effete construction worker a tepid reception, but the audience warmed up for his excellent story about his devious plan to get a goofy license photo at the DMV (the face he makes is priceless). His chat with Conan, though, was when he really got to show his talent, riffing off-the-cuff about his freakishly extensive knowledge of giraffes in his trademark deadpan.
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The reason he was on Conan's show is his turn as Ranger Jones in the upcoming adaptation of Hanna-Barbera's hoary Yogi Bear franchise, secondary roles in middling-to-awful films (She's Out of my League, anyone?) being sort of a career trend for Miller. You gotta take work where you can get it, though, and if things keep going like they're going, perhaps Miller will start getting some better parts tossed his way. Because if Seth Rogen can play a superhero, we're guessing anyone can.