One of our country’s most astute political humorists is back with the season premiere of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. It did not disappoint. Well, Bill didn’t.
Surprisingly, Chris Rock couldn’t find anything more interesting to comment on other than the price of gas, which, after the umpteenth swipe at the same joke, left me wanting to down a bottle of Tylenol PM mixed with Nyquil. Along with Rock was Kellyanne Conway, an Ann Coulter light, GOP political consultant who, despite awe-inspiring credentials, justified all the blond jokes once she opened her mouth and the loony-tune nonsense spewed out. Giving a semblance of reason, at least, was Asa Hutchinson, formerly of the Department of Homeland Security and soon-to-be contender for governor of Arkansas.
By the way, why is it okay for Chris Rock and African-Americans in general to use the “N” word but it’s racism if whites use it? It made me uncomfortable even hearing Rock use the word. If it’s bad, it’s bad. For everybody. Don’t confuse the issue with double standards. That’s part of the problem of racism to begin with. I digress. Back to Bill.
True to his form, Bill Maher was saucy, snide, smarmy and smart. While he wears his opinions on his sleeve like stripes on a zebra, Maher seemed a bit less contentious for the sake of being contentious. He was just as dogged in his views but with a somewhat less eviscerating response to opposing viewpoints. Rather than take away from his clever repartee (it didn’t), the tone instead made him all the more interesting to listen to.
While veering to the political left, Maher is an equal opportunity offender. If he or she or it, regardless of positioning, reeks of moral inferiority or political ineptitude, he’ll attack the weakness in the argument. Still, it does seem a bit ironic that someone with an elitist attitude shoots bow of verbal venom at the elite … media, political, whoever fits the gilded shoe. But if those in glass houses don’t throw stones, how will we know if the glass is breakable?
Maher ends the show with his now famous "New Rules" – irreverent musings about serious issues that can’t help but make you think twice about all the hypocrisies and incongruities of politics and its politicos, while leaving you with a smarmy smile of your own.
New Rule: Angelina Jolie has to put the little Asian kid down. Is it a child or just something to hide a tattoo? You know, Paris Hilton loves her little rat dog, but once in a while even she just shoves it in her purse.
Maher takes his acerbic wit to the written page in a just released book with the oxymoron title – New Rules: Polite Musings from a Timid Observer. Here he continues to challenge political correctness with insightful, witty rants on world issues and the people who effect them. For example:
Rules are important — we all need them. They provide structure and help us to know where we stand with others. That’s why I’m constantly fighting with my neighbors — no rules. Okay, and because the makeup sex is fantastic. When we disregard the rules altogether we get anarchy or, worse yet, Enron.
If you don’t want the world to think your religion is medieval, stop beheading people. Texans are bloodthirsty and dim, and even they learned to use an electric chair. Come on, Islam. Join the nineteenth century.
How come we have cars with global positioning systems, satellite radio, and voice activated Web access, and we still power them with the black goop you have to suck out of the ground? Hate to tell you this, folks, but gas doesn't cost too much, it costs too little.
Former drug addicts and alcoholics have to stop saying, “I almost died.” No. Cancer survivors almost died. You almost had too good a time.
Osama Bin Laden
The president must stop saying that Osama Bin Laden “can run but he can’t hide.” Boy, can he hide. We can’t find him with cruise missiles, satellites, or million-dollar bribes – although, oddly enough, he is reachable through Classmates.com.
Ladies, leave your eyebrows alone. Here’s how much men care about your eyebrows: Do you have two of them? Okay, we’re done.
Even if you disagree and hate the smug arrogance of his intelligence, you have to respect Maher for being so well informed and thought provoking. If not, well then, defer to Ari Gold and just “hug it out.”
To wit, in a recent interview with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, Bill remarked about Pat Robertson’s call for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez: “… this is hardly the first crazy thing he has said. If this guy was not wearing a nice suit and didn't have a television show, he would be a urine-soaked barker on a street corner, the kind of guy who has a megaphone and is just yelling at people on the street.”
You can’t get more real than that. Praise our Lord, Bill Maher. Hallelujah!
An English major graduate from Cornell University, Maher began his comedic career during the '80s on the New York club scene. Born in New York, raised in River Vale, New Jersey, Maher now lives in Los Angeles.
In 1993, Comedy Central aired Maher’s Politically Incorrect, a panel forum where high profile notables – representing a cross section of politics, entertainment and media – would talk about controversial issues in the news. The effect was funny, provocative and wildly popular.
Then in late 2001, Maher took that provocative adjective over the edge in disagreement to President Bush’s remarks that the 9/11 terrorists were “cowards.” He quipped, “We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it’s not cowardly.” By June 2002, instigated by government as well as sponsor outrage over the comment, Politically Incorrect was cancelled.
Not one to shy away from controversy, HBO grabbed onto Maher’s roundtable concept, gave him free rein to challenge at will, substituted intelligent guests for mere celebrity guests, and launched Real Time With Bill Maher.
At a time when television offers a wasteland of lowbrow reality shows and trite sitcoms whose only laughter comes from a can, Real Time With Bill Maher is a welcome refuge into sanity.
Keeping in mind that remaining single (and loving it) doesn’t mean being celibate (as if), the gossip columnists report that 50 year old perpetual bachelor Maher is dating 26 year old Karrine Steffans, hip-hop star and author of the best-selling book “Confessions of a Video Vixen,” a memoir that includes vivid details of her sexual encounters with famous rappers, actors and athletes.
According to New York Daily News contributor Jawn Murray, Maher said that he isn’t worried about Steffans turning on him like former girlfriend Coco Johnsen, who filed a $9 million palimony suit that was dismissed by a judge.
In response to a suggested pattern that his current and former flames are both black, Maher retorts, "People say I'm into black women. Robert De Niro is into black women. I'm just into women who are real, and they happen to be black."
New Rule for Bill Maher … if a woman, black or white, accuses you of gross misconduct and sues you for palimony, she isn’t real.
Ultimately, Bill Maher has a certain je ne sais quoi. Men want to be him and women want to be with him. Oh, wait. No, that’s Austin Powers. But Bill definitely has magnetic appeal.
Add Your Comment On This Article