Bill Maher: A History Of Being Terrible
As Bill Maher’s new HBO special drops today, here’s a friendly reminder that the guy has been a total douchecanoe for decades now. Let’s review an incomplete history of Maher being a miserable duckbag.
Hire me? I’ll have you fired!
Politically Incorrect was one of Comedy Central’s first stabs at original programming, a show that the network’s Art Bell personally championed. (Bell was one of the guys who hired him.) The network’s first big ad campaign was for the show, plastering New York City busses with “politically incorrect” thought bubbles above unsuspecting riders. The campaign got buzz and increased viewership.
Maher’s reaction to Bell’s promotion? “What the f*** were you thinking with those bus ads? If you think this is good advertising, then you obviously don’t know what the f*** you’re doing. And if you f*** up, I think you should be fired. Doesn’t that sound fair? That’s right, Art, I’m working on getting you fired. And I won’t be sorry to see you go.”
Maher did go to Bell’s bosses, who refused to can him. The campaign ended up winning an Effie Award, given to campaigns that did the most effective job. The Effies host who had to hand over the award? Bill Maher.
Only six days after 9/11, Politically Incorrect panelist Dinesh D’Souza described the terrorists as “warriors.” Maher doubled down: “We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from two thousand miles away. That’s cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, (it’s) not cowardly.”
Agree or disagree with Maher’s criticism of the military, the week of 9/11 probably wasn’t the time to raise the point. The resulting furor caused ABC to cancel the show.
You Stole That Joke I Stole!
In 2011, The Onion tweeted a joke headline in response to President Obama revealing his birth certificate: Afterbirthers Demand To See Obama's Placenta. That didn’t sit well with Maher, who pursed his thin lips and tweeted:
Unfortunately for Maher, The Onion was simply repeating its own joke from its August 2009 issue -- six months before Maher and his writers “borrowed” the joke for his special.
How Do You Piss Off Wayne Brady?
In 2012, Maher questioned Barack Obama’s blackness by calling him “your Wayne Brady,” a description that royally pissed off the actual Wayne Brady.
“(Maher) wants a brother-brother,” said Brady while offering to “slap the sh*t” out of the comic. The amiable Whose Line Is It Anyway star didn’t find Maher an authority “just because you f*** black hookers.”
”Grown Men Who Still Dress Like Kids”
When Stan Lee passed away, Maher felt it necessary to scold adults who read comic books: “You need to grow up.” After the inevitable backlash, Maher clarified his stance: “I’m not glad Stan Lee’s dead, I’m sad (comic fans) are alive.”
On a 2017 episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, Republican Senator Ben Sasse invited the comic to come to his state and work in the fields. Maher’s response? “Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n****r.”
Even Maher knew he wasn’t wriggling out of this one without an apology; the next day, he called his own remarks “offensive.” HBO cut the slur out of reruns, calling Maher’s words “inexcusable and tasteless.”
Don’t Call It A Comeback
In 2019, Maher observed that while fifty-three Americans had been killed in mass shootings the previous month, obesity killed forty thousand people during that same period: “Fat shaming doesn’t need to end, it needs to make a comeback.”
Same dude that on another occasion said, "there's no middle ground between shaming and Shamu" and called Chris Christie, “Governor Fat Fatty.”
Bill Maher, real American hero.
For more ComedyNerd, be sure to check out:
For ComedyNerd exclusive content and more, subscribe to our fancy newsletter:
Top image: HBO