67 Ways Bill Maher Continues to Be the Worst for His 67th Birthday
For more than four decades, Bill Maher has been ramming his bad opinions down our throats and then lecturing any of us who dares speak up about it. Essentially, it’s our problem for not having a sense of humor or getting the “joke.” He’s precisely the kind of solipsistic prick who would host a cocktail party and make it BYOB (while probably making a big show about how you expected him to have a wine opener, too).
His awfulness is tough to quantify because of just how vast it is. But given that his 67th birthday was on Friday, it provided a nice target to shoot for. And so, here are 67 times Maher was at his absolute worst. Maybe if he lives to a 1,000 we’ll run out of material.
Someone Seems to Have Forgotten His ‘Iron Man 3’ Cameo
“I’m not glad Stan Lee’s dead, I’m sad you (comic book fans) are alive.”
His Racist Attacks on President Obama — and Wayne Brady
After Maher argued that Obama should be more like convicted murderer Suge Knight and less like Wayne Brady, Brady very trenchantly threatened to kick his ass: “I’ve had Bill Maher twice now when referencing Obama, he’s like, ‘Yeah, with your Wayne Brady…’ So that means it’s a diss to Obama to be called me because he wants a brother brother. I take that personally. You mean to slam the leader of the free world with my name because I’m not the aggressive Black man, that’s fine. Let’s go, Bill.
“If he once said, ‘Oh, I wanted to know how Black Wayne Brady is,’ that chip on my shoulder says that rarely do you threaten a man, and I’m not threatening anyone. But if Bill Maher has his perception of what’s Black wrapped up, I would gladly slap the (expletive) out of Bill Maher in the middle of the street. And then I want to see what Bill Maher would do.”
His Thinking on Literal Weighty Matters Is No Better
“Fat shaming doesn’t need to end, it needs to make a comeback.”
A Religion Bit He Did at Comic Relief VI — A Benefit for *checks notes* the Homeless
“God has a big ego problem. I mean, we always have to worship Him. We’re like, ‘Oh, you’re the greatest. You’re perfect; we’re fuckups. You know everything; we’re in the dark.’ Secure people don’t need to hear that all the time. That’s why I believe in Dr. Kevorkian. Because suicide is kind of our way of saying to God, ‘You can’t fire me, I quit!’”
Flippantly Using the N-Word
Getting Schooled By Ice Cube for Flippantly Using the N-Word…
...And Learning Nothing
Adventures in Opportunism, Vol. I
An opening skit from Politically Incorrect, just two days after the Heaven’s Gate cult mass suicides: “Greetings, empty vessels of earth. I am Re, brother of Do, husband of Ti, and if I do say so myself, a drop of golden sun. In a few moments, I’m going to ask you to mix a deadly cocktail of prune juice, Haley’s M-O and pharmaceutical crack. But don’t worry, your bodies are just containers, though some of your containers are hotter than others, and you know who you are. Time is running out. The signs are all around us — comets in the sky, elderly ex-presidents jumping out of planes. You must surrender all your earthly goods to me, or to Ron Goldman’s dad, whoever gets there first. And for God’s sake, don’t call the flight attendant ‘stewardess.’”
Comparing Children With Intellectual Disabilities to Dogs
“I’ve often said that if I had two (r-word) children instead of two dogs, I’d be a hero. And yet, the dogs are pretty much the same thing. They’re sweet, they’re loving, they’re kind, but they don’t mentally advance. Dogs are like (r-word) children.”
Comparing One Direction’s Zayn Malik to the Boston Marathon Bombers
“Just tell me two things, Zayn: Which one in the band were you? And where were you during the Boston Marathon?”
Tila Tequila Deserving to Be Attacked by Her Boyfriend
“New rule: Stop acting surprised someone choked Tila Tequila. The surprise is that someone hasn’t choked this bitch sooner.”
The ‘I’m Not Trying to Be Sexist Here’ Defense
“I’m not trying to be sexist here, but I’m just saying that women try a lot of different tactics when they’re in arguments. I’m not being sexist, I’m just saying that men, when we argue, we’re kind of a one-trick pony. We try our thing, and then we sulk when we don’t get our way. Because the first thing a woman does, of course, is cry. Then they go to sweet-talking. Then they throw an anger fit totally unrelated to anything. And when it doesn’t work, they bring out the sarcasm.”
Taking Credit for Milo Yiannopoulos’ Downfall
Audio of Yiannopoulos supporting pedophilic relationships was actually first discovered by a 16-year-old Canadian girl who found the remark on an old podcast. But that didn’t stop Maher, a staunch critic of “cancel culture,” from taking a victory lap for Yiannopoulos (temporary) “cancellation”: “(We) had Milo on, despite the fact that many people said, ‘How dare you give a platform to this man?’ What I think people saw was an emotionally needy Ann Coulter wannabe trying to make a buck off of the left’s propensity for outrage. And by the end of the weekend, by dinnertime Monday, he’s dropped as a speaker at CPAC. Then he’s dropped by Breitbart, and his book deal falls through. As I say, sunlight is the best disinfectant. You’re welcome.”
His Own Defense of Pedophilic Relationships
“If a 28-year-old male teacher is screwing a 13-year-old girl, that’s a crime. But with Debra Lafave screwing her 14-year-old boy student, the crime is that we didn’t get it on videotape. Was he being taken advantage of? I wish I had been taken advantage of like that. What a memory she gave him!”
Blaming the Audience for Anytime He Bombs
A repeated gag on Real Time is when one of Maher’s jokes gets a groan or doesn’t land, he pulls this “Fuck you, that was funny! Don’t make me come up there!” shtick with the audience, bullying/begging them into approval.
Being Gross with Rose McGowan During a Commercial Break
Nonverbal Delivery Tic #1
Like blaming the audience for anytime he bombs, Maher incessantly pauses while delivering a joke on Real Time because he’s expecting the audience to clap. If they don’t, he either darts his eyes side-to-side looking for someone to back him up, or looks off-stage to whichever crew member will give him an attaboy.
Some Light Presidential Assassination Humor
“I saw the headline today: ‘Race Tightening, Trump Ahead in Ohio and Florida.’ If this race is even the week before the election, somebody is going to have to go out there… Why do you think they let (John) Hinckley out?”
More Adventures in Anti-Feminism
“There was a death this week in political circles: Molly Yard, one of the pioneers of the Feminist Movement and the former head of (National Organization for Women). The doctor says she passed away angrily in her sleep. Her last words were, ‘That’s not funny.’”
Unnecessary Futon Hating
“Don’t tell me they’re big in Japan. So is sleeping in a paper house and molesting schoolgirls on the bullet train.”
His Very, Very, Very Bad Leading Man Turn
Maher’s one and only starring film role is in a movie where he plays a pizza delivery guy who gets tangled up in a conspiracy to rule the world and ends up killing Donald Trump.
Even More Adventures in Anti-Feminism
“If (smartphones) track my every move down to the second but still won’t let me talk, it’s not a phone, it’s a woman.”
‘It’s Just a Joke’
Whenever Maher — or anyone else — gets in trouble for a joke, he goes out of his way to remind everyone that “it’s just a joke” and rants about how we’re all just too sensitive these days. He even goes so far as to do a segment on Real Time called “Explaining Jokes to Idiots.”
Maher accused The Onion of stealing a joke from his 2010 special But I’m Not Wrong, only to have it pointed out to him that the article in question, “Afterbirthers Demand to See Obama’s Placenta” was originally published six months before the special aired.
Adventures in Transphobia, Part 1
“If this spike in trans children is all natural, why is it regional? Either Ohio is shaming them, or California is creating them.”
Some More Obama-Inspired Racism
“(President Obama) has been in office a month, and he has dropped a trillion dollars. Is that Black enough for you? Oh, booers, go to the Jay Leno show.”
Ha, Ha, Dead Kids!
“New rule: Someone has to cheer up the good people of America’s handgun industry. I know stocks are down this month on lower sales, but don’t be sad — it’s only three months until school starts!”
Adventures in Opportunism, Vol. II
After the murder of “van life” influencer Gabby Petito, Maher decided this was the time to admonish “these kids today” for eschewing “real work” in favor of chasing internet clout. He said, into a camera, on his own show, for ratings.
A Refusal to Stop Punching Down on Low-Hanging Fruit
“Now I’m not trying to say that when celebrities are conservative they’re almost always lame, but if Stephen Baldwin killed himself and Bo Derek with a car bomb, the headline the next day would be, ‘Two Die in Car Bombing.’”
Speaking of Hacky Low-Hanging Fruit
“If you insist on getting the president’s autograph at the State of the Union, you must first run into the bathroom and put your hair in pigtails.”
Condoning Violence Against Women
Condoning Sexual Harassment of Women
Recreating the photo that led to Al Franken’s resignation from the Senate on a plane with Bob Saget:
Did We Mention All the Hacky Jokes Already?
New York Magazine describe Maher’s 10th comedy special, Live from Oklahoma, as “listless, comedy-flavored grumbling.” They’re exactly right: It’s the stand-up equivalent of a yard sale — a bunc of stuff he pain other people to write over the years strewn about in no particular order.
Nonverbal Delivery Tic #2
Whenever Maher’s sitting at the Real Time table and grabs the armrests of his chair, that’s how you know he’s about to put on his mean face.
When Low-Hanging Fruit Turns to Low-Hanging Veggies
“Weed legalization went down in Ohio. In Kentucky, they elected a teabagger governor who’s going to try to repeal Obamacare. In Houston, equal LGBT rights went down the drain. Bad week for liberals. What’s next, a kale shortage?”
Again With the Kale?
“What a bloodbath for Democrats on Tuesday. I’ve not seen liberals this down since kale went out of season.”
The Kale Trifecta
“Hillary Clinton is not a sure thing. You need a fallback, besides suicide in Canada. Somebody’s gotta stay here and eat all this kale “
Just a Guy Asking Questions
Another frequent rhetorical tactic Maher loves to break out to shield himself from criticism is the old “I’m just asking questions” excuse.
Somehow This From Two Years Ago, and Not 1991
“New Rule: The interracial couple that gave birth to twins, one white and one black, must admit they toyed with the idea of naming them Michael and Jackson. I’m kidding. Congratulations, and good luck not rolling your eyes when your liberal friends pretend they still can’t tell them apart.”
Owning the Libs with… Erotic Fiction?
Adventures in Transphobia, Part 2
“Caitlyn Jenner is running for governor (of California). I know you think of her as a reality-show star, but come on, people change. She is trans, rested and ready. She’s got a great slogan: ‘Take the ‘sack’ out of ‘Sacramento!’”
Another Go-To Excuse for Everything
When he’s not just a guy asking questions when saying something controversial/offensive, he defaults to another favorite rationale: “Someone has to say it…”
Adventures in Opportunism, Vol. III
Six days after 9/11: “We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That’s cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, (but it’s) not cowardly.”
Dismissing the Justifiable Anxiety of the Kids These Days
Nonverbal Delivery Tic #3
You can always tell Maher is proud of a punchline he’s about to tell when he leans on the Real Time table with his left elbow and prepares to smirk at the camera.
His Married Guys Just Need to Blow Off a Little Horny Steam Sex Pest Excuse
“(Chris Matthews) said some things that are kind of creepy to women. You know, guys are married for a million years, they want to flirt for two seconds. He said to Laura Bassett… Four years ago, she’s in makeup, and he said, ‘Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?’ Yes, it’s creepy. She said, ‘I was afraid to name him at the time out of fear of retaliation. I’m not afraid anymore.’ Thank you, Rosa Parks. I mean, Jesus fucking Christ!”
After those previously mentioned 9/11 remarks, ABC canceled Politically Incorrect. We know this because Maher never lets us forget it. It’s yet another way he excuses away his bad behavior — that the woke mob has already canceled him once and that he is always perpetually (and unfairly) in their crosshairs. In other words, the victim card is also his trump card.
More Joke Thieving
Admittedly, this Maher joke isn’t bad: “Is (hunting) really a sport if you have all the equipment and your opponent doesn’t know a game is going on?” It’s just that George Carlin told it better back in 1986: “If you think hunting is a sport, ask the deer.”
Telling on Himself Back in 2007
“This country has fuckup fatigue. That’s when someone fucks up so much, that when they fuck up again, people go, ‘Well, what do you expect? He’s a fuckup.’ And that’s fucked up!”
Some Islamophobia for Good Measure
“Talk to women who have ever dated an Arab man. The results are not good.”
He’s Certainly Not Above Homophobia Either
His “24 Things You Don’t Know About Lindsey Graham” segment from Real Time is pretty much just a collection of very tired gay stereotypes.
Did Someone Say Islamophobia?
His Self-Righteous Attacks on Religion
It’s not that he’s necessarily wrong; it’s just that he’s so smug about it.
Laughing at His Own Jokes
Not surprisingly, this is a hallmark of Real Time.
Blaming Jada Pinkett Smith for the Oscar Slap
“If you’re so lucky as to have (alopecia) be your medical problem, just say, ‘Thanks, god.’ It’s not life-threatening for most people — 80 percent of men, 50 percent of women — it’s part of aging. Aging is degradation of the flesh. It happens to all of us, so just put on a fucking wig like everyone else at the Oscars.”
Maher’s latest venture — a podcast in which he invites someone over to hang out at his house for an hour to shoot the shit — sounds very, very similar to what Marc Maron pioneered in his garage back in 2009.
‘Someone Has to Explain to Me…’
A variation of the “Just a Guy Asking Questions” argument that he thinks gives him carte blanche to share his bad opinions without consequences.
The Hypocrisy of His Eat-the-Rich Takes
This is a pretty rich (pun unavoidable) coming from a guy who once threw down $20 million to be part-owner of the New York Mets: “In America, being filthy rich is the greatest good. But if you’re a dentist, you’re not rich like that. But if you save up a couple of times a year, you can splurge on something ridiculous and at least look like it. Because in the game of America, where money counts for everything, this is how you let other people know you won — because you did something horrible and stupid that only rich people can get away with. We always hear about the sick culture of poverty, but what about the sick culture of wealth?”
His Very Own Sick Culture of Wealth
To book Maher for a keynote speech, it’ll cost you $200,000. A private stand-up set goes for 150k.
He’s Still Telling Anne Frank Jokes
“It’s a tough city. The housing situation there — I had an apartment, Anne Frank looked at it and went, ‘I couldn’t live here.’”
Doing Hef’s Bidding
The original Girls Next Door, Holly Madison and Bridget Marquardt, had grown accustomed to people referring to them as “whores,” but when Maher did so at an event honoring Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, there was just something different about it. “I can take a joke,” Madison has explained on her podcast. “Bill wasn’t funny, though. I felt like some misogyny seeped through that a little bit. But I didn’t feel like he was trying to be funny, just serious. He was just being a dick, and the worst part about that is Hef didn’t stick up for us.”
Rejected Fatherly Advice That Says a Lot About All of the Above (and Below)
“Whenever I’d get depressed, my father would always take me aside. He’d put his arm around me and say, ‘Son, I just want you to know that life is a swirling, sucking eddy of despair filled with small moments of false hope in an ever-blackening universe.’ I’d say, ‘Great, dad — if I can’t have a sled, just say so.’”
Get Off Maher’s Lawn Beastie Boys!
Maher was selling Boomer outrage as far back as his 1989 HBO special One Night Stand: “It really all has changed. When I went to school, at least there were causes, and people cared, and there were issues. The biggest protest song I heard in the 1980s is the Beastie Boys singing, ‘You’ve gotta fight for your right to party!’ Not exactly ‘Blowing in the Wind,’ is it? We had the war, racism, ecology — these kids have to fight for their right to party. Can we have a benefit for these kids right now? Was the constitution that blind?”
You’ll Never Guess His Opinions on Tattoos
Adventures in Transphobia, Part 3
“I’m not suggesting we throw the transgendered under the bus, or discounting their struggle. It can’t be easy finding pantyhose when you’re 6-foot-4. But this is exactly the kind of culture war issue that rousts a certain type of voter out of their trailers on election day. Let’s not die on this hill.”
Adventures in Opportunism, Vol. IV
Maher has always been careful not to give himself any kind of political labels. When anyone brings up the times he’s seemed more libertarian or liberal, he’ll either say that’s not who he is anymore or explain that his nuanced beliefs defy categorization. At heart, though, it’s very clear what he is: an opportunistic fence-sitter. He has spent his entire career balancing his high horse right on the edge of the political divide, and only determines which side he’ll say he’s on by whichever one has more people excited that the other side might be mad at him. The only thing he’s really stood firm on over the years is his complete disdain for members of any generation younger than his own — unless those people are willing to kiss his ass, boost his profile, sleep with him or some god-awful combination therein.