Guests That Gave It Right Back to Bill Maher

Maher is irritating enough to drive his guests to drink
Guests That Gave It Right Back to Bill Maher

Bill Maher has made a habit of dishing it out on the various talk shows he’s hosted over the years, raking celebrities and politicians over the coals while establishing “new rules” to which he’d like us all to adhere. But when he’s not pontificating into the camera, Maher speaks to guests who often shove his righteous arguments right back up his behind. 

Here are five celebs in particular who gave Maher as good as they got...

Bryan Cranston

On a recent edition of Club Random, Maher’s podcast/YouTube show that supposedly ignores political topics altogether, the host had it out with Breaking Bad and Malcolm in the Middle star Bryan Cranston

How a show that purports to bypass politics got into critical race theory is another story. But Maher wasn’t down with CRT, blaming “very far-left woke thinking” for bumbled strategies in education. (For what it's worth, Maher says he supports teaching Black history.) Cranston wasn’t buying it. It’s 400 fucking years that we’ve dealt with this, and our country still has not taken responsibility or accountability. Pointing to a cardboard stand-up wearing a Make America Great Again hat, Cranston asked Maher when America was ever great for Black people? 

In terms of getting into college, said Maher, the answer is now. 

To which an incredulous Cranston responded: “So in our history, now it’s great?

While Maher doesn’t like the term “white privilege,” he acknowledged that he’s had advantages. Did some club owner in the 1980s give him a gig over a Black comic? Possibly. But, Maher was quick to point out, “I didn’t do it!”

The entire exchange inspired Cranston to reach for a bottle: “You can drive me to drink, I tell you to god, man.” 

Ben Affleck

Affleck got into it with both Maher and author Sam Harris over their views on Islam on a 2014 episode of Real Time. Maher got things rolling, calling Islam “the only religion that acts like the mafia” and claiming its followers would “fucking kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture or write the wrong book.”

“We have been sold this meme of Islamophobia, where criticism of the religion gets conflated with bigotry towards Muslims as people,” Harris chimed in. “It’s intellectually ridiculous.”

An incensed Affleck, thinking he was only showing up to promote Gone Girl, fired back: “Hold on — are you the person who officially understands the codified doctrine of Islam? It’s gross and racist. It’s like saying, ‘Oh, you shifty Jew!’ Your argument is, ‘You know, Black people, they shoot each other.’”

He kept on firing from there: “How about more than a billion people who aren’t fanatical, who don’t punch women, who just want to go to school, have some sandwiches, pray five times a day and don’t do any of the things you’re saying of all Muslims. It’s stereotyping.”

Bill Burr

Unlike some of the other discussions here, Burr and Maher didn’t get especially political on Burr’s podcast last October. The two comics just verbally shoved each other around — and not in an especially fun way. Some guys just do it for the discomfort, we guess.

What really seemed to get Maher’s goat was Burr calling him a Boomer. Maher protested that he was only 12 years older than the host, but Burr insisted that a wide generational chasm exists between the two comics. “You’re a Boomer, man. You’re fucking talking about The Beatles. You’re getting your feathers flushed about what’s her face… Taylor Swift!”

Bernie Sanders

Why should we give money to young people, Maher recently asked Bernie Sanders in reference to student-loan forgiveness. After all, Maher cited a poll (not an NBC poll as he claims, by the way) proclaiming young people would just throw away the cash on new smartphones and vacations.

And yet somehow, Sanders won Maher over. First, he pointed out that huge corporations get a trillion dollars in tax breaks. The military-industrial complex? Spending just increased by $80 billion. But the nurses that Sanders talked to when he traveled the country? The tens of thousands they owe in student-loan debt were preventing them from owning homes or having families. 

How much was a California college education when you were a young man, Sanders asked Maher. Fifty bucks was Maher’s guess. Maybe $500. “Virtually free,” said Sanders. “And right now, young people are leaving school deeply in debt. They’re struggling economically. They deserve a break.”

Amazingly, all Maher offered in response was, “Yeah, I couldn’t agree more.” (Technically, Bill, not bringing up slanted studies saying “young people would waste the forgiveness money” would be a way you could agree more.)

Stephen Colbert

Colbert and I are not friends,” Bill Maher recently admitted to Dave Rubin on an episode of the Club Random podcast. “He doesn’t like me, and I don’t like him.” What’s the beef about? Maybe it’s Colbert damning Maher to eternal hellfire.

Recognizing that both comics were raised Catholic, Stephen Colbert invited Maher to return to the religion in 2015. “Come on back, Bill!” Colbert pleaded (jokingly) on an episode of the Late Show. “The door is always open! Golden ticket right before you. All you have to do is humble yourself before the presence of the Lord and admit there are things greater than you in the universe that you do not understand and salvation awaits you.” 

Maher admitted that there was plenty in the universe that he doesn’t understand. “But my response to that is not to make up silly stories,” he argued. “Or to believe intellectually embarrassing myths from the Bronze Age, but you believe whatever you want, Stephen! These were men who did not know what a germ or an atom was or where the sun went at night, but that’s where you’re getting your wisdom.”

Come on, what have you got to lose, Colbert asked. “If you’re wrong, you’re an idiot,” he told Maher. “But if I’m right, you’re going to hell.” 

Colbert was kidding. We think.

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