Five Times Bill Maher Ruined a Movie
It’s bad enough that we have to put up with Bill Maher here in the real world — where he has both a long-running HBO series and a YouTube show/neon-drenched cry for help — but why does this guy have to keep showing up in movies too?
A lot of us watch films as a way to escape the crappy aspects of real life, which makes it all the more upsetting to have that fictional bubble burst by a surprise appearance from the talk show host best described as “what if your racist uncle became a Bond villain?” Some of Maher’s worst appearances include…
Maher Is Part of the MCU, Unfortunately
Captain America, Thor, Black Widow… Bill Maher? Yes, Maher is a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. No, he never battled Thanos or smoked a bowl with Teen Groot, but he showed up briefly, as himself, in Iron Man 3. A lot of comic book fans were vocally annoyed that the sequel reworked the classic/racist character of “The Mandarin,” but we’d argue that it was far more distressing to have to sit through one of Maher’s patented “New Rules” segments in which the host smugly grumbled about War Machine.
Years later, when Maher went on a rant about how comic book movies are infantilizing trash, fans pointed to this scene as yet more evidence of his hypocrisy, considering that he had just collected a paycheck for pretending to get upset about Iron Man’s best friend.
No word on what happened to the Bill Maher character in the MCU. We’re guessing that he fell victim to “The Snap,” and then blamed it all on woke college kids.
Maher Is Somehow the Worst Part of the Already Dreadful ‘Tomcats’
Tomcats is a terrible, terrible movie that no one should ever watch. After all, it’s not every sex farce that attempts to mine the comic potential of testicular cancer (if you think that there’s not a scene in which a character inadvertently eats a surgically-removed testicle, well, you’ve come to the wrong piece of shit).
Somehow, within this turd that should have seen its cast and crew tried for crimes against humanity, one of the worst parts is still Maher, who plays a Jewish mob boss casino manager named “Carlos” who threatens to literally murder the protagonists if they can’t pay him $50,000. It probably would have been a lot more intimidating if the filmmakers had hired anyone other than the host of ABC’s Politically Incorrect.
Maher’s awkward scene calls for him to taunt Jerry O’Connell, telling him, “I’ll hang you, cut your balls off and put them in your pocket!” And by the way, this wasn’t a fictional mafia-run casino, it was the real life Hard Rock Casino, seemingly part of a product placement deal. It remains unclear whether or not the folks at Hard Rock Café headquarters were cool with the suggestion that their employees casually threaten to castrate customers.
‘Out of Time’ Asks Us to Believe That Maher Is a Brilliant Scientist/Cop
There was a brief moment in history when Hollywood was bafflingly intent on turning Maher into a leading man; he starred in movies like Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death and Pizza Man, the fever dream-like ‘90s comedy-thriller about a delivery guy who beats up Ronald Reagan and straight-up murders Donald Trump.
Perhaps the worst Maher-starring project, in retrospect, was Out of Time, a 1988 TV movie about a cop from the year 2088 who chases a criminal into the past and enlists the help of his great-grandfather, who is somehow both a wisecracking police officer and a genius inventor. Fun fact: Maher is convincing at neither.
So it’s basically Back to the Future if Doc Brown carried a handgun and constantly acted like he’s MCing open mic night at the Chuckle Hut.
‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ Reveals That Maher Would Still Be a Hack in 1882
Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West may not be a great movie, but it still has a lot going for it. Oscar-winner Charlize Theron plays an Old West gunslinger, Liam Neeson is the villain and Christopher Lloyd reprises the iconic role of Doc Brown for something other than a confusing Argentinian electronics commercial.
But MacFarlane also felt the need to write a cameo for his buddy Maher, essentially as the 1882 version of Bill Maher. Somehow his shtick is even more annoying by lamplight.
Yes, according to this movie, even over a century ago, Maher would still be rattling off jokes from a cue card that wouldn’t seem out of place in a grade schooler’s joke book.
Maher Routinely Tortures Characters Who Are Going Through an Emotional Crisis
Okay, so there’s actually one good way to use Maher in a movie. Occasionally, Maher has appeared as himself in movies and TV shows, not in a failed stab at comic relief, but to make the protagonists feel even worse about themselves. In Late Night, when Emma Thompson’s talk show host character finds herself embroiled in a sex scandal, she tunes in to Real Time, only to hear Maher making obvious, unfunny jokes about her life, further adding salt to the wound.
The same thing happens in an episode of House of Cards, after Frank Underwood (R.I.P.) embarrasses himself in a televised debate, leading Maher to quip: “Was that a joke? I haven’t seen something just lay there like that since, I gotta go all the way back to my prom night.”
Watching Maher, not laughing, then feeling your body fill with rage before defiantly switching the TV off altogether is actually pretty relatable. Although we’d still prefer it if George Lucas could go back and replace all of these cameos with a CGI Conan.
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