Bill Maher Plans to Quit Stand-Up, ‘Like Cutting Off A Limb’

‘Well, or I could go back’
Bill Maher Plans to Quit Stand-Up, ‘Like Cutting Off A Limb’

It’s a good news/bad news situation for those who love to hate Bill Maher. The bad news? Maher is getting ready to release his thirteenth HBO stand-up comedy special, a number that’s a few too many for anyone. The good news? Maher is threatening to quit stand-up for good once this one is in the can. 

The revelation came while Maher was chatting it up with Jerry Seinfeld on his Club Random podcast. While kissing Jerry’s ass, er, complimenting Seinfeld on being “known as the purest of the pure stand-ups,” Maher confessed that he was nervous to reveal some shocking news. “After this year, I’m going to stop doing (stand-up).” 

Do you promise, Bill? “Well, or I could go back,” Maher backtracked. “I don’t want to make a big announcement or something. I’m doing a special at the end of the year. I put a lot of time and effort into it because as you know, stand-up is like playing the cello. You can’t just walk up there. You have to stay in practice.” 

Maher still loves stand-up, he says, and he’s always working on new material. But there’s one problem: ”I have a show.” Presumably, Maher is talking about his HBO show Real Time, but his marathon Club Random podcast conversations also have to cut into his free time. 

“I don’t know how you kept it up during the show,” responded Seinfeld, “or frankly, why. But you did.”

Frankly, why did Maher keep doing stand-up since he had the HBO gig? He says there are a few reasons. One, the two activities fed one another. Second, stand-up freed Maher from the restrictions that even HBO placed upon him. Stand-up comedy “is looser,” he explained. “You people paid to see me. Even if you don’t like it, you kind of have to laugh just to get your money’s worth.” 

It all comes down to Maher no longer wanting to practice his comedy cello for eight hours a day. Instead, he might “do some of these kind of (podcasts) live,” he said. “That’s kind of an interesting option that people do now.”

Seinfeld understood it. It’s one reason he loves the comedy business, people trying out new things like live podcasts. “I love that endless grind,” he remarked. 

Come to think of it, Maher might love the grind too. “After 40 years, that’s why I don’t want to make an announcement like, ‘This is my final (show)” he said. “I might change my mind. It might be like cutting off a limb, and I have to go back to it.” 

Go ahead and take a break, Bill. We all could use it.


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