Maher's golden era was the late '90s, but he sailed back into prominence this year because his news-ish show happened to start its new season before Colbert, The Daily Show, or John Oliver's shows returned. In the wake of Trump's inauguration and bloodcurdlingly zany first few weeks, millions of people were starving for some sort of public resistance. In that brief void, Maher looked like Gandalf the Exceptionally White.
In Los Angeles, billboards like this painted Maher as a progressive icon standing firm against intolerance and bigotry:
But they ignored that this is a guy who, just last year, told transgender people that they could best help Hillary Clinton's campaign by shutting the fuck up about their rights.
"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 6'4''. But this is exactly the kind of culture war issue that rouses a certain type of voter out of their trailers on election day ... let's not die on this hill." But don't worry! He volunteered to stop harping on his own "pet cause" ... marijuana legalization.
First, this ouroboros of white male privilege deserves a little breaking down. This "culture war issue" is a hill trans kids are already dying on. I'll just leave this here:
And Maher's willingness to treat pot as a "pet cause" is also pretty fucked up. The War On Drugs is a huge part of why so many black men are ineligible to vote. And black people are almost four times as likely as white people to be arrested for pot-related offenses. Bill Maher and Milo Yiannopoulos may disagree on public healthcare, or who should be appointed to the Supreme Court, but when it comes to being incapable of giving a fuck about anyone other than themselves they're basically the same person.
Bill Maher thinks women can't possibly rape men. It took too long for Yiannopoulos' career to collapse, but it's taken way too long for people to get fed up with Maher. In 2009 he defended Shawne Merriman for choking Tila Tequila by saying he was surprised someone hadn't "choked this bitch sooner." Then in 2011, he accused Arab men of being inherently abusive, stating,"Talk to women who have ever dated an Arab man. The results are not good."