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Bill Maher
Bill Maher by David Shankbone cropped.jpg
Bill Maher, November 2007
Birth name William Maher, Jr.
Born January 20, 1956 (1956-01-20) (age 54)
New York, New York, U.S.
Medium Stand-Up, Television, Film, Books
Nationality American
Years active 1979 – present
Genres Political satire, Observational comedy
Subject(s) American politics, current events, American culture, pop culture, freedom of speech, environmentalism, religion, human sexuality, recreational drug use, libertarianism, American liberalism
Influences Steve Allen, George Carlin, Johnny Carson, David Frost, Robert Klein, Don Rickles, Gore Vidal
Notable works and roles Host of Politically Incorrect
Host of Real Time with Bill Maher
Website www.BillMaher.com

William "Bill" Maher, Jr.(pronounced /ˈmɑr/; born January 20, 1956) is an American stand-up comedian, television host, social critic, political commentator, and author. Before his current role as the host of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, Maher hosted a similar late-night talk show called Politically Incorrect on Comedy Central and later on ABC.

Maher is known for his political satire and sociopolitical commentary. His commentaries target a wide swath of topics: religion, politics, bureaucracies of many kinds, political correctness, the mass media, greed among people and persons in positions of high political and social power, among many others. He supports the legalization of marijuana and gay marriage and serves on the board of PETA.[1] He is also a critic of religion and is an advisory board member of Project Reason. Maher is number 38 on Comedy Central's 100 greatest stand-ups of all time.[2]

Contents

Early life and work

Maher was born in New York City, the son of Julie (née Berman), a nurse, and William Maher, Sr., a network news editor and radio announcer.[3] Maher was raised in his Irish American father's Catholic religion, and did not find out that his mother was Jewish until his teenage years.[4] Maher's family stopped attending church when Maher was thirteen, because of Maher's father's disagreement with the Catholic Church's position on birth control.[5][6] Maher grew up in River Vale, New Jersey, and graduated from Pascack Hills High School in Montvale, New Jersey. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English and History from Cornell University in 1978.[7]

Maher began his career as a stand-up comedian and actor, and he continues to act and tour occasionally. He was host of the New York City comedy club Catch a Rising Star in 1979. Thanks to Steve Allen, he began appearing on Johnny Carson's and David Letterman's shows in 1982. He made limited television appearances, including two separate appearances on Murder, She Wrote -- notably, as Maher likes to point out, as two different characters. He has also appeared in several films, usually in a comic role. His feature film debut was in D.C. Cab (1983), and he has also appeared in Ratboy (1986), Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death (1988), and Pizza Man (1991).

Talk show host

Maher gained fame as the host of Politically Incorrect, which aired on the Comedy Central television network and later ABC. He is currently the host of Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO.

ABC decided not to renew Maher's contract for Politically Incorrect in 2002 after he made a controversial on-air remark on September 17, 2001,[8] in which he agreed with guest conservative political commentator Dinesh D'Souza that the 9/11 terrorists were not cowards. He then went on to say, "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, it's not cowardly." Maher later clarified that his comment was not anti-military in any way whatsoever, mentioning his longstanding support for the American military.[9][10][11][12][13]

In the context of the sensitive aftermath of the attacks, such a remark was deemed too controversial for some financial supporters. Although some pundits, including conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, supported Maher in pointing out the distinction between physical and moral cowardice,[14] companies including FedEx and Sears Roebuck pulled their advertisements from the show, costing the show more than it returned. Ari Fleischer, who was the White House Press Secretary at the time, responded to a reporter's question about Maher's comments by saying: "...they're reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do. This is not a time for remarks like that..."[15]

The show was cancelled on June 16, 2002, although the Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcast Group had dropped the show from its ABC-affiliated stations months before that. On June 22, 2002, six days after the cancellation of Politically Incorrect, Maher received the President's Award (for "championing free speech") from the Los Angeles Press Club. Maher has also sat on the board of judges for the PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award.

Maher's comment about the cowardice of terrorists followed another controversial comment he made on Politically Incorrect earlier that year where he compared dogs to retarded children: "But I've often said that if I had — I have two dogs — if I had two retarded children, I'd be a hero. And yet the dogs, which are pretty much the same thing. What? They're sweet. They're loving. They're kind, but they don't mentally advance at all.... Dogs are like retarded children." When another guest told him that her nephew was retarded and that she didn't think of him as a dog, he responded with "Maybe you should." He later apologized, stating "I make no excuses. I was wrong and what I said was hurtful to people and I feel terrible about it."[16]

In 2003, Maher became the host of Real Time with Bill Maher on the HBO cable television network, a debate show somewhat similar to Politically Incorrect, but with a narrower selection of guests. Maher told Terry Gross (on NPR's Fresh Air) in 2004 that he enjoys having more serious and well-informed guests on his current program, as opposed to the random celebrities that fleshed out his roundtable discussions on Politically Incorrect. Since May 2005, he has been a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post.

On January 13, 2006, Maher hosted Larry King Live on CNN, on which he is a frequent guest.

The show's first guests included Dean Koontz and the Dixie Chicks. The show ran a preview episode earlier in the year from the Sundance Film Festival featuring guests Stephen King and Rob Thomas. Maher also produced and wrote the show, which aired through August 17, eight days before the season premiere of Real Time.

In early 2006, Real Time was released as an audio CD. along with another CD entitled Bill Maher's New Rules which features clips, segments and teasers from Real Time. Starting with Episode 67 (2-23-06) Real Time became available in the USA on iTunes as a free weekly audio podcast.

Views and opinions

Maher and Ingrid Newkirk, founder of PETA. Maher is on the board of directors of the animal rights group.

Maher describes himself as a libertarian[17] and believes that, "government is really there to do the things that people absolutely can't do for themselves";[18] however, journalist Dann Halem has questioned Maher's libertarianism, describing him more as a liberal.[18] Maher has also called for the creation of a new progressive party "to represent the millions of Americans who aren't being served by the Democrats."[19]

Maher favors a partial privatization of social security, ending corporate welfare and federal funding of non-profits, and legalization of gambling, prostitution, and marijuana. Maher is a member of NORML's Advisory Board, an organization which supports regulated legalization of marijuana, and is an open marijuana user. Additionally, Maher describes himself as an environmentalist, and he frequently alludes to the topic of global warming on his show Real Time. Moreover, he is highly suspicious of corporations and often criticizes figures with close ties to industry.[18]

He supported Bob Dole in the 1996 U.S. presidential election on the basis that Dole was a war hero[20] and the kind of "old-fashioned" Republican he admired. Although he told Libertarian Party candidate Harry Browne at the end of a Browne appearance on Politically Incorrect that Browne would have his vote, ultimately he said he instead voted for Ralph Nader in the 2000 U.S. presidential election.

Maher is a board member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and has expressed his distaste for the pharmaceutical and health care industries in general, on the grounds that they make their money out of curing people who are made sick by consuming unhealthy food that society urges upon the public. He also maintains that mass consumption of high-fructose corn syrup is a contributor to the American obesity epidemic. On the August 11, 2005, episode of Larry King Live, Maher said he was not a vegetarian, adding "...but I don't eat a lot of meat."[21] Maher has stated that he has a "very eccentric diet."[22]

Prior to the 2004 U.S. presidential election, Maher became very forthright in his opposition to the re-election of George W. Bush, and in his support for John Kerry as the best candidate to defeat Bush, going so far as to publicly kneel on his show, with director Michael Moore, and beg Ralph Nader to drop out of the race.[23] Maher often says that the word "liberal" has been unfairly demonized, and during the elections he criticized Kerry for being ashamed of the word. As Maher supports the death penalty, the legality of abortion and euthanasia, he often states his position humorously as "pro-death". Since 9/11 he also has stated his endorsement of racial profiling at airports.[24]

While discussing FEMA's failure regarding Hurricane Katrina, Maher suggested it was a failure of "federal responsibility," and faulted President Bush with negligence.

He was originally against the Iraq War, but briefly offered less skeptical commentary in light of the Iraqi election of 2005. Maher now views the Iraq War as a failure and implied on the February 24, 2006 episode of Real Time that Iraq was better off under Saddam Hussein and that the U.S. cannot control the sectarian violence like Saddam did. He has said the invasion of Iraq has increased the threat of terrorism. He has also stated his concerns about the possibility of a future civil war in Iraq or about the possibility that Iraq is already involved in the early stages of a civil war.

In a blog post, Maher has indicated his approval of President Bush's support of Israel.[25]

In the 2008 US Presidential Election, Maher announced his support for Barack Obama.[26] Maher was very critical of John McCain, whom Maher supported in the 2000 primaries, and Sarah Palin. He called Palin an "extremist" who was completely unqualified for the presidency. Maher was also very critical of the situation involving the pregnancy of Palin's 17-year-old daughter, whom Maher said was being forced into a loveless marriage and remarked that Republicans would have "screamed bloody murder" if a Democratic candidate had a similar family situation. He also called Palin a "Category 5 moron" who was not even qualified to be the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska.[27]

On September 12, 2008, Maher continued his criticism of the Palins by launching a web site called freelevi.org (no longer active). On the site, Maher declared that Levi Johnston, the father of Bristol Palin's unborn child, was "America's number one political prisoner" and offered to turn control of the site over to Levi should Johnston wish to use the site as a way of raising money to purchase his freedom.[28]

Maher welcomed Obama's electoral victory. In June 2009 Maher voiced criticisms of Obama, stating that Obama wasn't being aggressive enough in tackling the big issues like healthcare reform, the banking crisis and energy legislation. With the Democrats controlling both Houses of Congress and the Executive Branch, Maher argues that significant health care reform should be accomplished within the first year or two of Obama's presidency, before the mid-term elections.[29][30]

Views on religion

Maher is highly critical of organized religion, which he often describes as a neurological disorder that justifies crazies and stops people from thinking logically.[31] In two separate appearances on Real Time, comedian George Carlin and Maher argued that religion is a cause of many of society's problems and that the practices of religion are mired in hypocrisy. Maher credited Carlin's views as inspiration for him to speak out against religion.

Maher has said many times that religion works under the guise of morality but that its tenets generally have nothing to do with morality, that religious prohibitions are being confused with moral law. In Maher's view, just because a religion prohibits abortion or decries homosexuality, that does not mean that having an abortion or being homosexual are immoral acts. Instead, Maher argues that an immoral person is one who harms others through activities such as murder, rape, or greed.

Maher opposes religious monuments, such as the Ten Commandments, being placed in or near court houses, pointing out that this would violate the separation of church and state. He has countered the assertion of conservative Christians who claim that American law is based on the Ten Commandments by saying that of the ten, only two (the prohibitions on murder and theft) apply to American law. The other commandments, he argues, such as honoring no god before the Judeo-Christian God, keeping Sabbath holy, or honoring thy mother and thy father, are not American laws at all. He even humorously stated while committing adultery wasn't a crime, you could get impeached for it (referencing the Monica Lewinsky scandal). In answer to the suggestion that a divine moral authority is necessary, he suggests "Couldn't we just get together and agree on the few basic Commandments that are laws? Like 'I won't slaughter you, and don't take my shit.'". Maher has stated on both Politically Incorrect and Real Time, and in several appearances on Larry King Live, viewpoints that reference a kind of deism, although Maher has never declared himself a deist. He has stated that he does indeed believe in a god, but that religion is nothing more than tradition and superstition. In 2002 he told the Onion AV Club, "I'm not an atheist. There's a really big difference between an atheist and someone who just doesn't believe in religion. Religion to me is a bureaucracy between man and God that I don't need. But I'm not an atheist, no. I believe there's some force. If you want to call it God... I don't believe God is a single parent who writes books".[32] He asserts that religion provides answers to questions that "cannot possibly be answered." Questions such as "Where do I go when I die?" or "Is there a heaven?", he says, are impossible to answer. By claiming to have the answers, Maher argues, religion is dishonest and it "stops people from thinking."

During Maher's appearance on Larry King Live on August 11, 2005, he said, "I'm not convinced that god exists. But I do allow the possibility. I'm not an atheist. I'm open." The following exchange also occurred on that program:

CALLER: "Hi. Well, my question is, the Lord spoke to me approximately three years ago, and if the Lord spoke to you, I was wondering if you'd become a believer."
MAHER: "No, I'd check into Bellevue, which is what you should do..."[33]
Maher with atheist intellectual Richard Dawkins.

During an interview with TV Guide, Maher was asked his opinion of Sherri Shepherd, co-host of ABC's The View. He responded with, "Sherri Shepherd! The one who said the Earth isn’t round? First, we know it’s round because, like Sherri Shepherd, we can see it from space. Secondly, to me this is child abuse. If you [can't] tell your children if the Earth is flat or not…this is why this country is in such trouble. We’re bringing up ignorant children because they have ignorant parents." These comments were in reference to a segment on The View in which Whoopi Goldberg asked Shepherd if she believed that the Earth was flat, to which Shepherd responded, "I don't know."[34]

Maher then explained that certainty in one's religious belief is absurd, using the example of Scientology: "You [a Scientologist], like all religious people, have a neurological disorder. And the only reason why people think it's sane is because so many other people believe the same thing. It's sanity by consensus."

Maher declared himself an apatheist instead of an agnostic on Scarborough Country on April 24, 2007.[35]

On August 15, 2007, on Larry King Live, he stated that it was impossible to know what happens after death. He compared Christian promises of an afterlife with the promises made by politicians trying to get elected.

On a February 4, 2008 episode of Larry King Live, Maher issued a comment calling all people of the Mormon faith "shape shifters".[36]

Maher is an advisory board member of author Sam Harris's The Reason Project.

Maher and director Larry Charles teamed up to make the feature film Religulous, described by trade publication Variety as a documentary "that spoofs religious extremism across the world," It was released on October 3, 2008.[37][38]

In an interview with Times Online Maher noted, "I'm not an atheist, though, because the belief that there is no God only mirrors the certitude of religion. No, I'm saying that doubt is the only appropriate response for human beings."[39]

Views on health care

Maher has stated that the AMA is a powerful lobbying group, and one of the primary reasons why the United States has failed to enact health care reform.[30]

On August 24, 2009, Maher was a guest on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien and on the topic of getting universal healthcare legislation passed, Maher stated that Obama should forget about trying to get 60 votes for it, "he only needs 51". "Forget getting the sixty votes or sixty percent - sixty percent of people don't believe in evolution in this country - he just needs to drag them to it, like I said, they're stupid; get health care done, with or without them."[40]

Bill Maher has expressed the view that most illness is generally the result of poor diet and that medicine is often not the best way of addressing illness.[41] In an episode of the show about the 2008 Presidential Candidates’ health plans, Maher stated that poor nutrition is the primary cause of illness, and he went on to say that “the answer isn’t another pill.”[41]

In a discussion with Michael Moore about the film Sicko, Maher asks, "The human body is pretty amazing; it doesn't get sick, usually, for no reason. I mean, there's some genetic stuff that can get to you, but, basically, people are sick in this country because they're poisoned. The environment is a poisoning factor, but also, we gotta say, they poison themselves. They eat shit. People eat shit, and that's, to my way of thinking, about 90 percent of why people are sick, is because they eat shit. Would you agree?"[42]

In October 9, 2009, on his HBO show, Maher debated the effectiveness of flu vaccinations with Bill Frist and stated, "Why would you let them be the ones to stick a disease into your arm? I would never get a swine flu vaccine or any vaccine. I don’t trust the government, especially with my health." Maher also expressed skepticism about the seriousness of the swine flu and whether completely healthy people could die from it. His comments have generated criticism, and his remarks have been called unscientific and even harmful.[43]

Maher responded to the criticism, noting, "What I've read about what they think I'm saying is not what I've said. I'm not a germ theory denier. I believe vaccinations can work. Polio is a good example. Do I think in certain situations that inoculating Third World children against malaria or diphtheria, or whatever, is right? Of course. In a situation like that, the benefits outweigh costs. But to me living in Los Angeles? To get a flu shot? No."[44] (see Vaccine controversy)

Criticism of 9/11 conspiracy theories

Maher has been a critic of 9/11 conspiracy theories, stating for instance on the September 14, 2007 edition of Real Time, "Crazy people who still think the government brought down the Twin Towers in a controlled explosion have to stop pretending that I'm the one who's being naïve. How big a lunatic do you have to be to watch two giant airliners packed with jet fuel slam into buildings on live TV, igniting a massive inferno that burned for two hours, and then think, 'well, if you believe that was the cause...' "[45]

On October 19, 2007 Maher had several conspiracy theorist hecklers ejected from his show audience (by Maher himself, jumping off the stage and confronting the hecklers, generating loud applause and laughter) when they interrupted the live show numerous times by calling out from the audience.[46][47] This drew significant media attention and even praise from Fox News talk show host and frequent critic John Gibson, who stated, "I bet next week I'll be angry or annoyed at something Maher says. But this week, it's hats off to Bill for a job well done."[48]

Personal life

Maher has never married. In 2003, he began dating former Playboy Cyber Girl Coco Johnsen. In November 2004, at the end of their 17-month relationship, she sued him for USD$9 million for "pain and suffering" for alleged "insulting, humiliating and degrading racial comments." Her suit[49] stated that Maher promised to marry her and father her children, support her financially, and purchase a Beverly Hills home. Her suit also alleged that she quit her job as a flight attendant and occasional model to be with him. Maher's lawyers in their response filed on November 23, 2004 in Los Angeles Superior Court said Maher is a "confirmed bachelor, and a very public one at that" who "never promised to marry [Johnsen] or to have children with her."[50]

Maher's filing stated that "When the dating ended, [Johnson] (sic) launched a campaign to embarrass, humiliate, and extort ridiculous sums of money from Bill Maher." Johnsen accused another former boyfriend of rape and kidnapping in 1997, and the charges were later dismissed for lack of evidence.[51] Her lawsuit against Maher was dismissed on May 2, 2005.

Maher likes his bachelor status and does not want to get married. On his website, he is quoted as saying, "I'm the last of my guy friends to have never gotten married, and their wives—they don't want them playing with me. I'm like the escaped slave, I bring news of freedom."[52]

In 2006, he began dating New York Times best-selling author Karrine Steffans, a writer, actress, former music video performer and hip-hop model.[53][54][55][56] Her tell-all best-selling book, Confessions of a Video Vixen, describes in detail her life as a teenaged runaway and her sexual encounters with famous rappers, actors and athletes.[54]

When a pattern was suggested because both his girlfriend and former girlfriend were black, Maher responded, "People say I'm into black women. Robert De Niro is into black women. I'm just into women who are real, and they happen to be black."[54]

Maher has been associated with the Playboy Mansion, and when asked what he liked about it, responded, "The food is out of this world!" "I get the Playboy thing a lot. People assume I go out with bimbos. I couldn't go out with bimbos if I tried! I scare them off! The women that like me are smart. So I go to the Playboy Mansion four or five times a year, but people think I go all the time."[57]

Maher holds the record for the most Emmy losses, having lost 22 of his nominations. 11 of these nominations were for Politically Incorrect, while nine were for Real Time. The other two were losses for two of his HBO comedy specials: Bill Maher: I'm Swiss and Bill Maher: The Decider.[58]

Maher currently lives in Beverly Hills and has a dog named Shadow.[59] He is dating Cara Santa Maria, who has a masters degree in neurobiology.[60][61]

Press coverage

In 1997, during filming of an episode of the game show Pictionary, Erik Estrada accidentally punched Maher in the face in a moment of exuberance.[62]

On May 3, 2005, while appearing as a guest on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Maher made controversial remarks about Michael Jackson's alleged child molestation behavior. He spoke about the lack of perspective when thinking about crimes and criminals. He noted it was only alleged that Michael Jackson "serviced" the children and not the other way around, but called it "just plain wrong." After a response from Ferguson, Maher said "Very wrong. But, you know, I remember when I was a kid. I was savagely beaten once by bullies in the schoolyard. Savagely beaten. If I had a choice between being savagely beaten and being gently masturbated by a pop star. It’s just me." Ferguson responded, "The always controversial Bill Maher, everybody," and introduced his next guest.[63]

In late May 2005, Alabama Congressman Spencer Bachus sent a letter to Time Warner's board of directors requesting Real Time be canceled after remarks Maher made about the military missing its recruiting goals by 42 percent. Maher had commented that, "more people joined the Michael Jackson fan club. We've done picked all the low-lying Lynndie England fruit, and now we need warm bodies." Bachus felt the comments were demeaning to the military and treasonous. Maher responded by reiterating his highest regard and support for the troops and asking why the Congressman criticized him instead of actually doing something about the problem.[64]

Credits

Bibliography

Filmography

HBO specials

  • One Night Stand (1989)
  • One Night Stand (1992)
  • Stuff that Struck Me Funny (1995)
  • The Golden Goose Special (1997)
  • Be More Cynical (2000)
  • Victory Begins at Home (2003)
  • I'm Swiss (2005)
  • The Decider (2007)
  • Bill Maher ... But I'm Not Wrong (2010)

Television

Special appearances

References

  1. ^ Interview with Larry King, 9-28-03
  2. ^ "Comedy Central Presents: 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time". IMDB. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0429332/. Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  3. ^ "Bill Maher Biography (1956-)". Film Reference. http://www.filmreference.com/film/32/Bill-Maher.html. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  4. ^ "Interview With Bill Maher". CNN. 2002-05-24. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0205/24/lkl.00.html. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  5. ^ http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/movies/news/bal-to.religulous03oct03,0,3004745.story
  6. ^ http://media.www.diamondbackonline.com/media/storage/paper873/news/2008/10/03/Diversions/Getting.Blasphemous.In.The.Presence.Of.Bill.Maher-3467097.shtml
  7. ^ "CNN.com — Transcripts". CNN.com. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0802/04/lkl.01.html. Retrieved 2008-02-10.  "I was a history major. I have studied history."
  8. ^ "The Big Story: Politically Incorrect". http://thebigstory.org/ov/ov-politicallyincorrect.html. Retrieved 2007-06-19. 
  9. ^ Goldberg, Danny (2002). It's a Free Country: Personal Freedom in America After September 11. RDV Books. pp. 77. ISBN 0971920605. 
  10. ^ Binelli, Mark, A Man for Our Time, http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/11128590/bill_maher_a_man_for_our_time/print, retrieved 2007-10-09 
  11. ^ Garofoli, Joe, Talk host's towering rant: S.F. not worth saving, http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/11/11/MNGFMFMNV41.DTL, retrieved 2007-10-09 
  12. ^ Navasky, Victor, Profiles in Cowardice, http://www.thenation.com/doc/20011105/navasky, retrieved 2007-10-09 
  13. ^ Tapper, Jake, The Salon Interview: Bill Maher, http://dir.salon.com/story/people/interview/2002/12/11/maher/, retrieved 2007-10-09 
  14. ^ Rush Limbaugh: Bill Maher 'was right'
  15. ^ Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer 2001-09-26
  16. ^ http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9D06E6DA1F3DF93BA25752C0A9679C8B63
  17. ^ Rutenberg, Jim. (2001-10-08.) "Bill Maher still secure in ABC slot, at least now". New York Times via nytimes.com. Retrieved on 2007-10-12.
  18. ^ a b c Halem, Dann. (2001-08-01.) "Is Bill Maher a libertarian?" Salon (news website). Retrieved on 2007-10-12.
  19. ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/21/bill-maher-democrats-have_n_218593.html
  20. ^ (2000-02-09 broadcast.) "Larry King Live: Bill Maher discusses how to be 'Politically Incorrect'; John McCain calls for a cease-fire in South Carolina". (Transcript.) Cnn.com (Caveat: "This is a rush transcript.") Retrieved on 2007-10-12.
  21. ^ (2005-08-11 broadcast.) "Larry King Live: Interview with Bill Maher". (Transcript.) Cnn.com. (Caveat: "This is a rush transcript.") Retrieved on 2007-10-09.
  22. ^ TIFF Interview: Bill Maher of 'Religulous', 14:14. Retrieved on 2008-09-08.
  23. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/02/us/convictions-intact-nader-soldiers-on.html?scp=1&sq=Maher%202000%20Bush&st=cse"
  24. ^ (2002-12-16 broadcast.) "CNN American Morning with Paula Zahn: Talk with Bill Maher". (Transcript.) Cnn.com (Caveat: "This is a rush transcript.") Retrieved on 2007-10-12.
  25. ^ Maher, Bill, I Love Being on the Side of My President, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-maher/i-love-being-on-the-side-_b_25375.html, retrieved 2007-09-25 
  26. ^ Truthdig - Ear to the Ground - Down to the Wire
  27. ^ "Real Time with Bill Maher". HBO. http://www.hbo.com/billmaher/episode/2008_09_12_ep132.html. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  28. ^ Maher, Bill (September 19, 2008). "Real Time with Bill Maher Episode 133 New Rules". HBO. http://www.hbo.com/real-time-with-bill-maher/episodes/0/133-episode/article/new-rules.html. Retrieved March 6, 2010. 
  29. ^ (2009-06-13). HBO's Bill Maher Takes On President Obama. Real Time with Bill Maher. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
  30. ^ a b (2009-06-15). Keith Olbermann: Bill Maher Talks About Taking On Obama. Countdown With Keith Olbermann. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
  31. ^ http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6980984 MSNBC Scarborough Country transcript, Feb 15, 2005
  32. ^ Is There A God? | The A.V. Club
  33. ^ Larry King Live August 11, 2005 Transcript
  34. ^ TV Guide interview
  35. ^ Bill Maher - Apatheist at RichardDawkins.net
  36. ^ CNN LARRY KING LIVE, Interview with Bill Maher, Aired February 4, 2008
  37. ^ Demara, Bruce. (2007-09-10.) "Maher preaches to the TIFF choir". The Toronto Star via thestar.com. Retrieved on 2007-10-09.
  38. ^ Jaafar, Ali and Dade Hayes. (2007-09-10.) "Toronto festival wary of serious films: 'Religulous' finds following at film fest". Variety via variety.com. Retrieved on 2007-10-09.
  39. ^ Times Online - Bill Maher: The God Botherer
  40. ^ Tonight Show with Conan O'brien
  41. ^ a b Funny but True Facts About Big Pharma, Bill Maher
  42. ^ Maher and Moore Chew (Out) the Fat; Kerry Trueman, The Huffington Post; May 30, 2007
  43. ^ http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/13/bill-maher-vs-the-flu-vaccine/
  44. ^ Needling Bill Maher; Winnipeg Sun; October 28, 2009
  45. ^ "Real Time with Bill Maher". HBO. http://www.hbo.com/billmaher/new_rules/20070914.html. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  46. ^ Maher Boots Protesters From Audience, http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/arts/AP-People-Bill-Maher.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print, retrieved 2007-10-20 
  47. ^ YouTube clip of Maher's exchange with hecklers
  48. ^ "Hat's Off to Bill Maher". Fox News Channel. 2007-10-22. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,304240,00.html. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  49. ^ "Bill Maher Hit With Palimony Suit". http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/1111041coco1.html. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  50. ^ "Bill Maher Fights Back". http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/12-1-2004-62384.asp. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  51. ^ "Bill Maher". http://www.nndb.com/people/399/000022333/. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  52. ^ "About Bill Maher". http://www.billmaher.com/. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  53. ^ Calhoune, Sandra. "Plot Summary of Confessions of A Video Vixen". http://www.allreaders.com/topics/Info_35499.asp. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  54. ^ a b c "Bill Maher — Smart, Snide, Still Single". http://www.savvyinsider.com/article.php?op=viewArticle&article_ID=305. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  55. ^ Confessions of a Video Vixen (2005) Karrine Staeffans
  56. ^ "Hip-Hop Star Karrine "Superhead" Steffans Is Star of Explicit New Vivid DVD". April 18, 2006. http://newsblaze.com/story/2006041811230100002.mwir/topstory.html. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  57. ^ "Biography for Bill Maher". http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005175/bio. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  58. ^ http://goldderby.latimes.com/awards_goldderby/2009/07/will-emmys-biggest-loser-bill-maher-ever-win.html
  59. ^ "Bill Maher on The Hour". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZhK2sb6DXc. Retrieved 2009-11-03. 
  60. ^ "NYDailyNews.com". http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2009/10/25/2009-10-25_bill_maher_is_so_in_love_he_may_even_break_his_biggest_rule__get_married.html. Retrieved 2009-11-03. 
  61. ^ "United Press International". http://www.upi.com/topic/Woody_Harrelson/photos/pg-24/. Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  62. ^ Arlene Vigoda, "Estrada decks Maher in game show finale", USA Today, August 15, 1997 http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=ufGml7lRoMc
  63. ^ National Review Online, May 4, 2005
  64. ^ FOXNews.com - Bill Maher's Remark About Army 'Borders on Treason,' Lawmaker Says - Celebrity Gossip | Entertainment News | Arts And Entertainment

External links


Bill Maher
Birth name William Maher, Jr.
Born January 20, 1956 (1956-01-20) (age 55)
New York, New York, U.S.
Medium Stand-Up, Television, Film, Books
Nationality American
Years active 1979 – present
Genres Political satire, Observational comedy
Subject(s) American politics, current events, American culture, pop culture, freedom of speech, environmentalism, religion, human sexuality, recreational drug use, libertarianism, American liberalism
Influences Steve Allen, George Carlin, Johnny Carson, David Frost, Robert Klein, Don Rickles, Gore Vidal, Lenny Bruce
Notable works and roles Host of Politically Incorrect
Host of Real Time with Bill Maher
Website www.BillMaher.com

William "Bill" Maher, Jr. (pronounced /ˈmɑr/; born January 20, 1956) is an American stand-up comedian, television host, social critic, political commentator, author, and actor. Before his current role as the host of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, Maher hosted a similar late-night talk show called Politically Incorrect originally on Comedy Central and later on ABC.

Maher is known for his political satire and sociopolitical commentary, which targets a wide swath of topics: religion, politics, bureaucracies of many kinds, political correctness, the mass media, greed among people and persons in positions of high political and social power, the lack of intellectual curiosity of the electorate, among many topics. He supports the legalization of marijuana and gay marriage and serves on the board of PETA.[1] He is also a critic of religion and is an advisory board member of Project Reason, a foundation aiming to promote scientific knowledge and secular values within society.[2] Maher currently ranks number 38 on Comedy Central's 100 greatest stand-ups of all time.[3] Bill Maher got his Hollywood Walk of Fame star on September 14, 2010. His is the 2,417th star dedicated on the famous sidewalk.

Contents

Early life and education

Maher was born in New York City, the son of Julie (née Berman), a nurse, and William Maher, Sr., a network news editor and radio announcer.[4] He was raised in his Irish American father's Catholic religion, remaining unaware that his mother was Jewish until his early teenage years.[5] He subsequently has self-identified himself as ethnically half-Jewish.[6][7] Maher's family stopped attending church services when Maher was thirteen, due to his father's disagreement with the Catholic Church's position on birth control.[8][dead link][9]

Maher was raised in River Vale, New Jersey, and graduated from Pascack Hills High School in Montvale. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English and History from Cornell University in 1978.[10]

Maher began his career as a stand-up comedian and actor, and he continues to act and tour occasionally. He was host of the New York City comedy club Catch a Rising Star in 1979. Thanks to Steve Allen, he began appearing on Johnny Carson's and David Letterman's shows in 1982. He made limited television appearances, including two separate appearances on Murder, She Wrote — notably, as Maher likes to point out, as two different characters. He has also appeared in several films, usually in a comic role. His feature film debut was in D.C. Cab (1983), and he has also appeared in Ratboy (1986), Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death (1988), and Pizza Man (1991), among others.

Television career

Politically Incorrect

Maher rose to prominence as the host of Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, a late-night political talk show that ran from 1993-1997 on Comedy Central and later on ABC, until it was ultimately cancelled in June 2002. The show typically began with a topical monologue from Maher preceding the introduction of four guests, usually a diverse group of individuals from show business, popular culture, political pundits, political consultants, authors, and occasionally news figures. The group would then discuss topical issues selected by Maher, who, too, actively participated in discussions.[11] Jerry Seinfeld, a regular guest on the show, stated that Politically Incorrect reminded him of talk shows from the 1950s and 60s "when guests interacted with eachother as much as with the host." Maher has described the show as "The McLaughlin group on acid."[12]

Politically Incorrect has won an array of awards, including an Emmy Award for Oustanding Technical Direction, two CableACE awards for Best Talk Show Series, and a Genesis Award for Best Television Talk Show. Maher has earned numerous award nominations for his producing, writing and hosting of Politically Incorrect, including ten Emmy nominations, two TV Guide nominations, and two Writers Guild nominations.[13]

ABC decided against renewing Maher's contract for Politically Incorrect in 2002, after he made a controversial on-air remark shortly after the September 11th attacks,[14] whereby he agreed with his guest, conservative pundit Dinesh D'Souza, that the 9/11 terrorists did not act in a cowardly manner. Maher replied, "We have been the cowards. Lobbing cruise missiles from two thousand miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building. Say what you want about it. Not cowardly. You're right." Maher later clarified that his comment was not anti-military in any way whatsoever, referencing his well-documented longstanding support for the American military.[15][16][17][18][19]

In the context of the sensitive aftermath of the attacks, such a remark was deemed too controversial for some corporate advertisers. Although some pundits, including conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, came to Maher's defense in pointing out the distinction between physical and moral cowardice,[20] several companies including FedEx and Sears Roebuck pulled their advertisements from the show, costing the show more than it returned. Ari Fleischer, the then White House Press Secretary for the Bush Administration, addressed the issue in response to a reporter's question about Maher's remark during a daily press briefing: "...they're reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do. This is not a time for remarks like that..."[21]

The show was finally cancelled on June 16, 2002, despite the fact that the Sinclair Broadcast Group had dropped the show from its ABC affiliated stations months prior. On June 22, 2002, just six days after the cancellation of Politically Incorrect, Maher received the President's Award (for "championing free speech") from the Los Angeles Press Club. Maher has also sat on the board of judges for the PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award.

Maher's remarks on the cowardice of terrorists was not the first time he had sparked controversy on Politically Incorrect. In the same year, Maher was widely criticized for comparing dogs to retarded children: "But I've often said that if I had — I have two dogs — if I had two retarded children, I'd be a hero. And yet the dogs, which are pretty much the same thing. What? They're sweet. They're loving. They're kind, but they don't mentally advance at all.... Dogs are like retarded children." When another guest told him that her nephew was retarded and that she didn't think of him as a dog, he responded with "Maybe you should." He later apologized, stating "I make no excuses. I was wrong and what I said was hurtful to people and I feel terrible about it."[22]

Real Time with Bill Maher

In 2003, Maher became the host, co-producer and co-writer of Real Time with Bill Maher, a weekly hour-long political comedy talk show on the cable television network HBO. During an interview, Maher told Terry Gross (on NPR's Fresh Air) that he much prefers having more serious and well-informed guests on his program, as opposed to the random celebrities that fleshed out his roundtable discussions on Politically Incorrect.[23]

As with his previous show, Politically Incorrect, Maher begins Real Time with a comic opening monologue based upon current events and other topical issues. Unlike his previous show, however, Maher proceeds to a one-on-one interview with a guest, either in-studio or via satellite. Following the interview, Maher sits down with three panelists, usually consisting of pundits, authors, activists and journalists, for a discussion of the week's events. In the segment New Rules at the end of each show, Maher delivers a humorous editorial on popular culture and American politics.

In late May 2005, Alabama Congressman Spencer Bachus sent a letter to Time Warner's board of directors requesting Real Time be canceled after remarks Maher made about the military missing its recruiting goals by 42 percent. Maher had commented that, "more people joined the Michael Jackson fan club. We've done picked all the low-lying Lynndie England fruit, and now we need warm bodies." Bachus felt the comments were demeaning to the military and treasonous. Maher responded by reiterating his highest regard and support for the troops and asking why the Congressman criticized him instead of actually doing something about the problem.[24]

Real Time has earned widespread praise. It has been nominated for more than ten Primetime Emmy Awards and six Writer's Guild awards. In 2007, Maher and his co-producers were awarded the Television Producer of the Year Award in Variety Television.[25] Larry King has called Real Time "one of the best shows on television."[26]

In early 2006, Real Time was released as an audio CD, along with another CD entitled Bill Maher's New Rules which features clips, segments and teasers from Real Time. Starting with Episode 67 (2-23-06) Real Time became available in the USA on iTunes as a free weekly audio podcast.

Political commentator

Maher is a frequent commentator on various cable news networks, namely CNN, MSNBC, and HLN.

Maher hosted the January 13, 2006 edition of Larry King Live, on which he is a frequent guest. Maher also appeared as a special guest on the June 29, 2010 edition of the show, on which veteran CNN anchor Larry King announced his retirement.[27]

Maher regularly appears on CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer and is also a frequent guest on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, The Rachel Maddow Show and Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Maher has also appeared as a guest on HLN's The Joy Behar Show.

Since May 2005, he has been a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post.

Other

In 1997, during filming of an episode of the game show Pictionary, Erik Estrada accidentally punched Maher in the face in a moment of exuberance.[28]

On May 3, 2005, while appearing as a guest on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Maher made controversial remarks about Michael Jackson's alleged child molestation behavior. He spoke about the lack of perspective when thinking about crimes and criminals. He noted it was only alleged that Michael Jackson "serviced" the children and not the other way around, but called it "just plain wrong." After a response from Ferguson, Maher said "Very wrong. But, you know, I remember when I was a kid. I was savagely beaten once by bullies in the schoolyard. Savagely beaten. If I had a choice between being savagely beaten and being gently masturbated by a pop star. It’s just me." Ferguson responded, "The always controversial Bill Maher, everybody," and introduced his next guest.[29]

Views and beliefs

Politics

File:Bill Maher and Ingrid Newkirk by David
Maher and Ingrid Newkirk, founder of PETA. Maher is on the board of directors of the animal rights group.

Maher has described himself as a libertarian[30] and believes that, "government is really there to do the things that people absolutely can't do for themselves";[31] however, journalist Dann Halem has questioned Maher's libertarianism, describing him more as a liberal.[31] Maher has also called for the creation of a new progressive party "to represent the millions of Americans who aren't being served by the Democrats."[32]

Maher favors a partial privatization of Social Security, ending corporate welfare and federal funding of non-profits, and legalization of gambling, prostitution, and marijuana. Maher is a member of NORML's Advisory Board, an organization which supports regulated legalization of marijuana, and is an open marijuana user. Additionally, Maher describes himself as an environmentalist, and he frequently alludes to the topic of global warming on his show Real Time. Moreover, he is highly suspicious of corporations and often criticizes figures with close ties to industry.[31]

He supported Bob Dole in the 1996 U.S. presidential election on the basis that Dole was a war hero[33] and the kind of "old-fashioned" Republican he admired. In 2000, he told Libertarian Party candidate Harry Browne at the end of a Browne appearance on Politically Incorrect that Browne would have his vote, but ultimately he said he instead voted for Ralph Nader in the 2000 U.S. presidential election.

Maher is a board member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. He has expressed his distaste for the pharmaceutical and health care industries in general, on the grounds that they make their money out of curing people who are made sick by consuming unhealthy food that society urges upon the public. He maintains that mass consumption of high-fructose corn syrup is a contributor to the American obesity epidemic. On the August 11, 2005, episode of Larry King Live, Maher said he was not a vegetarian, adding "...but I don't eat a lot of meat."[34] Maher has stated that he has a "very eccentric diet."[35]

Before the 2004 U.S. presidential election, Maher became very forthright in his opposition to the re-election of George W. Bush and in his support for John Kerry as the best candidate to defeat Bush, going so far as to publicly kneel on his show, with director Michael Moore, and beg Ralph Nader to drop out of the race.[36] Maher often says that the word "liberal" has been unfairly demonized, and during the elections he criticized Kerry for being ashamed of the word. Another word that Maher claims has been unfairly demonized by the right-wing is 'elite'. On his show the comedian has highlighted the hypocrisy of distrusting elite politicians while at the same time wanting elite doctors to treat you and elite lawyers to represent you in court.[37] As Maher supports the death penalty, the legality of abortion and euthanasia, he often states his position humorously as "pro-death." Since 9/11 he has stated his endorsement of racial profiling at airports.[38]

While discussing FEMA's failure regarding Hurricane Katrina, Maher suggested it was a failure of "federal responsibility" and faulted President Bush with negligence.

He was originally against the Iraq War but briefly offered less skeptical commentary in light of the Iraqi election of 2005. Maher now views the Iraq War as a failure and implied on the February 24, 2006, episode of Real Time that Iraq was better off under Saddam Hussein and that the U.S. cannot control the sectarian violence like Saddam did. He has said the invasion of Iraq has increased the threat of terrorism. He has also stated his concerns about the possibility of a future civil war in Iraq or about the possibility that Iraq is already involved in the early stages of a civil war. Maher's general view on the Iraq war is that even if it turned out a success in the end, the price America and the world had to pay and are still paying for that success is far too great. In an interview promoting Religulous Maher stated: "People say 'The surge worked now, we got rid of Saddam.' But the cost was 4000 American lives, untold Iraqi lives, ethnic cleansing, four million refugees, a trillion dollars and counting of U.S. money that could've rebuilt every road, bridge and school in America, started a Manhattan project for energy alternatives, given health care to everybody... did the surge work compared to that?" [1]

In a blog post, Maher has indicated his approval of President Bush's support of Israel.[39]

In the 2008 U.S. presidential election, Maher announced his support for Barack Obama.[40] Maher was very critical of John McCain, whom he supported in the 2000 primaries, and Sarah Palin. He called Palin an "extremist" who was completely unqualified for the presidency. Maher was also very critical of the situation involving the pregnancy of Palin's 17-year-old daughter, whom Maher said was being forced into a loveless marriage and remarked that Republicans would have "screamed bloody murder" if a Democratic candidate had a similar family situation. He also called Palin a "Category 5 moron" who was not even qualified to be the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska.[41]

On September 12, 2008, Maher continued his criticism of the Palins by launching a website called freelevi.org (no longer active). On the site, Maher declared that Levi Johnston, the father of Bristol Palin's unborn child, was "America's number one political prisoner" and offered to turn control of the site over to Levi should Johnston wish to use the site as a way of raising money to purchase his freedom.[42]

Maher welcomed Obama's electoral victory. In June 2009, Maher voiced criticisms of Obama, stating that he wasn't being aggressive enough in tackling the big issues like health care reform, the banking crisis and energy legislation. With the Democrats controlling both Houses of Congress and the Executive Branch, Maher argued that significant health care reform should be accomplished within the first year or two of Obama's presidency, before the mid-term elections.[43][44]

Religion

Maher is highly critical of religion, which he often describes as a neurological disorder that justifies "crazies" and stops people from thinking logically.[45] In two separate appearances on Real Time, comedian George Carlin and Maher argued that religion is a cause of many of society's problems and that the practices of religion are mired in hypocrisy. Maher credited Carlin's views as inspiration for him to speak out against religion.

Maher has said many times that religion works under the guise of morality but that its tenets generally have nothing to do with morality, that religious prohibitions are being confused with moral law. In Maher's view, just because a religion prohibits abortion or decries homosexuality, that does not mean that having an abortion or having homosexual sex are immoral acts. Instead, Maher argues that an immoral person is one who harms others through activities such as murder, rape, or greed.

Maher opposes religious monuments, such as the Ten Commandments, being placed in or near court houses, pointing out that this violates the separation of church and state and the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution. He has countered the assertion of conservative Christians who claim that American law is based on the Ten Commandments by saying that of the ten, only two (the prohibitions on murder and theft) apply to American law. The other commandments, he argues, such as honoring no god before the Judeo-Christian God, keeping Sabbath holy, or honoring thy mother and thy father, are not American laws at all. He even humorously stated while committing adultery wasn't a crime, you could get impeached for it (alluding to the Monica Lewinsky scandal). In answer to the suggestion that a divine moral authority is necessary, he suggests "Couldn't we just get together and agree on the few basic Commandments that are laws? Like 'I won't slaughter you, and don't take my shit.'"

Maher has stated on Politically Incorrect, Real Time, and in several appearances on Larry King Live, viewpoints that can variously be interpreted as a kind of deism or agnosticism. He has also stated that religion is nothing more than tradition and superstition. In 2002, he told the Onion AV Club, "I'm not an atheist. There's a really big difference between an atheist and someone who just doesn't believe in religion. Religion to me is a bureaucracy between man and God that I don't need. But I'm not an atheist, no. I believe there's some force. If you want to call it God... I don't believe God is a single parent who writes books."[46] He asserts that religion provides answers to questions that "cannot possibly be answered." Questions such as "Where do I go when I die?" or "Is there a heaven?", he says, are impossible to answer. By claiming to have the answers, Maher argues, religion is dishonest and it "stops people from thinking."

During Maher's appearance on Larry King Live on August 11, 2005, he said, "I'm not convinced that God exists. But I do allow the possibility. I'm not an atheist. I'm open." The following exchange also occurred on that program:

CALLER: "Hi. Well, my question is, the Lord spoke to me approximately three years ago, and if the Lord spoke to you, I was wondering if you'd become a believer."
MAHER: "No, I'd check into Bellevue, which is what you should do..."[47]

[[File:|right|thumb|Maher with evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins.]] During an interview with TV Guide, Maher was asked his opinion of Sherri Shepherd, co-host of ABC's The View. He responded with, "Sherri Shepherd! The one who said the Earth isn’t round? First, we know it’s round because, like Sherri Shepherd, we can see it from space. Secondly, to me this is child abuse. If you [can't] tell your children if the Earth is flat or not…this is why this country is in such trouble. We’re bringing up ignorant children because they have ignorant parents." These comments were in reference to a segment on The View in which Whoopi Goldberg asked Shepherd if she believed that the Earth was flat, to which Shepherd responded, "I don't know."[48]

Maher then explained that certainty in one's religious belief is absurd, using the example of Scientology: "You [a Scientologist], like all religious people, have a neurological disorder. And the only reason why people think it's sane is because so many other people believe the same thing. It's sanity by consensus."

Maher declared himself an apatheist instead of an agnostic on Scarborough Country on April 24, 2007.[49]

On August 15, 2007, on Larry King Live, he stated that it was impossible to know what happens after death. He compared Christian promises of an afterlife with the promises made by politicians trying to get elected.

On a February 4, 2008, episode of Larry King Live, Maher issued a comment calling all people of the Mormon faith "shape shifters."[50]

Maher is an advisory board member of author Sam Harris's The Reason Project.

Maher and director Larry Charles teamed up to make the feature film Religulous, described by trade publication Variety as a documentary "that spoofs religious extremism across the world." It was released on October 3, 2008.[51][52]

In a 2010 interview with Times Online Maher noted, "I'm not an atheist, though, because the belief that there is no God only mirrors the certitude of religion. No, I'm saying that doubt is the only appropriate response for human beings."[53] However, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Maher referred to himself as an "outspoken atheist".[54]

On the September 14, 2010 edition of Larry King Live, Maher stated, "I'm against building mosques, churches, synagogues, temples anywhere, because I'm an atheist and I think these are places that perpetuate mass delusion.[55]

Health care

Maher has stated that the AMA is a powerful lobbying group and one of the primary reasons why the United States has failed to enact health care reform.[44]

On August 24, 2009, Maher was a guest on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien and on the topic of getting universal health care legislation passed, Maher stated that Obama should forget about trying to get 60 votes for it, "he only needs 51." "Forget getting the sixty votes or sixty percent — sixty percent of people don't believe in evolution in this country — he just needs to drag them to it, like I said, they're stupid; get health care done, with or without them."[56]

Bill Maher has expressed the view that most illness is generally the result of poor diet and that medicine is often not the best way of addressing illness.[57] In an episode of the show about the 2008 presidential candidates' health plans, Maher stated that poor nutrition is the primary cause of illness, and he went on to say that “the answer isn’t another pill.”[57]

In a discussion with Michael Moore about the film Sicko, Maher asks, "The human body is pretty amazing; it doesn't get sick, usually, for no reason. I mean, there's some genetic stuff that can get to you, but, basically, people are sick in this country because they're poisoned. The environment is a poisoning factor, but also, we gotta say, they poison themselves. They eat shit. People eat shit, and that's, to my way of thinking, about 90 percent of why people are sick, is because they eat shit. Would you agree?"[58]

In October 9, 2009, on his HBO show, Maher debated the effectiveness of flu vaccinations with Bill Frist and stated, "Why would you let them be the ones to stick a disease into your arm? I would never get a swine flu vaccine or any vaccine. I don’t trust the government, especially with my health." Maher also expressed skepticism about the seriousness of the swine flu and whether completely healthy people could die from it. His comments have generated criticism, and his remarks have been called unscientific and even harmful.[59]

Maher responded to the criticism, noting, "What I've read about what they think I'm saying is not what I've said. I'm not a germ theory denier. I believe vaccinations can work. Polio is a good example. Do I think in certain situations that inoculating Third World children against malaria or diphtheria, or whatever, is right? Of course. In a situation like that, the benefits outweigh costs. But to me living in Los Angeles? To get a flu shot? No."[60] (see Vaccine controversy)

Criticism of 9/11 conspiracy theories

Maher has been a critic of 9/11 conspiracy theories, stating for instance on the September 14, 2007, edition of Real Time, "Crazy people who still think the government brought down the Twin Towers in a controlled explosion have to stop pretending that I'm the one who's being naïve. How big a lunatic do you have to be to watch two giant airliners packed with jet fuel slam into buildings on live TV, igniting a massive inferno that burned for two hours, and then think, 'well, if you believe that was the cause...' "[61]

On October 19, 2007, Maher had several conspiracy theorist hecklers ejected from his show audience (by Maher himself, jumping off the stage and confronting the hecklers, generating loud applause and laughter) when they interrupted the live show numerous times by calling out from the audience.[62][dead link][63] This drew significant media attention and even praise from Fox News talk show host and frequent critic John Gibson, who stated, "I bet next week I'll be angry or annoyed at something Maher says. But this week, it's hats off to Bill for a job well done."[64]

Personal life

Maher has never married. In 2003, he began dating former Playboy Cyber Girl Coco Johnsen. In November 2004, at the end of their 17-month relationship, she sued him for USD$9 million for "pain and suffering" for alleged "insulting, humiliating and degrading racial comments." Her suit[65] stated that Maher promised to marry her and father her children, support her financially, and purchase a Beverly Hills home. Her suit also alleged that she quit her job as a flight attendant and occasional model to be with him. Maher's lawyers in their response filed on November 23, 2004, in Los Angeles Superior Court said Maher is a "confirmed bachelor, and a very public one at that" who "never promised to marry [Johnsen] or to have children with her."[66]

Maher's filing stated that "When the dating ended, [Johnson] (sic) launched a campaign to embarrass, humiliate, and extort ridiculous sums of money from Bill Maher." Johnsen accused another former boyfriend of rape and kidnapping in 1997, and the charges were later dismissed for lack of evidence.[67] Her lawsuit against Maher was dismissed on May 2, 2005.

[[File:|thumb|right|Maher next to his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in September 2010]] Maher likes his bachelor status and states that he does not want to get married. On his website, he is quoted as saying, "I'm the last of my guy friends to have never gotten married, and their wives — they don't want them playing with me. I'm like the escaped slave — I bring news of freedom."[68]

In 2005, he began dating New York Times best-selling author Karrine Steffans, an actress, former music video performer and hip-hop model.[69][70][71][72]

When a pattern was suggested because both his girlfriend and former girlfriend were black, Maher responded, "People say I'm into black women. Robert De Niro is into black women. I'm just into women who are real, and they happen to be black."[70]

Maher has been associated with the Playboy Mansion and, when asked what he liked about it, responded, "The food is out of this world!" "I get the Playboy thing a lot. People assume I go out with bimbos. I couldn't go out with bimbos if I tried! I scare them off! The women that like me are smart. So I go to the Playboy Mansion four or five times a year, but people think I go all the time."[73]

Maher holds the record for the most Emmy nominations without a win, having been nominated on 22 occasions and not winning once. Eleven of these nominations were for Politically Incorrect, while nine were for Real Time. The other two were nominations for two of his HBO comedy specials: Bill Maher: I'm Swiss and Bill Maher: The Decider.[74]

Maher lives in Beverly Hills.[75] As of 2009, he is dating Cara Santa Maria, who has a masters degree in neurobiology.[76][77]

Credits

Bibliography

Filmography

Film
Year Title Role
1983 D.C. Cab Bob
1986 Rags to Riches Freddie
Club Med Rick
Ratboy Party Guest
1987 House II: The Second Story John
1988 Out of Time Maxwell Taylor
1989 Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death Jim
1991 Pizza Man Emlo Bunn
1996 Don't Quit Your Day Job! Comic's Table
1997 Bimbo Movie Bash Unknown
1998 EDtv Himself
2001 Tomcats Carlos
2005 The Aristocrats Himself
2008 Swing Vote (2008 film) Himself
Religulous Himself
2009 New Rules: Best of Himself
2010 Sex, Drugs & Religion (2010) Himself
HBO Specials
Year Title Role
1989 One Night Stand Himself
1992 One Night Stand Himself
1995 Stuff that Struck Me Funny Himself
1997 The Golden Goose Special Himself
2000 Be More Cynical Himself
2003 Victory Begins at Home Himself
2005 I'm Swiss Himself
2007 The Decider Himself
2010 But I'm Not Wrong Himself
Television
Year Title Role
1985 Sara Marty Lang
Roseanne Photographer
1987 Hard Knocks Unknown
Max Headroom' Haskel
1989-90 Murder, She Wrote (2 episodes)
1990 The Midnight Hour Host
1991 Charlie Hoover Elliot
1992 Say What? Host
1993 Married... with Children Adam Gold
1994–2002 Politically Incorrect Host
2002 Just for Laughs' Himself
2003–present Real Time with Bill Maher Host
2010 The Boondocks Himself

References

  1. ^ "Interview with Larry King, 9-28-03". CNN. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0308/28/lkl.00.html. "Larry, I'm a PETA board member." 
  2. ^ University of California - Los Angeles (11 October 2010). "Where Religious Belief And Disbelief Meet". ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091005092302.htm. 
  3. ^ "Comedy Central Presents: 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time". IMDB. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0429332/. Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  4. ^ "Bill Maher Biography (1956-)". Film Reference. http://www.filmreference.com/film/32/Bill-Maher.html. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  5. ^ "Interview With Bill Maher". CNN. 2002-05-24. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0205/24/lkl.00.html. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  6. ^ King, Larry (May 24, 2002). "CNN LARRY KING LIVE Interview With Bill Maher". CNN. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0205/24/lkl.00.html. Retrieved April 23, 2010. "But I never even knew I was half-Jewish until I was a teenager." 
  7. ^ Carlin-McCall, Kelly (November/December 2008). "The Real Bill". Irish America magazine. http://www.irishabroad.com/irishworld/irishamericamag/octnov08/features/bill-maher-octnov08.asp. Retrieved April 23, 2010. "So the fact that I’m half Irish and half Jewish, they both contributed to a sense of humor." 
  8. ^ Baltimore Sun
  9. ^ Getting Blasphemous in the Presence of Bill Maher
  10. ^ "CNN.com — Transcripts". CNN.com. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0802/04/lkl.01.html. Retrieved 2008-02-10.  "I was a history major. I have studied history."
  11. ^ Carter, Bill (1994-02-27). "TELEVISION; Lots of Political Humor, and No Morton Kondracke". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1994/02/27/arts/television-lots-of-political-humor-and-no-morton-kondracke.html?n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/People/M/Maher,%20Bill. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  12. ^ Hart, Hugh (1995-08-10). "Talking Issues". Chicago Tribune. http://www.nytimes.com/1994/02/27/arts/television-lots-of-political-humor-and-no-morton-kondracke.html?n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/People/M/Maher,%20Bill. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  13. ^ "Awards for "Politically Incorrect"". IMDb. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108897/awards. Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  14. ^ "The Big Story: Politically Incorrect". http://thebigstory.org/ov/ov-politicallyincorrect.html. Retrieved 2007-06-19. 
  15. ^ Goldberg, Danny (2002). It's a Free Country: Personal Freedom in America After September 11. RDV Books. pp. 77. ISBN 0971920605. 
  16. ^ Binelli, Mark. A Man for Our Time. Rolling Stone Australia. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/11128590/bill_maher_a_man_for_our_time/print. Retrieved 2007-10-09 
  17. ^ Garofoli, Joe. Talk host's towering rant: S.F. not worth saving. San Francisco Chronicle. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/11/11/MNGFMFMNV41.DTL. Retrieved 2007-10-09 
  18. ^ Navasky, Victor. Profiles in Cowardice. The Nation. http://www.thenation.com/doc/20011105/navasky. Retrieved 2007-10-09 
  19. ^ Tapper, Jake. "The Salon Interview: Bill Maher". http://dir.salon.com/story/people/interview/2002/12/11/maher/. Retrieved 2007-10-09 
  20. ^ Rush Limbaugh: Bill Maher 'was right'
  21. ^ Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer 2001-09-26
  22. ^ "TV Host's Words Draw Criticism and Apology". The New York Times. 2001-01-18. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9D06E6DA1F3DF93BA25752C0A9679C8B63. Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  23. ^ "Bill Maher: Four More Years". NPR. 2005-02-08. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4490632. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  24. ^ FOXNews.com - Bill Maher's Remark About Army 'Borders on Treason,' Lawmaker Says - Celebrity Gossip | Entertainment News | Arts And Entertainment
  25. ^ "Real Time with Bill Maher - Awards & Nominations". IMDB. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0350448/awards. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  26. ^ "CNN.com - Transcripts". Transcripts.cnn.com. 2004-11-23. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0411/23/lkl.01.html. Retrieved 2010-08-10. 
  27. ^ "Bill Maher helps Larry King say goodbye". Mediaite. http://www.mediaite.com/tv/bill-maher-helps-larry-king-say-goodbye/. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  28. ^ Arlene Vigoda, "Estrada decks Maher in game show finale", USA Today, August 15, 1997 http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=ufGml7lRoMc
  29. ^ National Review Online, May 4, 2005
  30. ^ Rutenberg, Jim. (2001-10-08.) "Bill Maher still secure in ABC slot, at least now". New York Times via nytimes.com. Retrieved on 2007-10-12.
  31. ^ a b c Halem, Dann. (2001-08-01.) "Is Bill Maher a libertarian?" Salon (news website). Retrieved on 2007-10-12.
  32. ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/21/bill-maher-democrats-have_n_218593.html
  33. ^ (2000-02-09 broadcast.) "Larry King Live: Bill Maher discusses how to be 'Politically Incorrect'; John McCain calls for a cease-fire in South Carolina". (Transcript.) Cnn.com (Caveat: "This is a rush transcript.") Retrieved on 2007-10-12.
  34. ^ (2005-08-11 broadcast.) "Larry King Live: Interview with Bill Maher". (Transcript.) Cnn.com. (Caveat: "This is a rush transcript.") Retrieved on 2007-10-09.
  35. ^ TIFF Interview: Bill Maher of 'Religulous', 14:14. Retrieved on 2008-09-08.
  36. ^ Seelye, Katharine Q. (2004-08-02). " "Convictions Intact, Nader Soldiers On". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/02/us/convictions-intact-nader-soldiers-on.html?scp=1&sq=Maher%202000%20Bush&st=cse". Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  37. ^ Say it loud: I'm elite and proud! Salon; April 13, 2007
  38. ^ (2002-12-16 broadcast.) "CNN American Morning with Paula Zahn: Talk with Bill Maher". (Transcript.) Cnn.com (Caveat: "This is a rush transcript.") Retrieved on 2007-10-12.
  39. ^ Maher, Bill. I Love Being on the Side of My President. The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-maher/i-love-being-on-the-side-_b_25375.html. Retrieved 2007-09-25 
  40. ^ Truthdig - Ear to the Ground - Down to the Wire
  41. ^ "Real Time with Bill Maher". HBO. http://www.hbo.com/billmaher/episode/2008_09_12_ep132.html. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  42. ^ Maher, Bill (September 19, 2008). "Real Time with Bill Maher Episode 133 New Rules". HBO. http://www.hbo.com/real-time-with-bill-maher/episodes/0/133-episode/article/new-rules.html. Retrieved March 6, 2010. 
  43. ^ (2009-06-13). HBO's Bill Maher Takes On President Obama. Real Time with Bill Maher. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
  44. ^ a b (2009-06-15). Keith Olbermann: Bill Maher Talks About Taking On Obama. Countdown With Keith Olbermann. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
  45. ^ http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6980984 MSNBC Scarborough Country transcript, Feb 15, 2005
  46. ^ Is There A God? | The A.V. Club
  47. ^ Larry King Live August 11, 2005 Transcript
  48. ^ TV Guide interview
  49. ^ Bill Maher - Apatheist at RichardDawkins.net
  50. ^ CNN LARRY KING LIVE, Interview with Bill Maher, aired February 4, 2008
  51. ^ Demara, Bruce. (2007-09-10.) "Maher preaches to the TIFF choir". The Toronto Star via thestar.com. Retrieved on 2007-10-09.
  52. ^ Jaafar, Ali and Dade Hayes. (2007-09-10.) "Toronto festival wary of serious films: 'Religulous' finds following at film fest". Variety via variety.com. Retrieved on 2007-10-09.
  53. ^ Times Online - Bill Maher: The God Botherer
  54. ^ http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/television/news/e3ia02b5fdf7bb7dfc1fd30562ac664cd34
  55. ^ CNN - Larry King Live; Interview With Bill Maher September 14, 2010
  56. ^ Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien
  57. ^ a b Funny but True Facts About Big Pharma, Bill Maher
  58. ^ Maher and Moore Chew (Out) the Fat; Kerry Trueman, The Huffington Post; May 30, 2007
  59. ^ Parker-Pope, Tara (2009-10-13). "Bill Maher vs. the Flu Vaccine". The New York Times. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/13/bill-maher-vs-the-flu-vaccine/. Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  60. ^ Needling Bill Maher; Winnipeg Sun; October 28, 2009
  61. ^ "Real Time with Bill Maher". HBO. http://www.hbo.com/billmaher/new_rules/20070914.html. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  62. ^ "Maher Boots Protesters From Audience". The New York Times (The New York Times). http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/arts/AP-People-Bill-Maher.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print. Retrieved 2007-10-20 
  63. ^ YouTube clip of Maher's exchange with hecklers
  64. ^ "Hat's Off to Bill Maher". Fox News Channel. 2007-10-22. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,304240,00.html. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  65. ^ "Bill Maher Hit With Palimony Suit". http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/1111041coco1.html. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  66. ^ "Bill Maher Fights Back". http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/12-1-2004-62384.asp. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  67. ^ "Bill Maher". http://www.nndb.com/people/399/000022333/. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  68. ^ "About Bill Maher". http://www.billmaher.com/. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  69. ^ Calhoune, Sandra. "Plot Summary of Confessions of A Video Vixen". http://www.allreaders.com/topics/Info_35499.asp. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  70. ^ a b "Bill Maher — Smart, Snide, Still Single". http://www.savvyinsider.com/article.php?op=viewArticle&article_ID=305. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  71. ^ Confessions of a Video Vixen (2005) Karrine Staeffans
  72. ^ A Bawdy Lifestyle, and How to Shake It Washington Post; July 28, 2005
  73. ^ "Biography for Bill Maher". http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005175/bio. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  74. ^ "Gold Derby". The Los Angeles Times. 2009-07-20. http://goldderby.latimes.com/awards_goldderby/2009/07/will-emmys-biggest-loser-bill-maher-ever-win.html. 
  75. ^ "Bill Maher on The Hour". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZhK2sb6DXc. Retrieved 2009-11-03. 
  76. ^ "NYDailyNews.com". Daily News (New York). 2009-10-26. http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2009/10/25/2009-10-25_bill_maher_is_so_in_love_he_may_even_break_his_biggest_rule__get_married.html. Retrieved 2009-11-03. 
  77. ^ "United Press International". http://www.upi.com/topic/Woody_Harrelson/photos/pg-24/. Retrieved 2009-11-12. 

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The problem is that the people with the most ridiculous ideas are always the people who are most certain of them.

William Maher, Jr. (born 20 January 1956) is an American comedian, actor, writer and producer. He regularly hosts the HBO series Real Time With Bill Maher.

Contents

Sourced

I'll clue you in on a secret: death is not the worst thing that could happen to you. I know we think that; we are the first society ever to think that. It's not worse than dishonor; it's not worse than losing your freedom; its not worse than losing a sense of personal responsibility.
  • Jesus is great — is there a better role model? No. It's religion, it's the people who get in between — the bureaucracy, you know. ... It's the way people abuse Jesus. Was there ever a greater victim of name dropping?
  • 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, that's not cowardly. Stupid maybe, but not cowardly.
  • I think we need to change that old saying, "I don't need a building to fall on me." Because two did and we still don't get it. I think we all stick our head in the sand as a deep human impulse.
    • When You Ride Alone You Ride with Bin Laden: What the Government Should Be Telling Us to Help Fight the War on Terrorism (2002)
  • Government — they used to teach it in college. It's actually something you should study and learn and know how to do. The Republicans always run on the idea that government isn't very effective. Well, not the way you do it. But it can be effective.
  • If I thought the Lord was speaking to me I'd check myself into Bellevue, and I think you should too.

The Golden Goose Special (1997)

  • Sex is too easy for women to get, and too hard for men. I mean, honestly, for a man to walk into someplace and have every woman ready to take him home, he'd have to rule the world. A woman would have to do her hair.
  • We don't like mystery. You like mystery, 'cause it's not a mystery to you; you know when you're gonna get laid.
  • The thing I don't understand about homosexuals is, how do they decide which one is the one whose supposed to pretend they don't want it?
  • I am so tired of rearranging my life around what the stupidest people might do.

Be More Cynical (2000)

  • Please stop assuming that longevity and perfect health is always the correct option. No. Sometimes fun costs ya. It just does, you know? And that's OK, you're willing to make that purchase. Sammy Davis, Jr. was 64 when he died. Give me 64 Sammy-years, I'll be happy.
  • If ketchup had 1/20th of the carcinogens in a cigarette they'd rip it off the shelves tomorrow, so the government is full of shit when they tell you that they care about you.
  • I'll clue you in on a secret: death is not the worst thing that could happen to you. I know we think that; we are the first society ever to think that. It's not worse than dishonor; it's not worse than losing your freedom; its not worse than losing a sense of personal responsibility.
  • We're so inconsistent about what we let kill ya. "Smoking? Must be eradicated. Marijuana? Zero tolerance." But there's lots of ways to kill yourself. You know what I think kills you? Stress, and never getting laid, and, uh, McDonalds, and staying mad at people, and lying for a living, and three-martini lunches, and the all-American breakfast, and whatever shit Elvis was doing.
  • I'm a libertarian, which means I'm against the government doing almost anything. But citizens having arsenals? No, that is the kind of rough stuff I would like the government to get involved in....It just seems the debate, — you know, they will not give an inch. There are many attempts to pass a law in states just requesting a limit of buying one gun a month, and it doesn't pass. People are like, "What about Christmas?" I mean, one gun a month. If you started when you were 18, by the time you were 60 that's over a thousand guns. I don't care how small your penis is, that should be enough guns.

Victory Begins at Home (20 January 2004)

  • How does a country get away with keeping half its population in beekeeper suits? I'll tell you how. They say the magic word: religion. It's their religion. You say religion, you can get away with anything. The Catholics got away with fucking kids, for crying out loud!
  • I would say that the feminine values are now the values of America; sensitivity is more important than truth; feelings are more important than facts; commitment is more important than individuality; children are more important than people; safety is more important than fun. I always hear women say, "Y'know, married men live longer." Uh, yes, and an indoor cat...also...lives longer. It's a fur-ball with a broken spirit that can only look out on a world it will never enjoy, but it does, technically, live longer.
  • You know, if you're an American and you're born at this time in history especially, you're lucky. We all are. We won the world history Powerball lottery, but a little modesty about it might keep the heat off of us. I can't stand the people who say things like, "We built this country!" You built nothing. I think the railroads were pretty much up by 1980.
  • What I have against religion is that they start you when you are so defenseless. I mean, I was three when they started pumping this bullshit into my head. I believed in Santa Claus and the Fairy Godmother, of course I believed in a virgin birth, and a guy lived in a whale, and a woman came from a rib. But then something happened that made me doubt all of it: I graduated sixth grade!
  • Now if you're just out of the mainstream, if you don't have blind Bush love, you are somehow suspect. Don't ever let them tell you that. Be out of the mainstream. I'm out of the mainstream. I enjoy it, who wants to be in the mainstream? When Ronald Reagan was running, he would always say 'it's morning in America' and everybody would smile and I would think 'yeah but, I'm not a morning person'. I'm the guy who thinks religion is bad and drugs are good. I think children aren't innocent, god doesn't write books, and Jesus wasn't a republican. I think girls hate each other, no doesn't mean no and being drunk is funny. I'm for mad cow disease, how am I gonna win that? I'm against suing tobacco companies. I think abstinence is a perversion. I think Bush's lies are worse than Clinton's. I think Vegas was better when it was run by the mob. I think men are only as loyal as their options. I think stereotypes are true and rehab is for quitters.

New Rules (2005)

Bill Maher's New Rules (8 April 2005)
  • More and more American pharmacists are refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control because of their personal moral objections. Hey, you know what would really teach us a lesson? If you took off your pretend doctor jacket and got another job. ... Now, of course, I know the other side is saying, yes, but this is a moral issue. Yeah, but the problem is, not everyone gets their morals from the same book. You go by the book that says slavery is okay but sex is wrong until after marriage, at which point it becomes a blessed sacrament between a husband and the wife who is withholding it.
    In conclusion, let me say to all the activist pharmacists out there, the ones who think sex is bad probably because sex with them always is. Fellas, a pharmacist is not a law-giver, not even a doctor. In the medical pecking order, you rank somewhere in between a chiropractor and a tree surgeon.
    You don't answer to a law above the laws of men. You work for Sav-On. The doctors are the ones who make medical decisions because they went to medical school, whereas you were transferred from the counter where people drop off film.

I'm Swiss (2005)

  • I wouldn't touch a hot dog unless you put a condom on it! You realize that the job of a hot dog is to use parts of the animal that the Chinese can't figure out how to make into a belt? -timecode 1:11:10
  • I'd like to protect children, too, but… is everything worth sacrificing to that? I mean, drugs have done a lot of good. […] They've midwived a lot of good ideas… lot of great songs, you know? I think "Penny Lane" is worth 10 dead kids. […] I think Dark Side of the Moon is worth 100 dead kids. There, I said it.
  • Rush Limbaugh, a man who has made a career out of saying that all drug users must go right to jail, do not pass go, no questions asked, gets caught doing thirty oxycontin a day. Thirty oxycontin?! Do you have any idea how high that is?! I don't, and I've been pretty high!
  • Reality television is not good, clean fun. It's cruelty, and people enjoying cruelty.
  • We do it all the time, we legislate taste. We do it with the tax code. Churches and children get a tax break, because it's assumed that we all agree that we want to encourage churches and children. I don't. I don't. That's my opinion. I don't want to encourage either churches or children, and it's a very bad idea to put them together.

The Decider (21 July 2007)

  • The problem is that the people with the most ridiculous ideas are always the people who are most certain of them.
  • Republicans say that sex is bad, because with them it always is. I'm sorry, but they're just doughy, asexual, wonky, white people, and if you had to have sex with them it would be over in an excruciating three minutes. It's just, — and from the headlines of the past year I gather the only sex they're really good at, is gay sex. Really. Jeff Gannon in the White House press room, Representative Mark Foley, the Reverend Ted Haggard. I mean, that's an awful lot of gay when you're running against it in every election.
  • I was just at the newly opened Creationist Museum in Kentucky.... And they have this exhibit of a giant dinosaur...with a saddle on its back. Because the world is only 5000 years old, so man and the dinosaurs had to coexist, and, of course, we rode them. A theory I thought laughable at the age of eight when I saw it on THE FLINTSTONES!
  • I wish someone would just start Fly At Your Own Risk Airlines. How 'bout that? You can have your hair gel, you can have your lighter, you can have a fucking gun, how bout that? You can show up at the gate five minutes before the plane leaves, and pay in cash, like in the good ol' 1980s. The ticket just says "shit happens" on the back, because that's the way it is anyway.
  • It's so childish, "greatest country in the world." It's like saying, "I have the best wife in the world. Not just the one best suited for me, the best wife in the world. And if you could have my wife, you'd kill your wife."

New Rule: Float Like Obama, Sting Like Ali (2009)

"New Rule: Float Like Obama, Sting Like Ali" at The Huffington Post (11 September 2009)
  • Van Jones got fired because he became the Scary Negro of the Week on Fox News, where, let's be honest, they still feel threatened by Harry Belafonte.
  • I'm supposed to be all re-injected with yes-we-can fever after the big health care speech, and it was a great speech — when Black Elvis gets jiggy with his teleprompter, there is none better. But here's the thing: Muhammad Ali also had a way with words, but it helped enormously that he could also punch guys in the face.
  • What got Van Jones fired was they caught him on tape saying that Republicans are assholes. And they call it "news." And Obama didn't say a word in defense of Jones and basically fired him when Glenn Beck told him to. Just like we dropped "end of life counseling" from health care reform because Sarah Palin said it meant "death panels" on her Facebook page.
    Crazy evil morons make up things for Obama to do, and he does it.
  • The Democrats just never learn: Americans don't really care which side of an issue you're on as long as you don't act like pussies. When Van Jones called the Republicans assholes, he was paying them a compliment. He was talking about how they can get things done even when they're in the minority, as opposed to the Democrats, who can't seem to get anything done even when they control both houses of Congress, the presidency, and Bruce Springsteen.
  • Mr. President, there are some people who are never going to like you. That's why they voted for the old guy and Carrie's mom. You're not going to win them over. Stand up for the 70% of Americans who aren't crazy.

Real Time with Bill Maher

  • That’s America for you — a red herring culture, always scared of the wrong things. The fact is, there are a lot of creepy middle-aged men out there lusting for your kids. They work for MTV, the pharmaceutical industry, McDonald’s, Marlboro and K Street. And recently, there’s been a rash of strangers making their way onto school campuses and targeting our children for death. They’re called military recruiters. More young Americans were crippled in Iraq last month than in any month in the past three years. And the scandal is that Mark Foley wants to show them a good time before they go? When will our closeted gay congressmen learn? Our boys aren’t for pleasure. They’re for cannon fodder. They shouldn’t be another notch on your bedpost. They should be a comma in Bush’s war. If I hear a zipper, it had better be on a body bag. Why aren’t Democrats and the media hammering away every day about who we’re supposed to be fighting for over there and what the plan is. Yes, Mark Foley was wrong to ask teenagers how long their penises were — but at least someone on Capitol Hill was asking questions. We’re the predators. Because we have an entire economy built on asking young people what they want, making the cheapest, sleaziest form of it they’ll accept, and selling it to them until they choke on it and die. You know who’s grabbing your kids at too young an age? Merck, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline, by convincing you they’re depressed, hyperactive or suffering from attention-deficit disorder and so they must all get medicated. The drug dealers hooking your kids aren’t in South America, they’re in the halls of Congress handing out campaign donations to your congressmen. Mark Foley says he never slept with those kids, and I believe him, because American children are so hopped up on pills I doubt any of them could get it up. From 1995 to 2002, the number of children prescribed antipsychotic drugs increased by over 400 percent. Either our children are going insane — which we might look on as a problem — or, more likely, we have, for profit, created a nation of little junkies. So stop already with the righteous moral indignation about predators — this whole country is trying to get inside your kid’s pants because that’s where he keeps the money Daddy gave him to stay out of his hair. I don’t care if Mark Foley had been asking boys to describe their penises because I have some sad news for you: Your kid is so larded out on Cheetos and Yoo-hoo, he can’t even see his penis. We live in a country where the ultimate consumer is an obese 16-year-old hooked up at one end to a Big Gulp and at the other to a PlayStation. So many of our kids today are fat drug addicts, it’s almost as if Rush Limbaugh had had puppies. In conclusion, we can pretend that the biggest threat to “our children” is some creep on the Internet, or we can admit it’s Mom and Dad. Because, when your son can’t find France on a map, or touch his toes with his hands, or understand that the ads on TV are lying — including the one in which the Marine turns into Lancelot — then the person fucking him is you.
  • Over the last 30 odd years, Democrats have moved to the right and the right has moved into the mental hospital. So what we have is one perfectly good party for hedge fund managers, credit card companies, banks, defense contractors, big agriculture and the pharmaceutical lobby... That's the Democrats. And they sit across the aisle from a small group of religious lunatics, flat-earthers and civil re-enactors who mostly communicate by AM radio and call themselves the Republicans and who actually worry that Obama is a socialist. Socialst? He's not even a liberal.

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Bill Maher
File:Bill Maher by David
Bill Maher, November 2007
Birth name William Maher, Jr.
Born January 20, 1956 (1956-01-20) (age 55)
New York City, New York, USA
Medium Stand-Up, Television, Film, Books
Nationality American
Years active 1979 – Present
Genres Political satire, Observational comedy
Subject(s) American politics, current events, American culture, pop culture, freedom of speech, environmentalism, religion, human sexuality, recreational drug use, libertarianism, American liberalism
Influences Johnny Carson, George Carlin, David Frost, Steve Allen
Notable works and roles Host of Politically Incorrect
Host of Real Time with Bill Maher
Website www.BillMaher.com

William "Bill" Maher, Jr., (pronounced /ˈmɑɹ/; born January 20 1956) is an American stand-up comedian, television host, political commentator, actor, and author. He hosted the late-night television talk show Politically Incorrect on Comedy Central and ABC, and is currently the host of Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO. On June 1, 2006, he also began hosting an Internet-exclusive talk show on Amazon.com entitled Amazon Fishbowl.

Views of Bill Maher

Mahrer is a supporter of the pro-animal welfare group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.[1]

He has said that marijuana should be legal because it being illegal creates more problems then it being legal.[2]

Maher has disagreed with many religious beliefs and says that they can create problems for society. He has said that morality and religion are not the same thing and that religion is used as a reason to oppose gay rights: "Would we be having this debate about whether gay people can lead their lives just like any other people if it wasn‘t for religion? Religion makes people not respect other people‘s lives." [3] Maher was the host of the documentary, Religulous that examined religion and how it affects society in the U.S. [4] Maher is also the creator of the website Disbeliefnet

Other Websites

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:

References

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