Bill Maher Is Funny, When He’s Not Misunderstood or Taken Too Seriously
I’ll admit it. I was wrong.
I was wrong when it came to stand-up comedian and television host, Bill Maher. I viewed the funny man as a threat to common sense, decency, and America. I now realize that the assumptions I held about him and his views were completely misplaced.
Bill Maher may spout one controversial political opinion after another but he’s certainly not a threat. His diatribes and exegeses are not going to facilitate any widespread change… minus making people laugh.
I made the common mistake of exalting Maher’s power and influence because he talks about politics. I failed to realize that just because you talk about politics doesn’t mean you’re an actual politician.
After all, Maher made a documentary about religion in 2008 but that doesn’t make him a priest nor does it make Bill Maher Catholic. It just made him a documentarian.
I came to my epiphany when I saw that Bill Maher has a bunch of stand-up concerts scheduled for the rest of 2013. Then it dawned on me, “Maher is a comedian!”
Between now and the end of the year, Bill Maher tickets will be collected all over the United States. That includes venues in Grand Rapids, Toledo, and Portland.
After perusing his comedy tour, I finally realized that he’s not an issue maker but an entertainer. He’s a harlequin in $10,000 suits who has his own show on HBO (Real Time with Bill Maher). Maher’s no leader. He doesn’t make policy. He doesn’t vote bills into law. He just holds a mirror up to the people who do.
Just remember, the only thing you have to do to be able to laugh at Maher is not take him seriously.
Ultimately, Maher’s job is to entertain not to win elections. He might make us think along the way, or inspire us to look at an issue from another perspective, but in the end he’s going for laughs.
In fact, Maher is pretty good at making people snicker, chortle, and guffaw. Not only does he tickle our funny bones on Real Time but he also drew cackles during his days hosting Politically Incorrect. The late-night talk show aired on Comedy Central and ABC from 1993 through 2002.
His ability to put an audience in stitches extends to the stage. In 2005, Comedy Central named Maher the 38th greatest stand-up comedian of all time.
You can see where Comedy Central coming from on June 16 at a “Just For Laughs” Bill Maher show at the Chicago Theatre in Chicago, Illinois or June 22 when Bill Maher performs in Seattle, Washington at the historic Paramount Theatre.
Some might say Maher IS political. After all, he’s on the board of PETA, Project Reason, and has given large sums of money to President Obama. While PETA is probably the most hilarious organization of all-time (with Project Reason not far behind), those aforementioned endeavors belong in Maher’s private life.
Fortunately, and for the most part, that’s where they stay only popping up in a joke or a witty quip.
Bottom line, when he takes himself too seriously, or when we take him too seriously, he stops being funny.
Okay, we now realize Bill Maher is a jester and not a Senator. So does that mean we’re ready to sit front row center when Bill Maher performs in San Diego on Aug. 4 or when Bill Maher plays the big room in Las Vegas?
Not quite. First, we have to prepare ourselves for Maher’s unique brand of humor. Hitherto, we’ve viewed everything that comes out of his mouth as filthy pabulum. To enjoy his live show, we must ready ourselves for stuff like this…
"He [President Jimmy Carter] is the one out of all of them who figured out how to sit in office for four years and never fire a shot. The negative example should be Dick Cheney, who even shoots his friends in the face."
… And this…
"In the not too distant future, we will elect a president whose penis we have all seen."
You've Been Warned
The above lines aren’t from his act but they are perfect examples of his caustic brand of humor. Bill Maher jokes are not for the faint of heart or for those easily offended.
“Yes, Jesus is like Rihanna: no matter how bad you treat him, he still loves you.”
Oh yeah, Maher is not a fan of religion. Well, that’s not true. He loves religions because they give him so much fodder for his television shows and his stand-up act. Even so, he never misses an opportunity to ridicule people of faith.
“All religious are not alike. As many people have pointed out — ‘The Book of Mormon.’ Have you seen the show?… OK, can you imagine if they did ‘The Book of Islam’? Could they do that? There’s only one religion that threatens violence and carries it out for things like that. Could they do “The Book of Islam” on Broadway?”
Roll A Big Fatty
Maher is also an advocate for the legalization of marijuana…
"This president wouldn’t be president if they had caught him [smoking pot], if that was on his record…He’d still be a community organizer. I just wonder when he’s going to get the memo that pot is the new gay marriage.”
Despite his pro-legalization stance, Maher will still poke fun at the pothead stereotype…
[About reports that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a heavy pot user:] "[That]" could explain why he chose as a getaway vehicle a boat that was on land."
Knowing Maher’s affinity for marijuana certainly clarifies some of his opinions. It definitely explains this one…
“The Constitution, the tiny states with no people in them, they have just as much representation. Did you know that Heidi Heitkamp, one of the people who voted for this, was elected by 166,000 people? Dianne Feinstein, here in California, 7.5 million. The Founding Fathers could not have foreseen AK-47s, they also could not have foreseen Wyoming and Montana."
How do you respond to something like that? He might as well have said that he tastes colors and sees sounds. If you walked into a room and someone uttered that previous Maher quote, you’d immediately look down to make sure you don’t knock over a bong.
Bill In The "Middle"
For those whose politics fall a little, or a lot, to the right they should prepare themselves to hear some jokes that will definitely test their resolve…
"Thatcher had Alzheimer's, just like Reagan; I'm not saying being a conservative turns ur brain to mush,but Clinton & Carter both still sharp"
Yet, to Maher’s credit, he’s not called "Everyone's Equal Opportunity Offender" for nothing. He has and does roast both sides of the aisle.
“And here in California, I just want to say liberals – you could actually lose me. It’s outrageous what we’re paying — over 50 percent. I’m willing to pay my share, but yeah, it’s ridiculous.”
. . .
“Thinking the Second Amendment protects you from tyranny is like thinking the First Amendment protects you from Thor. It’s quaint. It’s ridiculous. It’s nonsensical. And they never get called [on] it."
Keep Holding That Mirror
Although the occurrences are few and far between, Maher’s ability to espouse both left- and right-wing opinions, and to make fun of democrats and republicans, actually gives him credence. And a lot of people respect that. Granted, it make his own politics inconsistent, contradictory, and irrational, but he earn points with those who think the left, the right, liberals, conservatives, democrats, and republicans are all bonkers.
“I’m not going to defend the current system as if it’s perfect and delight in paying for it simply because there’s a Democrat in the White House. I’m also not going to take the position of ‘All government programs are good.’ Or ‘All poor people are noble.’ Or ‘Everything the teachers union does should be defended.’ Or ‘The higher the tax rate on the rich, the better.’”
Like I wrote earlier, Maher should be applauded for his ability to lampoon the body politic. As long as we champion him for that, and as long as he sticks to doing that, than Bill Maher is one of the funniest guys on the planet.
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