Difference between revisions of "Bill Maher"
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Revision as of 06:33, 17 July 2009
Bill Maher is arguably a socialist, certainly an agnostic and liberal comedian, actor, writer, producer, and Democratic Party activist. He is most notable as the former host of Politically Incorrect, which aired on the Comedy Central television network and later on the American Broadcasting Company. Maher is also currently the host of Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO.
Television shows & Other Media
ABC decided not to renew Maher's contract for Politically Incorrect in 2002 after he agreed with a point posed by conservative commentator and guest Dinesh D'Souza that the terrorists in the September 11, 2001 attacks should not be called cowards. Maher expanded on his point, saying "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." 
In the aftermath of the attacks, the remark made him too controversial for some of the show's most prominent advertisers. Companies including FedEx and Sears Roebuck pulled their advertisements from the show, causing it to become unprofitable. The show was subsequently canceled on June 16, 2002.
Maher's comment accusing America of cowardice followed another controversial comment he made on Politically Incorrect where he compared mentally handicapped children to dogs:
|“||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.||”|
ABC was still dealing with the fallout from this statement when it decided not to renew Maher's contract.
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.
Political claims and statements
Despite claims of being a libertarian, his views are more line with totalitarian-socialism. In fact, most of his views are in direct opposition to libertarian ideology, such as his strong support of government regulation of corporations, foreign aid, public schooling, a ban on homeschooling, campaign finance restrictions, radical environmental laws, affirmative action, minimum wage laws, absolute gun control, support for the United Nations, income redistribution through higher taxation, government funding for abortion, and support for Ralph Nader in the 2000 U.S. presidential election. He has even praised Janet Reno and the ATF for its action in the massacre in Waco, Texas.
Some of his other stances on issues related to personal pleasure such as legalizing drugs, gambling, and prostitution are however libertarian in outlook. Maher has been described in libertarian and conservative chatrooms as "a tax and spend politically correct liberal who's a-okay with the Leviathan state as long as he gets his Hustler, his hookers and his hash."[Citation Needed]
Maher was formerly involved in a relationship with model Nancy Johnson a.k.a. "Coco Johnsen". However, Ms. Johnson ended it and in November of 2004 sued Maher for palimony amid allegations of verbal and physical abuse. Maher said that he never promised to marry her and that the claims of abuse were a money making scam.
Somewhat anachronistically, he voted for Bob Dole in the 1996 Presidential election, calling him an "old-fashioned" Republican. He is also a personal friend of Ann Coulter, despite (or perhaps because of) their widely divergent views. She was a frequent guest on Politically Incorrect.
Victory: Begins at Home
In 2008, Maher starred in a spoof documentary movie called Religulous. It was directed by Larry Charles (who also directed Borat). The film derives its name from a combination of the words "religion" and "ridiculous". Originally destined for an Easter 2008 release, the film had a limited theater-release in October 2008 after being first shown at the Toronto International Film Festival in early September 2008.
The film criticizes religion, particularly Christianity and to a lesser extent Judaism and Islam. To Maher, radical Islam and its hate-filled terrorism has no difference from regular religious worship, as he blends pictures of the attack on the World Trade center with a benediction by the Pope and Jews praying at the Wailing Wall at the very end of the movie.
In the film, Maher explains his stance on religion as he interviews the faithful from mainstream religions as well as from many lesser known cults.
Some individuals featured in the film include:
- Hasidic scholars
- Jesus impersonators
- Messianic Jews
- Recreational users of cannabis
- A US senator who believes in the "Rapture"
Box office performance
The film made $3.5 million in its opening weekend in a limited release, surpassing expectations. It never did break out though after that and appears to be heading for a total gross of about $13 million.
The already controversial film gained increased notoriety on the morning of 30th September 2008 when Bill Maher made an appearance on the View to promote Religulous. Maher frivolously suggested during the interview that anyone who hears the "voice" of God should check themselves in to a psychiatric hospital.
- Is Bill Maher a libertarian? by Dann Halem
- Bill Maher Owes Another Apology - A war veteran responds to Maher's anti-military comments
- Is Bill Maher the Jane Fonda of the Iraq War? - Another response to Maher's anti-military comments
- What Liberals Say - Bill Maher, Accuracy In Media
- Religulous at IMDB.com
- NYTIMES review
- CNN LARRY KING LIVE, Interview With Bill Maher, aired August 14, 2007 - 21:00ET
- IMDb: Release dates for Religulous
- RELIGULOUS: A Conversation with Bill Maher and Larry Charles