“Where do left and right meet? At the truth.”
May 23, 2014 1:52 PM   Subscribe

Politically Incorrect was an American late-night, half-hour political talk show hosted by Bill Maher that ran from 1993 to 2002, first on Comedy Central and then on ABC. Four guests (usually including at least one comedian) would debate topics across the political spectrum in what Maher once described as “The McLaughlin Group on acid.” Of the 1300+ episodes produced, 190 can be viewed on YouTube.

Background
Wikipedia: "On rare occasions, Maher would interview a single guest. The show was pioneering in mixing political figures and entertainers. Maher tried to air all points of view, especially controversial ones. Guests could be both aggravating and insightful, with the conversation similar to a cocktail party with quick-witted guests."

The Show
Playlist for all shows. (Slightly out of order.

1993 (Comedy Central Era)
July 25, 1993: Jerry Seinfeld, Larry Miller, Robin Quivers & Ed Rollins (Alternate link)
September 12, 1993: Jerry Seinfeld, Larry Miller, Wilbert A. Tatum & Curtis Sliwa (Alternate Link)
September 19, 1993: Roseanne Barr, Matt Lauer, Lorraine Bracco & John O'Sullivan (Alternate Link)

1994
March 15, 1994: Tim Allen, Ed Asner, Arianna Huffington & Tom Hayden
November 3, 1994: Neil Peart, Alan Zweibel, Franklyn Ajaye & Elizabeth Wurtzel

1995
March 29, 1995: Garry Shandling, Kato Kaelin, LeVar Burton & Susan Estrich
March 31, 1995: George Clooney, Jay Leno, Gabrielle Carteris & Daryl Gates (Alternate Link)
April 26, 1995: Julianna Margulies, Tom Arnold, Carrot Top & Hugh Downs
November 29, 1995: Jason Alexander, Jeff Foxworthy, John Tesh & Tammy Bruce
November 30, 1995: Jay Leno, Ed McMahon, Randy Newman & Doris Allen (Alternate Link)

1996
March 5, 1996: James Carville, Todd Rundgren, Maureen Reagan & Ming-Na Wen (Alternate Link)
May 1, 1996: Jon Lovitz, Paul Butler, Ralph Farquhar & Rachel Campos
May 23, 1996: David Cross, Michelle Phillips, Robert Anton Wilson & Bob Guccione, Jr.
June 27, 1996: Dolph Lundgren, Slash, Tom Dreesen & Richard Blackwell

1997 (ABC Era)
February 3, 1997: Lisa Kudrow, Mark Hamill, Jeff Greenfield & Roger Hedgecock
February 12, 1997: Bob Odenkirk, Ken Osmond, Joe Arpaio & Daryl Gates
March 14, 1997: Phil Hartman, Merrill Markoe, Jerry Yang & Clifford Stoll
April 16, 1997: Dave Matthews, Carl Reiner, Clarence Page & Judith Regan
May 15, 1997: Gary Busey, Steven Wright, Susan Carpenter McMillan & Yxta Maya Murra
May 16, 1997: Al Franken, Rick Schroder, Star Parker & Christine O'Donnell
May 26, 1997: Weird Al Yankovic, Gibby Haynes, Stephen Bishop & Me'shell Ndegeocello
May 30, 1997: Norm Macdonald, Arianna Huffington, Christopher "Kid" Reid & Paul Theroux
June 24, 1997: Todd Rundgren, Tom Dreesen, Sheneska Jackson & Don Feder
July 31, 1997: Marilyn Manson, G. Gordon Liddy, Florence Henderson & Lakita Garth (Alternate Link)
August 19, 1997: Paul Rodriguez, Rick Schroder, Joe Scarborough & Dee Dee Myers
August 28, 1997: Jon Lovitz, Sammy Hagar, Clifford Stoll & Farai Chideya
September 9, 1997: Clive Barker, Sophie B. Hawkins, Wil Shriner & Christine O'Donnell
September 29, 1997: Kevin Nealon, Michael O'Keefe, Christine O'Donnell & Courtney Weaver
October 14, 1997: Whoopi Goldberg, Fran Drescher, Willie Brown & Dana Rohrabacher
October 31, 1997: Jerry Springer, Dan Cortese, Todd Rundgren & Jenica Bergere (Alternate Link)
November 17, 1997: Dom DeLuise, Rick James, Chris Hardwick & Christine O'Donnell
November 25, 1997: Sammy Hagar, Kathy Griffin, Cornel West & Marianne Williamson

No Airdate: Camille Paglia (This was a two part episode which aired on Comedy Central, most likely in 1997. Ms. Paglia was Bill's only guest for both evenings.)

No Airdate: Roseanne Barr

1998
January 5, 1998: Jerry Falwell, Martin Mull, Carol Alt & Christine O'Donnell (Quality of tape is poor for the first 2-3 minutes)
March 5, 1998: Dennis Miller, Eric Idle, Arianna Huffington & Jeff Greenfield
March 31, 1998: Kevin Sorbo, Ann Coulter, Daniel Stern & Vincent Bugliosi
April 1, 1998: Faith Ford, Jim Hightower, John Schneider & Janet Parshall
April 2, 1998: Raquel Welch, Todd Rundgren, Stephanie Hodge & Jane Chastain (Alternate Link)
April 27, 1998: Al Franken, Lynn Redgrave, Star Jones & Elizabeth Wurtzel (Recording is incomplete.)
April 28, 1998: William H. Macy, Arianna Huffington, Robin Cook & Ruby Wax (Recording is incomplete.)
April 29, 1998: Meredith Vieira, Paul Mooney, Ray Davies & Suzanne Somers
May 6, 1998: Paul Sorvino, Shelley Long, Bill T. Jones & Pat Schroeder (Quality is poor. Recording is incomplete.)
May 14, 1998: Richard Lewis, Dennis Prager, Ron Reagan & (Lisa) Kennedy
June 12, 1998: Dennis Miller, Peta Wilson, Jack Burkman & Toni Tennille
June 30, 1998: David Cross, Jerry Mathers, Lynn Redgrave & Henry Jaglom
July 2, 1998: John Henson, Nell Carter, Tucker Carlson & Nancy Friday
August 3, 1998: Eddie Izzard, Martin Mull, Jasmine Guy & Christine O'Donnell
August 11, 1998: Pat Cooper, Garcelle Beauvais, Cal Thomas & Wendy Fitzwilliam
September 9, 1998: Fyvush Finkel, Steve Hytner, Dave Matthews & Christine Whitman
September 18, 1998: Eddie Izzard, Lea Thompson, Grace Slick & Niger Innes (Recording is incomplete.)
October 2, 1998 Pamela Anderson, Marilyn Manson, Robert Reich & Cyndi Mosteller (Quality is poor. Recording is incomplete.)
November 7, 1998: Bob Costas, Daisy Fuentes, Todd Rundgren & Tom Fitton (Alternate Link)

1999
January 8, 1999: Dick Clark, Coolio, Deborah Harry & Mark McGrath (Recording is incomplete.)
January 27, 1999: Richard Lewis, Stacy Keach, David Wyndorg & Melanie Morgan
March 8, 1999: Dave Matthews, Elayne Boosler, Joe Califano & Earl Jackson
March 17, 1999: Greg Proops, Gloria Allred, Todd Rundgren & Kirby Wilbur (Alternate Link)
May 6, 1999: Christopher Hitchens, Michael Caton, Suzanne Somers & Kevin Griffin
May 20, 1999: Michael Moore, Mark Lamarr, Jeremy Northam & Julie Kirkbride (Recorded in London)
May 20, 1999: Graham Norton, Jonathan Ross, Emma Samms & Jarvis Cocker (Recorded in London. Recording is incomplete)
August 9, 1999: Kato Kaelin, Danni Ashe, Golden Brooks & Floyd Brown
August 25, 1999: Joe Piscopo, Denyce Graves, Jerry Nachman & Anne Bateman
September 10, 1999: Colin Mortensen, Amaya Brecher, Matt Simon & Tecumshea Holmes (Recording is incomplete.)
September 16, 1999: John O'Hurley, Crystal Bernard, Dave Barry & Steve Frank (Recording is incomplete.)
September 17, 1999: Howie Mandel, Shae O'Lyn, Ali Landry & Tom Fitton (Recording is incomplete.)
October 4, 1999: Kid Rock, Marlee Matlin, Howie Mandel & Dennis Prager
October 26, 1999: Penn Jillette, Scott Turow, Nia Long & Karen Rickard
November 30, 1999: Joe Lieberman, William Baldwin, Barbara Olson & John Henton
December 8, 1999: Bill O'Reilly, Michael Bolton, Cathy Ladman & Natalie Raitano
December 16, 1999: Rob Schneider, Terry Bradshaw, Nadine Strossen & Marianne Lombari
December 22, 1999: Hal Sparks, Bif Naked, Leeza Gibbons & Tom Fitton
December 27, 1999: John Fugelsang, Rena Sofer, Bryan Kemper & Bishop John Spong

2000
January 3, 2000: Elayne Boosler, Marina Sirtis, Drew Pinsky & Amy Alkon
January 11, 1999: Jane Seymour, Joe Scarborough, Kevin Keating & Paul Provenza (Recording is incomplete.)
January 27, 2000: Naomi Judd, Robert Townsend, Rick Yune & Dinesh D'Souza
January 30, 2000: Jason Alexander, Mark Harmon, Ali Landry, Billy Corgan & Smashing Pumpkins
February 4, 2000: Larry Flynt, Steve Hytner, Edwin McCain & Charmaine Yoest
February 15, 2000: Pauly Shore, Rachael Leigh Cook, Gena Lee Nolin & Bell Hooks
March 1, 2000: Michael McKean, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Karri Turner & Darlene Kennedy
April 24, 2000: Tia Carrere, Todd Rundgren, Ken Hamblin & Reno Collier (Alternate Link)
May 3, 2000: David Spade, Greg Mathis, Freddie Mendez & Cindy Shill
May 4, 2000: Mike Farrell, Daryl Mitchell, Maria Martinez & Rubin Becarra
May 9, 2000: Drew Carey, Bill O'Reilly, Jeri Ryan & John Taylor
May 18, 2000: Hugh Hefner, Adam Carolla, Bijou Phillips, Scott Weiland, Amy Alkon, Catherine McCord & Jeff Bridges
June 12, 2000: Dennis Miller, Simon Le Bon, Jane Alexander & Deroy Murdoch
June 13, 2000: Adam Goldberg, Zach Galifianakis, Chuck D. & Laura Ingraham
June 15, 2000: Eddie Izzard, Bradley Whitford, Heather Donahue & Holly McClure
June 22, 2000: Cedric the Entertainer, John Singleton, Charlotte Ross & Cyndi Mosteller
June 28, 2000: Marina Sirtis, Julie Brown, Greg Graffin & Christina Hoff Sommers
July 7, 2000: Chris Rock, Jon Stewart, Lennox Lewis & Ann Coulter (Recording is incomplete.)
July 10, 2000: Christopher Titus, Gail O'Grady, Balthazar Getty & Betsy Hart
July 19, 2000: Molly Sims, Corey Feldman, Mindy Sterling & Monica Crowley
July 20, 2000: Chris Masterson, Alex Borstein, Chad Everett & Niger Innis (Recording is incomplete.)
July 28, 2000: Peter Fonda, Rachael Leigh Cook, Paul F. Tompkins & Tasia Scolinos
July 31, 2000: Adam Carolla, Michelle Phillips, Maggie Gallagher & Maxine Waters
August 4, 2000: Paul Rodriguez, Terry McAuliffe, Jack Kingston & Darlene Kennedy
August 7, 2000: John Waters, Patricia Hearst, Stephen Dorff & Bob Larson
August 8, 2000: Richard Kind, Elayne Boosler, William McNamara & Alan Keyes (Recording is incomplete.)
August 15, 2000: Alec Baldwin, Joan Rivers, Billy Bush & Barbara Boxer
August 22, 2000: Joe Rogan, Shari Belafonte, Kari Wuhrer & David McReynolds
August 23, 2000: John Spencer, John Hagelin, Beth Littleford & Mitch Albom
September 6, 2000: Fred Willard, Bruce Vilanch, Gabrielle Union & Debra J. Saunders
September 8, 2000: Jay Mohr, Ernie Hudson, Elisa Donovan & Earl Jackson
September 11, 2000: Kathy Griffin, Richard Hatch, Leeza Gibbons & Mitchell Fink
September 25, 2000: Jay Thomas, Mary Louise Kurey, Elmore Leonard & Summer Altice (Recording is incomplete.)
October 11, 2000: Peter Boyle, Naomi Judd, Randy Tate & Faraj Chideya
October 13, 2000: James Van Der Beek, Chris Hardwick, Julie Stofer & Bryan Kemper
October 19, 2000: Jeff Bridges, Joan Allen, Sam Elliott & Rod Lurie
October 27, 2000: Mos Def, Guy Torry, Charlotte Church & Holly McClure
November 8, 2000: Jason Alexander, Laura Innes, Jewel & Dennis Prager
November 16, 2000: Kelsey Grammer, Ann Coulter, Steven Weber & Lisa Ling
November 23, 2000: Keith Olberman, Lennox Lewis, Mark Cuban & Todd Ziele
November 24, 2000: (Recording is incomplete.)
November 28, 2000: Al Franken, Adam West, Sheryl Lee Ralph & Al Rantel
December 7, 2000: Michelle Phillips, Jimmie Walker, Alfred Molina & Darlene Kennedy
December 8, 2000: Annabeth Gish, Mo Gaffney, Jim Moret & Joseph M. Giardello (Recording is incomplete.)
December 14, 2000: Alan Thicke, Sharon Lawrence, Nadine Strossen & Dinesh D'Souza (Recording is incomplete.)
December 22, 2000: Victoria Jackson, Aaron Neville, Michael Shermer & Julia Sweeney
December 29, 2000: Andrew Dice Clay, John Salley, Joshua Morrow & Charmaine Yoest

2001
January 4, 2001: Richard Lewis, Art Alexakis, Paula Cale & Julia Goran
January 5, 2001: Dick Clark, P!nk, Nelly & Sisqo
January 10, 2001: Eddie Izzard, Orlando Jones, Donovan Leitch & Cyndi Mosteller
January 15, 2001: Coolio, Roshumba, Iyanla Vanzant & Carlton Pearson
January 16, 2001: George Wallace (comedian), Sean Young, Joe Scarborough & Sean Patrick Thomas (Recording is incomplete.)
January 22, 2001: Kim Coles, John Taylor, Dick Schaap & Debbie Schlussel
January 23, 2001: Shelley Long, Drew Pinsky, Anita Roddick & Jane Adams
January 25, 2001: Tommy Smothers, Bob Costas, Denyce Graves & Suzanne Fields
February 7, 2001: Naomi Judd, Bill Press, Barbara Boxer & Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Recording is incomplete.)
February 12, 2001: Chris Rock, Marlee Matlin, Donny Osmond & Laura Doyle
February 14, 2001: Caroline Rhea, Regina King, Mary Stuart Masterson & Wendy Walsh
February 20, 2001: Aisha Tyler, Shaggy, Charles Rangel & Joe Rogers
March 6, 2001: Trace Adkins, Vicki Lawrence, Rae Dawn Chong & Lama Surya Das
March 7, 2001: Cathy Moriarty, Neal Boortz, David Draiman & Holly Robinson Peete (Alternate Link)
March 27, 2001: John Lydon, Molly Sims, Joshua Redman & Kirby Wilbur
April 5, 2001: Adam Carolla, Ashley Power, Demi Bardsley & Daniel Tamaki
April 27, 2001: Jerry Springer, Jerry Falwell, Rosa Blasi & Lisa Miree
May 2, 2001: Whoopi Goldberg, Gene Simmons, Christopher Hitchens & Dennis Prager
May 4, 2001: Pauly Shore, Mos Def, Vivica A. Fox & Amy Holmes
May 10, 2001: Jay Mohr, Jane Seymour, Eve & Niger Innes
May 16, 2001: George Carlin, Horace Cooper, Julie Warner & Robert Shapiro
May 17, 2001: David Brenner, Valerie Harper, Taj Mahal & Kellyanne Conway
May 22, 2001: Tommy Smothers, Jennifer Tilly, Joey McIntyre & Kerri Houston
May 23, 2001: Al Franken, Holland Taylor, Jeff Baxter & Marjorie Strayer
May 24, 2001: Super Dave Osborne, Katherine LaNasa, Eric Burdon & Darlene Kennedy
May 28, 2001: Blake Clark, Adrian Cronauer, Wilma Vaught & Nguyen Cao Ky
June 1, 2001: Craig Ferguson, Dave Matthews, Florence Henderson & Ann Coulter (Recording is incomplete.)
June 4, 2001: Paul Rodriguez, Barbara Ehrenreich, Frank Turek & Rae Dawn Chong
June 11, 2001: Aisha Tyler, KRS-One, Jean Smart & Bob Glass
June 12, 2001: Kevin Nealon, Charlotte Hays, Evan Lowenstein & Tanya Roberts
June 13, 2001: Alan Thicke, Randy Tate, Wendy Wasserstein & Maile Misajon
June 14, 2001: Joe Rogan, Robert Wuhl, Mark Cuban & Nancy Wolf
June 15, 2001: Lionel Richie, Cory Kahaney, Jordana Brewster & Tom Sirotnak
June 19, 2001: Dane Cook, Andrew Farriss, Leeza Gibbons & Cheri Jacobus
June 20, 2001: Malcolm McDowell, Shelley Long, Bob Larson & Jay McGraw
June 21, 2001: Erin Brockovich, Rick Roberts, Bill Weir & Elizabeth Pena
June 25, 2001: Tim Stack, Kristin Chenoweth, Jennifer O'Neill & Suzanna Hupp
June 26, 2001: Michael McKean, Elizabeth Perkins, Regina Hall & Floyd Brown
June 27, 2001: Arsenio Hall, Daisy Fuentes, Rick Fox & Catherine Edwards
June 29, 2001: Adam Carolla, Suzanne Somers, Neil Clark Warren & Laura Corn
July 9, 2001: Jay Mohr, Elayne Boosler, Mark Langston & Roy Firestone
July 10, 2001: Jay Leno, William H. Macy, Laura Ingraham & Samantha Mathis
July 11, 2001: Michael Moore, Sandra Bernhard, Yancy Butler & Christina Hoff Sommers
July 12, 2001: Arianna Huffington, David Cassidy, Tony Perkins & Beth Lapides
July 13, 2001: Dave Navarro, Harland Williams, John Saul & Rebecca Hagelin
August 9, 2001: John Lydon, Kevin Griffin, John Cameron Mitchell & Maggie Gallagher
August 13, 2001: Rufus Wainwright, Robert Conrad, Lisa Ann Walter & Lou Sheldon
August 15, 2001: Bryan Crantson, Usher, Jami Gertz & Angela McGlowan
August 17, 2001: Terry Bradshaw, Rick Harris, Shannon Elizabeth & Genevieve Wood
September 20, 2001: Laura Innes, Dennis Prager & Peter Greenburg
September 27, 2001: John Waters, Michael Graham, John Henson & Sue Ellicott
October 11, 2001: Marlee Matlin, Henry Kriegel, Robert Scheer & Katherine Spillar
November 14, 2001: Snoop Dogg, George Wallace (comedian), Jill Stewart & Floyd Brown
November 15, 2001: Billy Connolly, Bill Press, Tammy Bruce & Kellyanne Conway
November 20, 2001: Mike Farrell, Charlotte Ross, Phil Little & Dana Rohrabacher
November 21, 2001: Mo'Nique Imes-Jackson, Gil Bellows, Clive Cussler & Jane Chastain
November 30, 2001: Richard Kind, As'ad AbuKhalil, Jean Sasson & Humberto Fontova
December 4, 2001: Seth Green, Holland Taylor, Bruce Thornton & Danis Tanovic
December 5, 2001: Nestor Carbonell, Elayne Boosler, Drew Pinsky & Sheri Annis
December 6, 2001: Christopher Hitchens, Marilu Henner, Dave Barry & Larry Klayman
December 11, 2001: Danny Bonaduce, Mario Van Peebles, Rita Rudner & Cheri Jacobus
December 14, 2001: Bob Saget, James Van Praagh, Sean Young & Christine O'Donnell

2002
January 30, 2002: Boots Riley, Harland Williams, Eric Braeden & Erin Shannon
April 15, 2002: Eddie Izzard, Harry Hamlin, Farai Chideya & Janice Crouse
April 22, 2002: Annabelle Gurwitch, Kevin Richardson, Robert Conrad & Erin Shannon
June 10, 2002: Penn Jillette, Jane Seymour, Michael Olowokandi & Debbie Schlussel (Poor quality)
June 11, 2002: William Shatner, Al Franken, Lisa Pinto & Rania Masri (Poor quality)
June 12, 2002: Tim Stack, Valerie Harper, Peter Stormare & Tom Fitton
June 13, 2002: Gene Simmons, Dave Foley, Gary Johnson & Jane Chastain
June 14, 2002: Bryan Cranston, Little Richard, Rachael Leigh Cook & Lauren Kitchens


Cancelled
Politically Incorrect was cancelled by ABC in 2002, thanks to an incident that happened six days after 9/11. Maher and political conservative Dinesh D'Souza had this conversation on the show:
D'SOUZA: Bill, there's another piece of political correctness I want to mention. And, although I think Bush has been doing a great job, one of the themes we hear constantly is that the people who did this are cowards.
MAHER: Not true.
D'SOUZA: Not true. Look at what they did. First of all, you have a whole bunch of guys who are willing to give their life. None of them backed out. All of them slammed themselves into pieces of concrete.
MAHER: Exactly.
D'SOUZA: These are warriors. And we have to realize that the principles of our way of life are in conflict with people in the world. And so -- I mean, I'm all for understanding the sociological causes of this, but we should not blame the victim. Americans shouldn't blame themselves because other people want to bomb them.
MAHER: But also, we should -- 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. You're right.
Video here. Maher's comment was misinterpreted as saying the U.S. military was "cowardly." D'Souza's role in the conversation was ignored. A backlash followed. Several major advertisers (FedEx, Sears, General Motors) pulled out of the show and 17 ABC affiliates dropped it. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer denounced Maher's comments. Several months later, ABC cancelled the show citing poor ratings. Political (in)correctness had killed Politically Incorrect.

Salon.com interviews Maher, 2003: Why do you think D’Souza escaped criticism?
"That is a question I have been asking. Because I like Dinesh but boy, he took a cab after that. I never heard from him. He never stuck his head up, and he’d been a guest on our show many times. Lots of people came to my defense — people you never would have thought, like Rush Limbaugh. But Dinesh stayed way under the radar. He is not a warrior."

Maher went on to host live, one-hour show with a similar format the following year: Real Time with Bill Maher. As of 2014, Real Time is still going strong. In 2012, Dinesh D'Souza was a guest. "[Maher] told the conservative author how 'it could have been helpful' if during the national firestorm over his remarks, D’Souza had stood up to defend him since the two of them were originally just agreeing on the air. D’Souza shot back that Maher’s real troubles were the result of his including the United States military in his comments — something D’Souza explicitly did not do. Clearly embittered by the experience, Maher was not convinced and expressed skepticism at D’Souza’s claims to have defended Maher on “free speech grounds” while doing media appearances in the following weeks."
posted by zarq (66 comments total) 65 users marked this as a favorite
 
Minor typo in the post. The playlist at the top of this post only contains 186 of 190 episodes, not all of them. It does not include the two-part Camille Paglia special, or the Roseanne Barr episode. As well as one other ep. Sorry about that!
posted by zarq at 1:55 PM on May 23, 2014


Yikes sorry. One more. The guests on November 24, 2000 were Bijou Phillips, Sally Taylor, Leah Wood and Kimberly Stewart.
posted by zarq at 2:03 PM on May 23, 2014


I know the post is about Bill Maher, but I have to point out that Dinesh D'Souza is still a piece of shit.
posted by Curious Artificer at 2:08 PM on May 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


Would that be adulterating, convicted felon Dinesh D'Souza ?

The guy has been a disreputable blowhard his whole life. I have no love for Bill Maher, but seriously, he should have known better than to agree with Dinesh about anything, anywhere, for any reason.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:08 PM on May 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


Maher's comment was misinterpreted as saying the U.S. military was "cowardly."

How is that a misinterpretation? He didn't say was only the military who were cowards, but I don't think it's unfair to intepret his comment as including them in the criticism.
posted by layceepee at 2:12 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Great post, Zarq. And very informative for the youngsters when they see Ariana Huffington speaking for the conservatives.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 2:17 PM on May 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


layceepee: Maher was referring to missile attacks on targets in Afghanistan and Sudan which were authorized and then defended vigorously at the time by President Clinton and his administration. The President and his spokespeople spoke about the advantage of a long-range, unmanned attack: no military casualties.

Maher's criticism was really aimed at Clinton and his administration.
posted by zarq at 2:17 PM on May 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


The main problem with Bill Maher is that any potential profundity of the content of his act is negated by the classist, sexist, ableist etc dog shit that comes at the end of a large number of his jokes. He's a worthless ally in the progressive movement. He's OK as an entertainer, but who cares.
posted by triceryclops at 2:18 PM on May 23, 2014 [14 favorites]


AlonzoMosleyFBI, thanks.

It was nice to see footage of so many people who have passed away in the last 15+ years, too. John Spencer. Peter Boyle. Christopher Hitchens, etc.
posted by zarq at 2:19 PM on May 23, 2014


Julianna Margulies, Tom Arnold, Carrot Top & Hugh Downs

There is literally nothing I can say about how weirdly incongruous that string of names is.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:19 PM on May 23, 2014 [14 favorites]


I remember the cancellation bruhaha, and I remember being squarely on team Maher.

Non-Sequitur: Check out the shows with Marilyn Manson. It is amazing to see how prescient he is about all sorts of issues. Things like gender and sexuality politics, and all sorts of other stuff, he's talking 15 years ahead of his time. Of course if you've seen Bowling for Columbine, you'd already know this.

Never was a huge fan of Manson's music, but it's worth watching him in interviews from the 90s just to see how much he's thinking on a higher level than his peers or detractors.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 2:22 PM on May 23, 2014 [25 favorites]


The one with Chris Rock, Jon Stewart, Lennox Lewis and Ann Coulter sounds like a hell of a lineup too.
posted by dng at 2:22 PM on May 23, 2014


One of the videos that I would highly recommend is the one where As'ad AbuKhalil faces down three other pannelists and Maher about the 9/11 terrorist attacks (and the Afghan war) right after the event. Really fascinating to get a sense of the paranoia, xenophobia and racism of the time and the courage that AbuKhalil had to show in shooting them down in a bravado performance.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 2:24 PM on May 23, 2014 [8 favorites]


How is that a misinterpretation? He didn't say was only the military who were cowards, but I don't think it's unfair to intepret his comment as including them in the criticism.

i sort of agree with this; I mean his words pretty much say that in a literal sense, but I also have to say that at the time I took the comments as a sort of contrasting example. "Cowards" was brought into the conversation with respect to the hijackers, and they were pretty much saying "wait, if we're waging war how is actually flying a plane into certain death 'cowardly' compared to what we do with missiles when there's no real risk for the guy pulling the trigger?"

any potential profundity of the content of his act is negated by the classist, sexist, ableist etc dog shit that comes at the end of a large number of his jokes

If something of substance comes out of his show, it is not negated by his prejudices no matter how ugly they are. I don't much care for his show or his schtick anymore but I really don't think this is a helpful attitude either.
posted by Hoopo at 2:25 PM on May 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


Bill Maher rubs me the wrong way, even when I agree with him. He's kind of like if you combined Richard Dawkins and Keith Olbermann and wrapped the whole thing in sandpaper.

The name of the show never helped my impression either. "Politically correct" is a toxic term much the same way "states' rights" is. So often used to belittle any attempt to act like a decent human being toward other human beings.
posted by Foosnark at 2:37 PM on May 23, 2014 [23 favorites]


If something of substance comes out of his show, it is not negated by his prejudices no matter how ugly they are. I don't much care for his show or his schtick anymore but I really don't think this is a helpful attitude either.

Maybe "negated" is the wrong word, but yeah, presentation can really harm the substance by turning people off and making them unwilling to engage. I'm in agreement with Maher politically about many things but he's such a smug fuck even I'm irritated with him. I saw Religulous and even as someone who isn't a believer and is skeptical with regard to religion he was completely insufferable. I can only imagine how off-putting he is to believers and conservatives.

That's just human nature. People aren't robots who respond only to facts. If you're right but a huge dick about it, no one will want to listen to you, especially not people who don't already agree with your point of view. That's not very helpful.
posted by Sangermaine at 2:38 PM on May 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure that anything that the show ever did justified giving Christine O'Donnell exposure.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:38 PM on May 23, 2014


It's good to see that Christine O'Donnell actually was on the show as often as it seemed like she was. When she cropped up as the loon candidate for whatever position she was the loon candidate for, I remember being rather surprised that she had jumped from being Maher's craziest foil to actual importance.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:39 PM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


If something of substance comes out of his show, it is not negated by his prejudices no matter how ugly they are.

Fair point, but his act is just a little slice of modern upper-middle class American liberalism. There is a spectrum of attitudes exhibited by a sizable proportion of liberals that ranges from out-of-sight-out-of-mind to passive hostility. They won't defend anyone's right to call someone a nigger, but they're just as likely as a republican to toss around the words tranny, white trash, redskin, thug or bitch. And when presented with substantive reasons to jettison those words from their vocabulary, their response is indistinguishable from that of Rush Limbaugh. Suddenly we're crybabies for even suggesting this.

Example: I just saw a headline today about Maher supporting the idea of a Clinton-Warren presidency. I'd support that too. Then he referred to it as "the granny ticket". C'mon, dude. Do you really need to do this for a chuckle?

There's a philosophy amongst progressive comedians that you should always punch up, not down. Marginalizing oppressed populations with epithets in your act works against your cause in a fundamental way.
posted by triceryclops at 2:45 PM on May 23, 2014 [9 favorites]


My favorite moment from the show appears to not exist (yet) on the Internets, but I'll try and do it justice.

The guests were Tim Daly and three others I don't recall. They were discussing criminals and fame when one of them stated that the real problem is when Hollywood comes along and does a movie about criminals and in turn glamorizes then. Little known to this man that Tim Daly had recently played David Koresh in a TV Movie. In the middle of this man's spiel, the camera cuts to Daly who has an "Oh shit!" expression that's priceless. Maher gets a grin on his face and starts speaking loudly about how "it's a good thing we didn't have an actor on the show right now who had done such a role because it would be so awkward."

When he finished speaking, Maher picked up a cup, offered it to Daly and said "Coolaid?".
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 2:47 PM on May 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


The one with Chris Rock, Jon Stewart, Lennox Lewis and Ann Coulter sounds like a hell of a lineup too.

Especially when Lennox Lewis and Ann Coulter combined into a Voltron version of Annie Lennox.
posted by escabeche at 2:48 PM on May 23, 2014 [12 favorites]


Oh sweet to they have the episode with my da-cntrl+f- ah poop.

anyway Bill Mahr acts like the smugest kid in the high school student council trapped in the body of a Litch. He is, in the metaphor of City Of Night, at a party in all white.
posted by The Whelk at 3:01 PM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Two things: One: The term politically correct, as I remember, was coined by liberals/leftists/radicals to make fun of themselves and each other. We jumped on each other in the Sixties for minor semantic differences (Don't say blind; say sight-impaired.) and realized we were being a little ridiculous. Long ago, conservatives stole the term for their own malignant purposes.

Two: I looked at a few minutes of old episodes and remembered that Bill Maher used to be fairly nice. In the last few years he morphed into The Smuggest Man on Earth.
posted by kozad at 3:06 PM on May 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


Oh wait I found a link
posted by The Whelk at 3:10 PM on May 23, 2014


Dolph Lundgren, Slash, Tom Dreesen & Richard Blackwell

There is literally nothing I can think of that at least one of those dudes can't do better than I can.
posted by Etrigan at 3:10 PM on May 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


Wow, I don't remember Dinesh D'Souza's involvement in that at all. Probably one of the few honest things he's ever said.
posted by brundlefly at 3:17 PM on May 23, 2014


My awareness of (and my admiration for) As'ad Abukhalil began with his post 9-11 appearance on Politically Incorrect. I was amazed that someone with his point of view was on TV, amidst all those clowns and buffoons.
posted by Auden at 3:36 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


If something of substance comes out of his show, it is not negated by his prejudices no matter how ugly they are.

I don't know, has anything of substance ever come of the Bill Maher format? Whether it's this show or the current iteration on HBO?

I mostly remember it being a venue for people who knew fuck all about the matter at hand and a few right wing trolls.

I'm willing to leave it at "not my cup of tea", but I don't think you can really lump Bill Maher's work into the "don't throw the baby out with the bathwater" category. It's just lots and lots of bathwater as far as I can tell.
posted by Sara C. at 3:41 PM on May 23, 2014 [8 favorites]


I never watched much, but I remember being at a friend's house and catching the Weird Al & Gibby Haynes episode and being quite amused.

Maher, like most libertarian types, has about one good idea for every 8 terrible ones.
posted by item at 3:51 PM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


My awareness of (and my admiration for) As'ad Abukhalil began with his post 9-11 appearance on Politically Incorrect. I was amazed that someone with his point of view was on TV, amidst all those clowns and buffoons.

Oh, man. I just watched that and it's painful to see one man being reasonable in the face of the 3 other men maddened and made illogical in the aftermath of September 11.
Painful. I now realize why those years were so difficult for me. Most people REALLY were that stupid.
posted by Seamus at 3:58 PM on May 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


I don't know, has anything of substance ever come of the Bill Maher format? Whether it's this show or the current iteration on HBO?

Not that I'm aware of, which is one reason why I don't really care for him. I was more referring to the principle of it, which I disagree with
posted by Hoopo at 4:00 PM on May 23, 2014


Oh, man. I just watched that and it's painful to see one man being reasonable in the face of the 3 other men maddened and made illogical in the aftermath of September 11.
Painful. I now realize why those years were so difficult for me. Most people REALLY were that stupid.


AbuKhalil has something on his blog (Angry Arab News Service) summarizing his version of the experience.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 4:16 PM on May 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


AbuKhalil has something on his blog (Angry Arab News Service) summarizing his version of the experience.

Thanks, Noisy Pink Bubbles. That made the whole thing even more uncomfortable and creepier. And Sasson . . .. And the Chicken McNuggets thing. Wow.
I wish I had known of As'ad Abukhalil earlier. But then, being a troglodyte does have its drawbacks, what with living in a metaphorical cave and all.

I just finished watching Weird Al Yankovic, Gibby Haynes, Stephen Bishop & Me'shell Ndegeocello episode and that was disturbing in a completely different way. Maher had those four people on and the only thing he had prepared was printed lyrics from other artists' songs which he asked them to comment on and his own curmudgeonly comments about how lyrics sucked in the mid to late '90s. Wow, what insight! I watched four artists sitting there not being asked about their own songs or experiences, not asked about meaningful topics, just asked about Stone Temple Pilots songs. I kept wishing Gibby would dick punch Maher. Or Me'shell. Shit, Stephen Bishop! Yeah, he should have done it!

Anyway, having never watched anything of Maher's (except for that ridiculous movie of his (that I should have agreed with, philosophically, but did not) after watching those two episodes in a row, I feel almost glad that he got canceled on regular cable. There must of been reruns of infomercials or something that were more deserving.

posted by Seamus at 5:05 PM on May 23, 2014


I know the post is about Bill Maher, but I have to point out that Dinesh D'Souza is still a piece of shit.
posted by Curious Artificer at 2:08 PM on May 23


I feel confident I don't need to RTFA to favorite this comment.
posted by univac at 5:17 PM on May 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


I still blame this show for Ann Coulter becoming a thing. Ugh.

The one with Chris Rock, Jon Stewart, Lennox Lewis and Ann Coulter sounds like a hell of a lineup too.

I remember watching that, it was amazing.
posted by fshgrl at 5:36 PM on May 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


I still blame this show for Ann Coulter becoming a thing. Ugh.

I heard talk from people who had reason to know envy Maher that he used a classic "casting couch" for an alarming number of his female guests - including Coulter. Which would make him not just a total degenerate bastard, but one with truly crappy taste.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:07 PM on May 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


Maher that he used a classic "casting couch" for an alarming number of his female guest

I know this is probably not fair, but he just looks like he would, too
posted by Hoopo at 6:43 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Maher's never been much of a class act. (To mention only one incident.)
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 6:46 PM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


You guys know the obnoxious political host having hate sex in the doomed Long Island compound in World War Z is supposed to be Maher and Coulter right?
posted by The Whelk at 6:52 PM on May 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


It's never been adequately explained why the only person fired over 9/11 was Bill Maher.
posted by lon_star at 6:52 PM on May 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


Watching asinine political dialogue is made both more enjoyable and more depressing when it is done from the future when you know just how wrong these people were. Maybe CNN shoould be on a 10 year tape-delay.

Also, when did the 2000s start to look like the 80s?
posted by cacofonie at 7:36 PM on May 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


Also more fun when you picture them all being eaten by zombies (SLOW zombies, damnit!).
posted by cacofonie at 7:37 PM on May 23, 2014


Long ago, conservatives stole the term for their own malignant purposes.

Except you can't steal a term — no one owns the language. Look, if you actually believe in political correctness, then go ahead and defend it. As for me, I think political correctness is mostly pretty good, even though it can occasionally be excessive. For the most part, it's good that society has made progress in becoming more sensitive and thoughtful in how we speak and think about certain issues. Why would you worry about what the right or Bill Maher has done with the term? Why not make a more positive argument: hey, bring on the political correctness — it's a good thing!

That said, thanks for posting this — I used to watch this show and like it a lot, despite how insufferable many of his guests were.
posted by John Cohen at 8:38 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I heard talk from people who had reason to know envy Maher that he used a classic "casting couch" for an alarming number of his female guests - including Coulter.

There were rumors they had an extended affair. It really explains a lot.
posted by fshgrl at 10:36 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't have a TV, but is it still this painful? I mean, that was way back, has any clue crept into TV since then?
posted by anadem at 11:03 PM on May 23, 2014


it's gotten worse.
posted by The Whelk at 11:10 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I thought they knew each other as they both attended Cornell at the same time.
posted by PenDevil at 12:01 AM on May 24, 2014


It's Yale, usually.
posted by The Whelk at 12:34 AM on May 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Would that be adulterating, convicted felon Dinesh D'Souza ?

The guy has been a disreputable blowhard his whole life. I have no love for Bill Maher, but seriously, he should have known better than to agree with Dinesh about anything, anywhere, for any reason.


D'Souza's views aside, we're shaming felons now? Didn't get that memo...
posted by holybagel at 12:39 AM on May 24, 2014


We're done with memos; they get lost way too easily. You have to add Shame Weekly to your RSS catcher or follow @Hooray_Shame on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates.
posted by NoraReed at 3:01 AM on May 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


The main problem with Bill Maher is that any potential profundity of the content of his act is negated by the classist, sexist, ableist etc dog shit that comes at the end of a large number of his jokes.
He's a worthless ally in the progressive movement. He's OK as an entertainer, but who cares.


That sums up Bill Maher's schtick up for me.

I watched his show a few times: it consisted of the panelists talking over each other, interrupted by Bill's obnoxious bumper comments.

Yeah; and the horse you rode in on, Bill.
posted by Pudhoho at 3:36 AM on May 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


"I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes."

Excellent tweet, but certainly not the Gettysburg Address.
posted by Pudhoho at 3:46 AM on May 24, 2014


Every week he does this thing where he'll tell a bad joke and pretend like it's the audience's being over-sensitive that explains why they didn't laugh. No, it just wasn't funny.

Every week he says something insulting about women or minorities. And he frequently doesn't know the political issues that well. I mean, wtf is he doing all week? Read Krugman and Wonkblog daily.

Yet I still watch him regularly. I don't know why.
posted by sporknado at 4:41 AM on May 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh yes, his New Rules tonight was about political correctness run amok, fed by social media.

It's a good thing I learned this week from the Google that MF isn't social media.
posted by sporknado at 4:44 AM on May 24, 2014


There are things I like about Bill Maher, for instance being the first person I ever remember seeing talking about what a failure the drug war was on broadcast TV. He has a lot of massive failures when it comes to the terrorism topic but he was also one of the few voices that spoke out against Bush at times during the post-9/11 national freakout. That was so rare it gets some respect from me. It was an era where cable news shows were canceled for opposing wars and Democratic Senators like Kerry and Clinton were either persuaded or cowed into going along with the Iraq War. I also likes that he speaks out for animal rights. I do like some of his comedy but I'm someone who gives comedians a lot more latitude to be offensive on social topics and I understand why others do not feel that way.

Anyway, his bravery in the face of the national freakout is for the most part not particularly meaningful, he goes against the grain because it's part of his brand, not because of any serious principles. He hasn't evolved with the times and I don't really tune in much anymore or even listen to the podcast instead. The show is either like arguing with your annoying conservative uncle on Facebook or like circle jerking it with your liberal friends. It just gets tiring.

John Oliver's show is a very refreshing breath of fresh air from HBO.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:00 AM on May 24, 2014


There are things I like about Bill Maher, for instance being the first person I ever remember seeing talking about what a failure the drug war was on broadcast TV.

William F. Buckley did it earlier.

Difficult not to loath both Maher and D'Sousa.

The cowardice charge was nonsense, typical Maher bloviating. The point of war is not to demonstrate courage, much less die for you country. It is to make the other poor bastard die for his country. A good leader does his best to get his own soldiers out alive. Would General Bill Maher turn down technology that saved his men at the cost of his view of bravery? Would he throw off the kevlar to even the fighting field?

D'Sousa was also out of line. The 9/11 attackers were not "warriors". Warriors do not deliberately target civilians. Those men were seriously disturbed true believers with an eye on 40 virgins and extended orgasm just on the other side of that concrete wall. Their pre-op prep was going to a strip club, for God's sake. Brave men? Balls. Little Timmy Turner going for a tonsillectomy with only the promise of post-op ice-cream to sustain him is braver than any of those jackasses.

That said, our leaders should have kept their heads. The fall out on this country, on those countries, just because we could not (and apparently still cannot) react like adults is well nigh unforgivable.
posted by IndigoJones at 8:04 AM on May 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


and realized we were being a little ridiculous

Uhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm have you been paying attention lately to the SJW left for, I dunno, the past twenty years? Liberals as a group haven't yet gotten beyond the "we must use the correct semantics" "Wait, what does correct mean in this sentence? Correct according to whom?" "You shouldn't be interrupting! Check your privilege" etc etc etc.

It's just as ridiculous today as you experienced back then. And it's still just as damaging because it creates divisions where there should be unity. (For some reason I started typing 'nudity' instead of 'unity.' Paging Dr Freud, Dr Freud to the white reception phone please.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:48 AM on May 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


The cowardice charge was nonsense, typical Maher bloviating. The point of war is not to demonstrate courage, much less die for you country. It is to make the other poor bastard die for his country. A good leader does his best to get his own soldiers out alive. Would General Bill Maher turn down technology that saved his men at the cost of his view of bravery? Would he throw off the kevlar to even the fighting field?

Maher was not trumpeting the bravery of the hijackers or denouncing the cowardice of the U.S. troops, he was simply saying that to call suicide bombers "cowards" seems, to him and D'Souza, to be a gross mischaracterization. And along the same lines of thinking, to cover our troops with honor when many of them (Naval/Air Force pilots, Nellis AFB drone operators, etc.) are able to execute battle ops with impunity, and from a safe distance, seems to likewise be a misrepresentation of the facts and a misapplication of words.

I suppose we could get into a protracted argument here about what it means to be brave, and the metaphysics of cowardice, but let's not.

At no point did it seem to me that Bill Maher was expressing a desire for U.S. troops to engage the enemy in a "braver" fashion; he was simply encouraging a more truthful accounting of the events that were then still unfolding.

At least that's how I interpreted it.
posted by Alonzo T. Calm at 11:01 AM on May 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm willing to leave it at "not my cup of tea", but I don't think you can really lump Bill Maher's work into the "don't throw the baby out with the bathwater" category. It's just lots and lots of bathwater as far as I can tell.

Or lots and lots of babies, amiright?
posted by General Tonic at 11:22 AM on May 24, 2014


I don't have a TV, but is it still this painful?

Dear Metafilter, please don't ever change.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:25 PM on May 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


--I don't have a TV, but is it still this painful?

Dear Metafilter, please don't ever change.


Amen. Classic Metafilter right there.
posted by Dirjy at 2:15 PM on May 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


November 16, 2000 yt : Kelsey Grammer, Ann Coulter, Steven Weber & Lisa Ling

Ann Coulter was just blabbing on and cutting people off. Steven Wright pulled out his wallet and said "I will give you 10 dollars if you please just SHUT UP." So perfect.
posted by msalt at 3:07 PM on May 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


No matter what you think about Bill Maher, there's a lot of great stuff in here. Nice post.
posted by wallabear at 7:07 PM on May 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


March 29, 1995 yt : Garry Shandling, Kato Kaelin, LeVar Burton & Susan Estrich

Speaking of Burton: Levar Burton's reaction to reaching $1 million for Reading Rainbow.
posted by homunculus at 12:37 PM on May 29, 2014


Would that be adulterating, convicted felon Dinesh D'Souza ?

To adulterate is to make something impure by adding inferior materials, for example watering down beer or adding chalk dust to flour. I think you mean adulterous convicted felon, Dinesh D'Souza.
posted by Grangousier at 12:57 PM on May 29, 2014


Would that be adulterating, convicted felon Dinesh D'Souza ?

To adulterate is to make something impure by adding inferior materials, for example watering down beer or adding chalk dust to flour. I think you mean adulterous convicted felon, Dinesh D'Souza.


Given what he does to the American policy debate, I'm okay with either version.
posted by Etrigan at 1:00 PM on May 29, 2014


« Older "None of the people are known to be troublemakers"   |   #truvadawhore Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments