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New Rule, Bill Maher Needs To Get Funny Again Or Get Off My Tivo!

Updated on March 16, 2009


It actually began last season. I would find myself turning on Real Time With Bill Maher and almost always either falling asleep or turning it off. Hey, I figure anyone can have a few bad shows so I stuck with it and whenever it was on, my faithful Tivo was catching it for me. Well, I’ve watched the first three episodes of the new season and new rule, Bill Maher needs to get funny again or get off my Tivo! – Don’t Get Me Started!

I started watching Bill Maher on Politically Incorrect and so it was only natural that I would follow him when he made the move to HBO. And for awhile it seemed as though he thrived. He had on interesting guests and they debated in a way that got me all riled up from my sofa. I liked the diversity of the people he had on and I liked his ability to moderate it and only on occasion bring in some self-indulgent comic bit that more times than not did not work.

But as I feared, with Bush out of the White House, political comedians seem to have forgotten how to be funny without just showing a video or audio clip of something stupid the President does and then make a funny face. Obama is causing comedians to actually go back and re-visit why they were political comedians to begin with and in most cases they are failing as miserably as the economy. You could say that it isn’t their fault but in a way, much like the person who was sold on the idea that they could buy a house they couldn’t afford just figuring they were getting the “easy way out” to the American dream, so too have comedians. They were greedy and lucky to have all that material and now that it’s not there they want to blame everyone else and I’m afraid that Bill Maher is no exception.

Bill Maher has cut his panel from three to two this year saying in his most recent show that it was easier to deal with but I think it may be that the “bookers” may be having problems finding people who actually want to be on the show at this point. You see, Mr. Maher needs to realize that when one joke bombs in your opening monologue and you chastise the audience with a “f*#k you” look that’s okay but when you’re forced to do that after every joke throughout the show you become a little like the angry drunk that no one wants to be around. And so is the case here. The last show was filled with very few moments of interest and yet Bill Maher wants to hold the audience responsible not him or his writers. Does he not have anyone in his camp saying, “Look Bill, you can’t play pissed off with the audience if the jokes aren’t funny.”

Last week’s episode was a prime example why even though the network may not cancel his show it’s officially been cancelled from my Tivo lineup. I can’t even remember the initial interview he did one on one with anyone, that’s how stimulating that was and then he went to his panel of two guys. One black one white, one conservative and one liberal. Who knows what either one said as the black professor droned on and on as if he was one of those guys from prison who get a law book and learns a bunch of big words but has no idea what they mean, “The ramification of the edification of the masturbation of the eloquence.” I know that he was talking about being articulate and is an Ivy League professor but honestly it was just a barrage of words from the dictionary letters “B” through “Q” from the sound of it. The white guy did his part by being outraged but honestly, I don’t know if Maher was stoned or what but he just sort of sat back and watched the two talk like, “Wow, lips are really crazy looking when you stare at them too long, aren’t they?” He didn’t moderate, host, add his own thoughts he just sat there and took the paycheck. As if these guys weren’t bad enough, he tried to score with his latest running segment and was met with little response so once again he attacked his audience. And as if the show wasn’t one big smelly pile to begin with, he ends the show by bring on Sarah Silverman, who is one of the funniest and most outrageous people in the world of comedy and smacked both of their asses by a) not really having anything to talk about with her and b) not knowing her inability to obviously do less than great in an improvised situation. As he continually told her how funny and smart she was (like a guy who was pathetically trying to pick up a girl that had just dumped her boyfriend…oh wait, that’s who she is) she could only manage one or two word answers and the word, “c*%t” to make her funny.

Is it easy to sit back and criticize? You bet, but isn’t that what Maher is famous for? And if he’s not going to give us political insight with a rapier wit that we had come to know him for than what makes him different than the guy on the corner standing on a box? Is it his designer suit that is shinier than his personality? And with all of Maher’s disdain for his audience and obviously hurt feelings that no one gave a shit about his movie, how long is it before Bill Maher goes Michael Richards on his audience? I’ll bet it won’t be long. I won’t be watching to see it but when it happens I’m sure it’ll be all over YouTube so I’ll catch it like you should catch Bill Maher…in reruns (from previous seasons). New rule, Bill Maher needs to get funny again or get off my Tivo! – Don’t Get Me Started!

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    • somelikeitscott profile image

      somelikeitscott 8 years ago from Las Vegas

      Mother Hubber you are the best! I had a feeling and you confirmed it all for me. He's definitely off the Tivo, John Stewart has been there for awhile and he's not going anywhere. Plus Stewart is Jewish so it makes me feel good to support a fellow Jew...of course we all saw where that got us when we followed Bernie Madoff.

      I think it's just really important for comedians to remember that having too much disdain for their audience just leaves the audience over them!

      More power to you in the "IE" - I used to work for a company that had a location there and was there all the time. I actually thought it was pretty there...what do I know?

    • MotherHubber profile image

      MotherHubber 8 years ago from Southern California

      Right on, darlin'!

      Bill Maher is like a bitter, bloated unfunny ex husband whose political discourse is akin to 6 straight months of missionary position with the lights off.

      That makes John Stewart the sexy, well-educated rebound man.


      Actually, I used to be a big Bill Maher fan, until I went to see him live at the Improve near where I live (Southern California, Inland Empire area). The very first thing he did in his opening monologue was to insult the audience about where we live ("It might be inland, but is sure as hell ain't an empire!" - okay, that was funny, I chuckled). It would have been good to stop there, Instead, he continued on about how uneducated we all must be, and how we are a bunch of "Nas-Trash" (the California Speedway is located closeby). It started to get a little uncomfortable. I honestly thought he was high, and he probably was. He was totally disconnected from the audience, and I just felt like we had paid money to sit there and be insulted.

      I absolutely agree with what you said about collecting the paycheck. That was exactly how I felt when I saw him live. I could tell he was going through the motions, and just doing it to be paid. Really arrogant, and the worst case of celebrity helmet hair I have ever seen up close (I have worked in entertainment, seen a lot of celebrities of both genders in person, and his hair - I swear- was immovable. I am talking Aquanet stiff).

      Anyway, it wasn't long after that I just phased him out.

      I like your New Rule, but have a hunch he won't follow it. Guess you just freed up a little extra space on your Tivo's hard drive.



    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Right on! If there's a god, by this time next year, BM *will* be standing on a street corner trying to drum up an audience for his pathetic non-humor!