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It’s time to stop paying attention to Bill Maher

Why Bill Maher’s tasteless One Direction joke is the last straw.


Marisa Kabas


The fact that Bill Maher said something wildly offensive is hardly newsworthy anymore. The HBO host has made so many below-the-belt comments against women, conservatives, and religions of the world, that at this point there’s really only one question remaining: How does he still have a job?

His most recent offense came in an interview with BuzzFeed News in response to criticism he received over a bit from his “New Rules” segment in which he compared former One Direction member Zayn Malik with Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. He did a side-by-side of the two young men: “Just tell me two things, Zayn. Which one in the band were you? And where were you during the Boston marathon?” When asked about the subsequent backlash from the comparison, he remained unmoved:

“I feel like any place that considers itself a serious journalistic enterprise and I certainly consider BuzzFeed to be that, it’s beneath their dignity to even ask about something that, really, is the province of teenage girls,” he said. “We threw up a picture of the guy from the guy from One Direction and we threw up a picture of the Tsarnaev kid. They look alike. That’s the whole joke.”

“‘Do something useful with your life’ is my response to the people who are asking for an apology,” he said. “I understand why teenage girls are upset; they’re teenage girls. Anybody else that is upset is acting like a teenage girl.”

Here are some other terrible things he’s said…

Calling out Bostonians

“I also saw, so the Red Sox won the World Series, congratulations Red Sox,” Maher said to Weiner. “So the parade, they go to the place where the marathon bombing took place, they put the World Series statue there and they sing ‘God Bless America’ and they say ‘Boston strong’ and they chant ‘USA,’ you know. It was again, a bad day, three people died, that’s terrible. More were maimed, that’s horrible, but unfortunately that happens every day, in car accidents and everything else. I mean, your city was not leveled by Godzilla.”

– Real Time With Bill Maher, 2014

In defense of the 9/11 attackers

“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.”

– Politically Incorrect, 2001 (This comment partially led to Maher’s previous show’s cancellation the following year. But he still managed to get his HBO show one year later.)

In defense of using the word ‘retarded’

“I’ve gotten some crap over this from people too over the years. But look, language is a living, breathing thing. Americans have voted with their vernacular. They need the word ‘retarded.’ They use it constantly… But, ironically,” Maher continued, “because of people like Sarah Palin, the country has become so stupid that we need the word ‘retarded’ to describe what is going on in America.”

– Real Time With Bill Maher, 2010

His thoughts on millennials and their apparent fixation with butts

“It’s an ass. It’s been around for centuries. Dogs aren’t this fixated on it. But half of our music, and all of our dancing is just about worshiping, praising, staring at, and waxing poetic about the human ass. Millennials should be called ‘generation ass.’ I’m telling you, these kids are hooked on crack.”

– Real Time With Bill Maher, 2014

How he feels about the notion of Islamophobia

“…a word created by fascists and used by cowards to manipulate morons.”

– Real Time With Bill Maher, 2014

Comparing women to a terrorist organization

On hotdogs

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?”

    – I’m Swiss comedy special, 2014

    On military recruitment

    “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.” 

    Real Time With Bill Maher, 2014

    And lastly, here’s a quote from a 2010 Larry King interview that shows just how few shits he gives

    “I want to always be an interloper. I never want to feel like I’m a guy who is embraced by the people who are putting me on the air. I want to feel like I broke into the studio and took over and made them mad. If I’m not doing that, I’m not doing my job.”

      Screengrab via Real Time With Bill Maher/YouTube

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