This year marks the 10th Anniversary of a show Larry King calls ‘one of the greatest shows on television’; and that show is Real Time with Bill Maher. I adore The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as much as any other long-haired liberal, but a greater number of the British public need to see Bill Maher’s refreshing, hilarious and enlightening show. Be it on Comedy Central, Dave or Nickelodeon I really do not care, and – although our friend Mr. YouTube is handy for accessing such materials – Mr. Maher’s weekly hour of hard-hitting blue humour is precisely what I think a lot of our English sensibilities could do with. The show offers a much feistier form of political satire.
For those who are oblivious as to who I am even talking about, Bill Maher began as a stand-up comedian – which he still partakes in – before eventually becoming the host of show Politically Correct and then claiming this slot with HBO. Bill Maher, a supporter of PETA, of marriage equality and advocate of the legalisation of cannabis, sits at the forefront of American liberal media (even turning his hand to directing with 2008’s Religulous) alongside Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and he tends to vote Democrat, yet he is not always prone to praising the party. On the contrary; Maher often criticises the Obama office. The straight-talking, politically-astute atheist works a show that involves four guests every week, normally with one Republican and one Democrat representative alongside another of (sometimes) neutrality and a public figure. This in the past has ranged from the likes of Seth Macfarlane and the late Christopher Hitchens to Neil deGrasse Tyson, Samuel L. Jackson and even Jay-Z. The show involves lively debates, interviews with the likes of Julian Assange and Richard Dawkins and a unique segment called ‘New Rules’ (of which there are a series of books) which allows the ever-so crass Maher and his writers a time to articulate an array of brilliantly piercing comments on anything ranging from Jesus to porn stars.
Watching the snippets of the show that I manage to locate on YouTube, I find myself laughing and listening intently to both the views of the charismatic host and of his guests. The reason behind my love for the show is that it is insightful debate from some genuinely interesting and intelligent people (along with some raging morons) espoused with – at least through my mind – a highest quality of blue humour. Indeed I share many of Maher’s views, but I don’t take his words as gospel. At times some find his views aggressive and out-of-line but this is a characteristic I find appealing; this should not be one’s source for attaining the news, but it gets you thinking and it gets you laughing. This show of a man that does not hide his views needs to be played both in Britain and the world over. He is a point of reference for shows such as Family Guy, and he should be a point of reference for people like you.
You can view a recent collection of videos from the show’s ‘New Rule’ section here: