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Old 02-21-03, 09:29 AM   #1
Jadzia
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Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO) - Series Discussion Thread

I personally cannot wait.


'Real Time with Bill Maher'
Series premiere
11:30 p.m. Friday
HBO

http://www.freep.com/entertainment/t...1_20030221.htm

Bill Maher has plenty to say -- again

Comic is eager to sit down in the topical hot seat with new 'Real Time' talk show
February 21, 2003

BY MIKE DUFFY
FREE PRESS TV WRITER

Bill Maher's like a talented ballplayer itching to get back in the game.


The hot potato topical comic and former host of "Politically Incorrect" is really ready to Iraq and roll.

"I'm anxious especially to be able to talk about the war and put the brakes on it," says Maher, who returns to television in "Real Time with Bill Maher" at 11:30 tonight on HBO.

The new late night talk show, televised live Friday evenings from Los Angeles, will provide Maher & Co. a freewheeling, anything-goes forum for news, comedy and irreverent opinions.

"It should be harder to 'sell' a war, shouldn't it? And we should be more critical in our thinking about it," observes Maher, expressing serious dismay about how easily President Bush and his administration have marketed a march to war over the past year. "It's scary how they morphed bin Laden into Saddam Hussein."

"Real Time" is styled to serve "as an end-of-the-week kind of wrap-up show," says Maher. It's an hour long and free of pesky commercial breaks.

"This show is primarily entertainment," says Maher. "People are not looking to see 'Meet the Press' and that's not what they're going to get. . . . We want to be entertaining and funny. And we want to be saying things nobody else is saying and saying them in a fresh, original way."

One prominent regular segment of "Real Time" offers an echo of "Politically Incorrect" and its hectic, eclectic smorgasbord of comics, pundits, scholars, actors and rock 'n' rollers debating the issues of the day.

Maher will chair a weekly roundtable panel of some of his favorite "Politically Incorrect" regulars.

The trio of scheduled guests for opening night includes conservative political columnist Ann Coulter, comic Larry Miller and author-educator Michael Eric Dyson. In future weeks, Dennis Miller, Arianna Huffington, Al Franken, D.L. Hughley, Tim Robbins and Alec Baldwin are scheduled for some "Real Time" topical crossfire.

"We cast a much wider net on 'Politically Incorrect.' That's what the show was," says Maher, "those crazy mismatched pairings like Florence Henderson and Marilyn Manson."

With "Real Time," Maher is hoping for sharper, smarter roundtable discussions by well-informed celebrities.

"We want people to leave the broadcast feeling like things have really been covered, the big issues as well as pop culture -- Iraq and also Michael Jackson," says Maher.

No regrets
Maher is anything but bitter about his experience with the demise of "Politically Incorrect," which got caught in the flag-waving aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001.

"I was never unhappy when I worked at ABC," says Maher. "And those last nine months, after we knew we were going off the air, I enjoyed those shows more than any others. In the post-9/11 period, we were liberated. We were able to stay a lot more focused; there were big issues to chew on."

It was Maher's uncompromising post-9/11 candor on "Politically Incorrect," however, that sparked a controversy that eventually led to ABC's cancellation of the show. One night, Maher suggested that the terrorists who died flying airliners into the World Trade Center were perhaps more courageous than Americans who kill civilians while dropping bombs from military aircraft miles above Afghanistan.

The comments were slammed as treasonous and un-American by numerous conservative pundits. And Maher was even scolded by the White House. So much for the American tradition of freely expressing a dissenting opinion. Hey, wasn't the show called "Politically Incorrect"?

Didn't matter. Nervous advertisers immediately started to bail out on Maher and the show.

"Our ratings never fell," says Maher. "Our audience was very loyal."

But the drop in advertising revenue spoke to ABC's bottom line requirements for a show's survival. So ABC pulled the plug on the show, allowing it to finish out the 2001-2002 season.

"I was able to say pretty much anything I wanted on ABC. The only difference was I got fired," recalls Maher with a sardonic laugh.

Skewering all
Ironically, Maher himself is no knee-jerk liberal. He's part libertarian, part witty, cerebral contrarian.

"I do have conservative viewpoints on unions and voting . . . and the National Endowment for the Arts and many things that would disappoint liberals," Maher said earlier this winter. "I always thought I was doing my job back in the old ('Politically Incorrect') days, when I was equally hated by the left and the right."

Bill Clinton, George Bush, Al Gore, Dick Cheney, Democrat or Republican, they've all been red meat for sarcastic political skewering on the Bill Maher barbecue. Now there's the bonus of nailing the White House on Friday nights.

"The administration always releases the bad news late on Fridays and then it gets buried in the Saturday papers and nobody remembers it," says Maher. "I want to be there for that Friday news dump."

Oh, goody. And with absolutely no cowardly, chicken salad advertisers to please in the free, unfettered HBO universe, Maher won't have to worry about anything but being funny, honest and entertaining.

On HBO, wise guy contrarians are always cool.

Last edited by Jadzia; 02-21-03 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 02-21-03, 09:35 AM   #2
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Re: Bill Maher fans: new shows starts tonight on HBO

Quoth Jadzia
I personally cannot wait.

Quote:
Oh, goody. And with absolutely no cowardly, chicken salad advertisers to please in the free, unfettered HBO universe, Maher won't have to worry about anything but being funny, honest and entertaining.





Me neither. I've never liked Maher as a person but as a public figure who exposes so many full-of-crap sensibilities people cling to and preach about, I've always respected what he does and the need for people like him. I can't wait to see him let loose on HBO. Between Penn & Teller: Bullshit and Real Time with Bill Maher, Friday nights are going to be great for picking apart so much of the nonsense we're fed during the week.

das
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Old 02-21-03, 10:12 AM   #3
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thanks for the reminder! will definitely tune in.
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Old 02-21-03, 02:08 PM   #4
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Looking forward to this also - and stay tuned after the Maher show for Da Ali G Show which today's NY Times said is "....irrestibly, corrosivley funny. It also serves as a reminder of why HBO is home to so many comedies and dramas that are unmatched on network television"

Looks like a late Friday night for me.....
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Old 02-21-03, 02:30 PM   #5
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I couldn't stand him on ABC. I'm going to be watching this in the hopes that it's more like his Comedy Central show, which I loved.
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Old 02-21-03, 11:23 PM   #6
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Hm. Had some great moments. Seemed a little rough, but hey, it's live and it was the first show. I'll watch at least a couple more.
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Old 02-22-03, 02:47 AM   #7
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Holy carp ... who knew it was possible to make Coulter look like the sensible one. He'd been off the air for so long that I'd forgotten how closed minded Maher could be on certain topics and his annoying tendancy to change the subject when someone points out the flaws in his "logic." Even when he's right, I wish he'd shut up and let the guest argue against him without pounding home some absurd oversimplification of the issue.

Luckily, Coulter said enough things to remind me what a nutcase she is too, and I couldn't get enough of Jesse Jackson on the end repeatedly promoting his book and spouting off a random string of thesaurus words and senseless rhetoric. Larry Miller sounded interesting, but he didn't get to say much. I know it's a free-form show, but I'd like to hear more of the opinions without the other guests jumping down each other's throats so quickly that a coherent thought can't be formed.

Still, it's great to at least have a forum like this back on the air. For the most part I found it frustrating to watch, but I'll keep watching in hopes that they can hone it a bit more. Sarah Silverman was spot on as always and saved the show for me from holier-than-thou preaching of the guests into some biting social comedy. My God, she's a brilliant comedienne (being hot doesn't hurt).

das
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Old 02-22-03, 03:06 AM   #8
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Just remember folks...when he got into trouble with ABC for his comments, even Maher admitted that the first ones to his defence were Conservatives.

So to alla yuz guyz!


I'm no fan of his but to be honest, he SHOULD be on HBO and I hope he does well.
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Old 02-22-03, 09:28 AM   #9
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urgh!!! i just can't stand ann coulter! she ridiculous...after watching i'm happy to "confirm" that i am guilty of treason (thank you ann)!

i thought it was a good show, a little rough around the edges but that's kinda expected for first shows.
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Old 02-22-03, 09:57 AM   #10
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SARAH~!

(Even if all her jokes were old and straight from her one-woman show)

And Paul F. Tompkins is pretty damn funny, too - not his format, though.

RS
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Old 02-22-03, 11:33 AM   #11
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Sorry I missed this.

But I do adore Sarah Silverman. There's something about a cute girl with a filthy mouth that just does it for me.
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Old 02-22-03, 01:50 PM   #12
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sarah was good but it seemed like the audience wasn't too sure about her. there were definitely some awkwards moments.
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Old 02-22-03, 02:20 PM   #13
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Yeah, the audience seemed really confused. Of course, I really have to wonder about those people. They seemed hand-picked to agree with Maher. Did others notice how everything he said received a massive ovation, but the comments of the others (unless they directly repeated what he just said) were met with near silence. Normally, I'd approve of silence when Coulter speaks, but it was strangely and severely unbalanced. You figure with such divisive topics as those discussed, half the crowd would feel one way, and the other half would skew to the other side. I dunno ... it was just strange.

I noticed Maher did comment about how he knew she was funny, implying that the audience seemed to miss the joke. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if Silverman (in her trademark style) can survive long on her own without someone famous repeatedly putting her on the air. It's like everyone who knows anything about comedy realizes her talent, yet no one can seem to keep her on the air for any significant duration. Then again, maybe she just doesn't have any new material.

das
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Old 02-23-03, 03:08 AM   #14
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After watching tonite....Maher is still an ass...only more viscious because it's HBO...and he still stacks his "panel".

With that said I still think HBO is the best place for him and I wish him success.
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Old 02-24-03, 11:53 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by das Monkey
Then again, maybe she just doesn't have any new material.
I saw a rerun of SNL from the early 90s recently. She was on Weekend Update, and did her Abramawitz-Silverman wedding joke ("The invitations are just going to say, 'Jews'"). She did the same joke the week before on Conan.

She's really funny, but not very prolific.

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Old 07-25-03, 11:14 PM   #16
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Real Time with Bill Maher: 7-25 Season Premiere

I'm so glad to have this back. It seemed there were a lot more laugh out loud moments tonight than I remember in the first season. Could be because D.L. Hughley is a funny mf, that "Boondocks" guy was such a tool, and the fact that Arianna Huffington was nowhere to be seen.

I did miss the Paul F. Tompkins bit, although I can definitely live without it. I really enjoyed the comedy acts Bill had on at the end of the show last season. I hope they come back after this episode. The Sharpton piece could have been left off for one of these. It really served no purpose.

Highlight of the night: Hughley impersonating Buchannan's kids after she said the drugs they do are O.K., "Man, mom's allright!"

Welcome back Bill, see ya next week!
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Old 07-26-03, 10:52 AM   #17
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Wow. If this is any indication of how many people are watching this show, I probably won't get to see it again...

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Old 07-26-03, 12:38 PM   #18
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Bill needs to get better guests. He keeps packing his panel with extremists like Ann Coulter and Tim Robbins.
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Old 07-27-03, 03:22 AM   #19
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Those two are hardly comparable.

Coulter and Amiri Baraka, maybe. (I'd pay to see that...)
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Old 07-27-03, 06:42 AM   #20
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I happened to catch this last night (my first time seeing the show) and it was ok. Love McGruder's comic strip but he could barely get a word in edgewise. Hugley is just hilarious all the time. I'm sure the poor conservative woman will never again be flanked by two left-wing black men again in her life (as Maher pointed out at the beginning).

There were some funny moments but it's not a show I can see myself watching every week. I'll just wait patiently for the return of On the Record.
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Old 07-27-03, 10:21 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by Buck Turgidson
Those two are hardly comparable.

Coulter and Amiri Baraka, maybe. (I'd pay to see that...)
Robins is as much a flaming liberal as Coulter is a radical conservative.

Robins makes for worse TV, though. The only time I saw him on Maher's show, Tim was stoned out of his mind and kept making weird faces, like he thought he was Popeye or something.
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Old 07-27-03, 03:23 PM   #22
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It would be nice if they could get a little more variety with their guests. Seems like they just have a pool of about seven regulars that they randomly mix.

And bring back Harlan Ellison, goddammit! I want to see him go off on some right wing nutjobs without commercial TV censorship.
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Old 07-27-03, 05:42 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by Buck Turgidson
Coulter and Amiri Baraka, maybe. (I'd pay to see that...)
Give me a break. Coulter may have outspoken political views, but Baraka's a raving, anti-Semitic, racist loon.
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Old 07-27-03, 07:19 PM   #24
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Originally posted by BJacks
Give me a break. Coulter may have outspoken political views, but Baraka's a raving, anti-Semitic, racist loon.
"oustpoken political views"????

She's a liar. There's a difference between being outspoken and telling lies. Her books have been shredded to the point where she's taken over the #1 bull***** artist title from Limbaugh, a feat no one ever thought could happen.

And Coulter's not racist? After her post 9/11 claim that we should invade every middle eastern nation, kill their leaders, and convert them all to Christianity at GUNPOINT, you have the ignorance to say that?

From what I can see of Baraka, he and Coulter are identical farkheads at the opposite ends of the political spectrum. Baraka blames whitey, and Coulter blames anyone that isn't white.
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Old 07-28-03, 12:51 AM   #25
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Let's see Bill Maher is liberal.
Hughley is liberal.
The Boondocks tool is hardcore liberal.
And the only conservative on the show is a woman in her 50's.
Do you suppose the public picks up on this?
Liberalism today is not the same from the 1960's.
Liberalism today is more like Mike Moore & Al Franken.
Change the truth to make your point of view look like truth.
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