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Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO) - Series Discussion Thread

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Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO) - Series Discussion Thread

Old 09-06-05, 09:40 PM
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I really got turned off to Bill when he went on the Howard Stern show to do a P.I. type of roundtable with Beetlejuice (the retarded dwarf), Gary the Retard, and Daniel Carver from the KKK - and he got snippy and cross with Howard because he wasn't able to have a reasonable discussion about current events. It seemed like he was pretty uptight and humorless, which really don't go along well with a big ego. I can't think of a person with whom I agree more often and like less(boy did I have some trouble formulating that idea into words, and I'm still not confident in the result of my deliberations) - not that I consider him a kindred spirit ideologically.
Old 09-07-05, 12:27 AM
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I really dont care about his views...he just isnt funny anymore, if he's going the Garafallo/Franken route and dropping the comedy, fine, but is this what HBO signed up for...at least Jon Stewart can still make me laugh.

I heard his standup is still good, so why doesnt it come through on the show?
Old 09-07-05, 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Tommy Ceez
I really dont care about his views...he just isnt funny anymore, if he's going the Garafallo/Franken route and dropping the comedy, fine, but is this what HBO signed up for...at least Jon Stewart can still make me laugh.

I heard his standup is still good, so why doesnt it come through on the show?
I actually do think this is what they signed up for. Whether he's doing a good enough job keeping the show fresh and entertaining is another story.

It's a political talk show and not a comedy show like Stewart has.

If you like Bill when he brings the funny (and I don't think he was ever that funny and coming across as arrogant doesn't help), then you really only get that in New Rules and in that little comedy bit he does when the panel is assembled. New Rules is usually very good. This week was weak, but he's been consistanly funny there imo.

If he tried to be "funnier" he'd just take the show down to the level of the stand up comedians he has on. Bill wants the show to be a fairly serious issues oriented debate show, with humor thrown in. He manages to do that well if you can get past the fact that he can really come across as an arrogant SOB.

I think it get's back to the guests. When he has a good panel, he usually has a good show. But his guests from the past 2 seasons haven't been very good. I don't need to see DL Hugley (sp?) on again for the rest of my life.

Even the interviews he does in person or on the monitor are usually pretty good. The panel portion really drags down the show and it's a large part of the show.

(I hope this didn't come across as a personal attack)

Last edited by dolphinboy; 09-07-05 at 12:44 AM.
Old 09-07-05, 01:15 AM
  #329  
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I dunno, maybe your right...Larry Miller and Dennis Miller are two guys that can talk serious topics intelligently and still be funny...

Arron McGruder sucks huge ass

Coulter distracts from the show because its a huge HATE fest...

Robin Williams and Hughly should be banned

Politicians suck...


Hell the format of the show is just not entertaining

And New Rules is almost NEVER funny

I guess I expect too much of comedians
Old 09-07-05, 02:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Tommy Ceez
I dunno, maybe your right...Larry Miller and Dennis Miller are two guys that can talk serious topics intelligently and still be funny...

Arron McGruder sucks huge ass

Coulter distracts from the show because its a huge HATE fest...

Robin Williams and Hughly should be banned

Politicians suck...


Hell the format of the show is just not entertaining

And New Rules is almost NEVER funny

I guess I expect too much of comedians

I think a lot of people would disagree with you about Dennis Miller...even from the right. You'd think if he did it so well, maybe his should wouldn't have been canned so quickly or that someone else would hire him to be funny about politics.

Larry Miller can be funny and intelligent in small doses. He's simply a stand up who doesn't feel like everything has to be about a punch line, although he certainly made a lot of those when I've seen him on Real Time.

And if you think New Rules is NEVER funny, honestly, maybe you just should accept that this isn't a show that you would ever like.
Old 09-07-05, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by dolphinboy

And if you think New Rules is NEVER funny, honestly, maybe you just should accept that this isn't a show that you would ever like.
But I loved PI and im always down for a good show centered around a comedian. Its just not Funny.
Old 09-10-05, 12:44 AM
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9/9/05 Real Time With Bill Maher

Anyone watch tonights episode? One of the best in awhile. Always love seeing people getting pissed off on these types of shows.
Old 09-10-05, 02:06 PM
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George Carlin has be become so bitter and angry that he seems humorless at this point. I may watch his upcoming HBO special out of curiosity but I won't expect to laugh like I used to.
Old 09-10-05, 05:06 PM
  #334  
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Originally Posted by nazz
George Carlin has be become so bitter and angry that he seems humorless at this point. I may watch his upcoming HBO special out of curiosity but I won't expect to laugh like I used to.
If he came on the show to be funny, he would be criticized for that too. He was more articulate and clearly more educated than anyone on the panel.

The problem with Carlin's views are that he seems to say the human species is bad (maybe we are) and that he enjoys watching us kill each other. He makes a lot of good points and I'm a fairly liberal guy so I agree with his politics in many ways, but why not make an effort to offer up some solutions or give us an idea that he cares enough about what he believes to do more than just comment about it? Even if you believed everything he said, would it be ok for us to just say, "OK, we quit, we're not even going to try and make things better?"

If that's his ultimate message, why go on a debate show anyway? I suppose there's no harm in doing HBO specials and writing books about what he believes, but if there is no way out, what reason are you there on a show that is supposed to look for solutions and discuss current events?
Old 09-10-05, 05:43 PM
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"He was more articulate and clearly more educated than anyone on the panel."

Huh ... none of his comments were event related. They were all smug twisted insults. At least Mahr made tiny attempts to balance things. Carlin was just spewing hate. You would think that Carlin would acknowlege at least one point the one guest made.

I just wish shows like this would make a marginal attempt to understand the other point of view. It devalues the entire process and reduces it to the level of Fox News ;-P

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. .... I was cringing the entire time he spoke.

I felt as if they all had an agenda that is irrelevant of the guests or current events.

Keep in mind I am a extreme left-wing tree hugging hippie.

Last edited by Ayre; 09-10-05 at 05:49 PM.
Old 09-10-05, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Ayre
I just wish shows like this would make a marginal attempt to understand the other point of view. It devalues the entire process and reduces it to the level of Fox News.
I think Real Time does a pretty good job of showing both sides EXCEPT in the cases where one side has acted so inane that they are beyond defending (i.e. the Bush Administration and FEMA's hurricane response). Things were pretty fair on Real Time during last year's election, and Maher has gone out of his way to defend much of the Iraq War.
Old 09-11-05, 10:58 AM
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I used to really like this show. Now it isn't even a argument driven show anymore, it is I am right, and I don't want to listen to your opinion.

Before HBO, Maher was always on the liberal side, but he when he was on the conservative end, he would be fair. Now the whole show is Maher who disdains Bush, 2 panelists who are anit-Bush, and 1 pro-Bush person, and the crowd is 95% anti Bush.

Whenever a conservative makes a point, he is laughed at by the crowd, and then the rest of the panel mocks him. George Carlin, whose standup is great, wasn't even listening to the Jim Glassman, he wasn't engaging, he was saying I'm right, your wrong, now shut your mouth.

I don't mind when people disagree, I think it makes for good TV, and that is what Bill Maher's show used to be. Now it is so polarized, that it is all one side, and there are no arguments, the liberal panelists just say something that they know will get a thunderous applause from the crowd.

To me, Bill Maher is becoming the Sean Hannity of the left on TV. It is all, I will take one side, and stack my crowd to agree with me, and then embarrass the other side by barraging them. Hannity does it well on the right, now Maher is doing on the left. To me, on both sides, it makes for boring and repititive TV. That is what Crossfire was, and that show is off the air.
Old 09-12-05, 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted by coli
I used to really like this show. Now it isn't even a argument driven show anymore, it is I am right, and I don't want to listen to your opinion.

Before HBO, Maher was always on the liberal side, but he when he was on the conservative end, he would be fair. Now the whole show is Maher who disdains Bush, 2 panelists who are anit-Bush, and 1 pro-Bush person, and the crowd is 95% anti Bush.

Whenever a conservative makes a point, he is laughed at by the crowd, and then the rest of the panel mocks him. George Carlin, whose standup is great, wasn't even listening to the Jim Glassman, he wasn't engaging, he was saying I'm right, your wrong, now shut your mouth.

I don't mind when people disagree, I think it makes for good TV, and that is what Bill Maher's show used to be. Now it is so polarized, that it is all one side, and there are no arguments, the liberal panelists just say something that they know will get a thunderous applause from the crowd.

To me, Bill Maher is becoming the Sean Hannity of the left on TV. It is all, I will take one side, and stack my crowd to agree with me, and then embarrass the other side by barraging them. Hannity does it well on the right, now Maher is doing on the left. To me, on both sides, it makes for boring and repititive TV. That is what Crossfire was, and that show is off the air.
Don't drag Crossfire into this! That was once a very good show, especially back in the Kinsley-Sununu days. When they started bringing in boobs like Tucker Carlson and Bill Press to host it went downhill fast.

Maher's show is nowhere near as good as the old Crossfire, and you state the major reasons why very well. It's no secret why libs love the show and conservatives gave up on it almost immediately. The one difference I would take with you is your comparison of Maher to Hannity. Hannity makes no bones about being a conservative pundit. Maher still laughingly claims to be some sort of independent when he is 95% in the liberal Democrat tent. Maher thinks he's fooling people for some reason, and I find it distasteful. I would respect him more if he was honest about his personal political prejudices. He's like those ridiculous talk show callers who claim to be from one party, and then roast the leaders of that party and their platforms, as though it gave their opinions more credibility when instead it's cringingly transparent.
Old 09-12-05, 04:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Needle
Maher still laughingly claims to be some sort of independent when he is 95% in the liberal Democrat tent. Maher thinks he's fooling people for some reason, and I find it distasteful. I would respect him more if he was honest about his personal political prejudices.
This is where I disagree with you. If you've spent any time watching Maher, you would know this is wrong. He does not pretend or try to fool people into thinking that he's balanced or fair or whatever. (You have to remember that being "Independent" means not affiliating with a political party, it doesn't mean being at the "center." A person who's an Independent can be anywhere on the liberal or conserative spectrum.) Maher is not bashful about any of his opinions, which is why what you claim doesn't make sense IMO. I can truly understand why conservatives wouldn't care to listen to him. I wouldn't either if I fell on that side of the political fence. Maher is predominately liberal in his views, but (like Michael Moore) is not a "Democrat." Maher makes no bones about the fact that he doesn't believe in God or religion, he's in favor of the legalization of pot, and he also has opinions about family issues and children that don't fall in line with mainstream Democrats. This past Spring, he was also challenging his liberal guests that while he didn't necessarily think that the Bush administration is handling the Iraq War efforts competently, that he thought that the administration could very well achieve the goals they set out to achieve (democracy in Iraq.)

Similarly, Michael Moore is a liberal and not a "Democrat." He frequently found fault with the Clinton administration and blasts the Democrats for being too weak and spineless, whereas on the otherhand someone like Al Franken is a loyal Democrat and has always praised Clinton and his administration. We always run into problems trying to paint people into a simple box. I don't care to listen to Hannity and his ilk, but I'm sure they don't all fall into the same "conservative" box either.
Old 09-12-05, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeR63

Similarly, Michael Moore is a liberal and not a "Democrat." He frequently found fault with the Clinton administration and blasts the Democrats for being too weak and spineless, whereas on the otherhand someone like Al Franken is a loyal Democrat and has always praised Clinton and his administration. We always run into problems trying to paint people into a simple box. I don't care to listen to Hannity and his ilk, but I'm sure they don't all fall into the same "conservative" box either.
I don't disagree with most of your points. But to further clarify mine Maher bugs me as one of those who uses his claim to be an "indepentent" as a bludgeon, to say "this makes my opinion so much smarter and worth more than yours." O'Reilly and as you point out Moore are others who fit that bill. Network news anchors did the same thing for decades. On the big issues they have a clear personal agenda that spectaculary fits with one side of the political spectrum and one major party, but carry on as though we are all too simple to notice. You can claim you are an independent, but if you vote straight party in every election, I have news for you...
Old 09-12-05, 04:46 PM
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When I read in my program guide that Carlin was going to be on, I immediately thought, "great, a religion hatefest." I was surprised that the topic didn't even come up, given that it seems Carlin and Maher love to bash it whenever they team up.

I'm really looking forward to this week's episode because P.J. O'Rourke will be on.

Originally Posted by coli
Whenever a conservative makes a point, he is laughed at by the crowd, and then the rest of the panel mocks him.
Too true, but I'll give Maher credit in that usually when that happens he'll apologize to the token conservative.
Old 09-12-05, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by DJLinus
Too true, but I'll give Maher credit in that usually when that happens he'll apologize to the token conservative.
I'd find it more believable if he didn't continue to stack the show the same way week after week after week...

That being said, I think a lot of PJ and may have to put on my HAZMAT suit and drop in for him.
Old 09-12-05, 06:23 PM
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One of the main reasons that the show is stacked so one sided is that most on the right would not even consider coming on this show. I've seen Maher
pitching open invitations trying to get them in either the audience or the panel. He even gets openly annoyed with his audience for all of the booing and cheering. I'd like to see a more balanced panel as well but they would have a very difficult time losing the reputation of mistreating the guests at this point.
Old 09-12-05, 08:33 PM
  #344  
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Originally Posted by nazz
One of the main reasons that the show is stacked so one sided is that most on the right would not even consider coming on this show. I've seen Maher
pitching open invitations trying to get them in either the audience or the panel. He even gets openly annoyed with his audience for all of the booing and cheering. .
That's a cop out. They don't show up because they don't want to get called out when they say the kinds of things that they can usually get away with anywhere else.

Sure, he gets annoyed with his audience a little bit, but c'mon, the kinds of people who are in the political world aren't worried about a liberal studio audience booing them a few times, they just know they won't get away with coming in with their pre-prepared talking points and never actually answering the questions they get asked.

He rarely even gets a "decent" conservative to appear on tape on one of those monitors that he does interviews on. But, when he does get a conservative that most of us know, that's generally where they're choosing to do all their interviews. And Joe actually tried to use the audience reactions, which are very partisan to be sure, against them by making mocking comments about them (It only made him seem more out of touch). If you have something you that you want to say and a host who will step in and control the audience if they are rude, then you should engage the audience in the debate. Michael Moore would go and speak to a group of conservatives and try to tell them where he's coming from. He'd probably get booed A LOT. Of course, if he appeared on one of the right wing talk shows, they'd be only out for his blood and not interested in ANY debate. That's why I can't understand how anyone can compare Maher to any of the righties.

The conservatives, well the good ones that he used to get, are looking for a slugfest or to not be challenged (those seems like the only 2 options nowaways) as much as the liberals, because that's what they know how to do. That's what's on every channel and, I think, Maher does a very good job of keeping things from being a insult contest and cutting through some BS. He throws in some comedy, steps up for the conservative or, sometimes the liberal, if they they need some help, he doesn't keep badgering like Hannity would, and he'll change the topic even when he might have someone on the ropes. You won't see a righty on tv or radio ever doing that.

But, it is an enterainment show as well, so those who want to see it be a serious issue driven vehicle, probably just don't like it. Unfortunately for both sides, people only watch anything that's got political debate and current events being discussed of they feel like they're going to be entertained as well or they will turn the channel and watch a rerun of the Surreal Life. Look at the Factor. O'Reilly is a loose canon, completely in love with himself, and not particularly articulate or well informed, but he has the highest rated show on cable. It's the entertainment factor he provides...and he knows it too.

I doubt very much that Maher has ever voted straight ticket. I'd bet one of my testicles that Hannity doesn't even look at the names. He just looks for the R.
Old 09-12-05, 10:19 PM
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Hannity votes Republican?

I don't understand bringing up Hannity in reference to Maher. You've made it clear that you hate Hannity, but what does that have to do with Maher's show? Hannity doesn't claim to be an independent (as Maher does), he shares hosting of his TV debate show with a staunch political foe (as Maher does not), he does not fill the studio with a sycophantic audience who shout down his opponents near every utterance (as Maher does), he does not host guests who are ideologically outnumbered on the panel by 4 to 1 (as Maher does), and so on. I think O'Reilly is a much better comparison to Maher.
Old 09-12-05, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Needle
Hannity votes Republican?

I don't understand bringing up Hannity in reference to Maher. You've made it clear that you hate Hannity, but what does that have to do with Maher's show? Hannity doesn't claim to be an independent (as Maher does), he shares hosting of his TV debate show with a staunch political foe (as Maher does not), he does not fill the studio with a sycophantic audience who shout down his opponents near every utterance (as Maher does), he does not host guests who are ideologically outnumbered on the panel by 4 to 1 (as Maher does), and so on. I think O'Reilly is a much better comparison to Maher.
I brought up Hannity twice and O'Reilly once. Wow, powerful evidence that I hate Hannity.

I'd use that head-shake emoticon that you are so found of, but I'm not sure how to do it.

Hannity only pretends to be telling the truth and pretends to be part of a "fair and balanced" show...you know with that really intelligent, articulate, and well respected Colmes guy (The one you refer to as a staunch political foe, so now I know that I never need to take anything you say seriously).

Hannity only beats down on his guests with information that he's either made up or knows that his guest won't usually have the information right in front of them to counter. If they do, he shouts them down, tells them its his show and they should get their own and then threatens to turn off their mic.

You use the word "independent" to mis-represent what Maher claims to be. You want to suggest that he isn't 100% open about being mostly liberal and that most of his views fall on the democrat side of the fence. He's as open about what he is as is anyone else. The difference is that you can actually believe that he thinks about things before he takes a side.
Old 09-13-05, 12:29 AM
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You've worked in shots on Hannity about a half dozen other times just between the couple of Maher threads floating around

Originally Posted by dolphinboy
Hannity only pretends to be telling the truth and pretends to be part of a "fair and balanced" show...

Hannity only beats down on his guests with information that he's either made up or knows that his guest won't usually have the information right in front of them to counter. If they do, he shouts them down, tells them its his show and they should get their own and then threatens to turn off their mic.
Yeah, you love the guy. And Alan Colmes is not his staunchly liberal co-host? And Hannity is not on Hannity & Colmes to provide the partisan conservative perspective? I guess we'll just have to disagree on those points.

But I still don't see your point in again ripping Hannity as some defense of Maher. Is it that sure, Maher may be a liberal shill, but Hannity is a conservative shill? I would agree with that, the difference being Maher claims he is not, which is nonsense.

Maher is a big-time liberal, the audience is overwhelmingly liberal, and at least 75% of the guests are liberal. So the so-called "debate" part of the show is a farce, plain and simple, though plenty of people (Maher included) will claim otherwise.
Old 09-13-05, 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Needle
You've worked in shots on Hannity about a half dozen other times just between the couple of Maher threads floating around



Yeah, you love the guy. And Alan Colmes is not his staunchly liberal co-host? And Hannity is not on Hannity & Colmes to provide the partisan conservative perspective? I guess we'll just have to disagree on those points.

But I still don't see your point in again ripping Hannity as some defense of Maher. Is it that sure, Maher may be a liberal shill, but Hannity is a conservative shill? I would agree with that, the difference being Maher claims he is not, which is nonsense.

Maher is a big-time liberal, the audience is overwhelmingly liberal, and at least 75% of the guests are liberal. So the so-called "debate" part of the show is a farce, plain and simple, though plenty of people (Maher included) will claim otherwise.
I didn't know I was defending any of my "many" other posts, nor did I know that any of them, or all of the together, meant that I "hated" Sean Hannity. I don't know Sean the way you know Bill, I only dislike his show and his politics.

Colmes is what again? If a chimp was in the other chair from Sean, you'd probably still say there was an honest liberal perspective on that debate show. If Maher brought in Carrot Top to be the conservative
"co-host" on his show, I'm sure you would find nothing wrong with that.

By the way, Colmes has repeated over and over and over again that he considers himself a moderate. I actually don't consider him to be moderatively alive, but, since I'm probably wrong about that, I can say that he doesn't even consider himself to be a staunch liberal. Maybe you should tell him that he's wrong about that too. He'd probably break down and agree with you.

There is nothing farcical about Bill's show whatsoever. The show has a point of view and Bill's actually bused in conservatives who wouldn't typically show up to a taping of his show. At least he tries and at least he's not afraid of even having a discussion with people who don't agree with him. Your boys at Fox wouldn't do that. They only speak to the converted...they shout at and insult everyone else.
Old 09-13-05, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Needle
Hannity doesn't claim to be an independent (as Maher does)
Originally Posted by Bill Needle
Is it that sure, Maher may be a liberal shill, but Hannity is a conservative shill? I would agree with that, the difference being Maher claims he is not, which is nonsense.
I hate to keep beating the dead horse here, but I'm concerned about your preoccupation with Maher trying to supposedly hide who he truly is and your erroneous equation with an political Independent person as one being unbiased or neither conservative nor liberal. That is simply not truly. Again, an Independent is one that is not affiliated with a political party. Such a person can be anywhere on the political spectrum. I am a liberal (which I know is obvious) but I consider myself an Independent. Of course, I have often voted for a Democratic candidate but not always. I did not vote for Gore in 2000 for instance. To the best of my knowledge, Michael Moore is a liberal independent. (He supported the Grenn Party in 2000 but had no affiliation in 2004 to the best of my knowledge. I can say with certainty he does not consider himself a Democrat!) I can't recall names, but I know for a fact that there are many conservative independents. There are many conservatives who ran on the ballot in my state as an independent against Republican candidates often because they don't feel the Republicans are conservative enough.

You have to stop the "independent = middle of the road" mindset. It just is not correct. And also, I'm not sure what documentation you may have about Maher because I see no evidence of his hiding from what he believes, and I've watched nearly all of his Reat Time shows and many of his old Politically Incorrect show dating back to when he was on Comedy Central. I actually at one time thought I heard him referred to as a Libertarian (which the conservative guest on his last show said he was,) but I don't hear him claim to affiliate with a political party. The fact that he may vote for mostly Democratic candidates is no different than a conservative independent voting for mostly Republican candidates and is more a reflection of our two party system than anything else.

Maher's show is largely a liberal show and there's no bones about that. But Dolphinboy is correct that at least Maher will often attempt to throw the conservative guest a lifeline or stop to make a point that the guest deserves credit and respect for being on the firing line (like he did during the last episode.) Plus, it is also an entertainment show with comedy thrown in. It is not Meet The Press. Maher does not have to follow specific rules with the format of his show to create any fairness or balance.

And as far as Colmes being the "stauchly liberal co-host" to Hannity? Please, even Hannity and Fox News aren't trying to make that claim! There's a reason that Al Franken refers to them as "Hannity and Colmes!!!"
Old 09-13-05, 09:33 AM
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Location: Capitol of the Empire! Center of all Commerce and Culture! Crossroads of Civilization! NEW ROME!!!...aka New York City
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Ill say it again, Its just not funny.

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