Here’s what you need to know about what’s happening with HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher”
After spending much of the year taping his weekly HBO show from his home due to the coronavirus, Bill Maher returned to his L.A.-based studio in September — though with a limited studio audience and live guests who were kept at least six feet apart from each other.
The comedian spent much of the fall railing against President Donald Trump — and touting his prescient predictions that the Republican would refuse to concede the election even if he lost (as he did, decisively) or voluntarily leave the White House.
In his Nov. 20 episode — his most recent — he touched on a related subject: What to do about Trump’s supporters who, for now, seem intractably unwilling to accept that Joe Biden defeated their candidate and will take office in January despite the Trump campaign’s many so-far-unsuccessful legal challenges.
No, there is not a new episode of “Real Time” this week January 8. But he will be back with a new episode next week, on January 15.
The show is approaching its 19th season and taking a break for the holidays but will return next year. HBO doesn’t run reruns of “Real Time With Bill Maher” on weekends.
In his “New Rules” segment Nov. 20, Maher suggested taking a page from the NXIVM cult scandal and the story of how actress Catherine Oxenberg managed to save her daughter, India, from it, and “‘hate the cult, love the cultist.’”
“She didn’t scream at her daughter that she was stupid. She didn’t cut her off. She just kept trying to remind her of who she used to be,” Maher said. “I think we need to try that on QAnon. You know, the ones who believe that rich liberals are running a massive pedophile ring and eat babies and in some cases are really lizard people wearing a human mask. And they were sure that Trump was going to win re-election.”
“Understand they have been through a traumatic event. Their savior, their strongest, smartest, manliest hunk of a leader who ever lived just got his ass kicked by the 2,000-year-old man. So don’t gloat, don’t even try to argue, because arguing with cult people only makes it worse,” Maher said. “If there’s hope, it’s not in any of the words that were communicated. It’s in here,” referring to her heart.
Maher signed off for the year with that truly heartfelt commentary — but promised to return in January. On January 17, in fact, just ahead of the swearing-in of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States.
Maher continued to book high-profile political guests this year, and recent episodes of “Real Time” have featured Al Franken, Adam Schiff, Bernie Sanders, Al Gore and Bill de Blasio. As is customary for Maher on “Real Time,” he doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to commentating on and satirizing policy decisions — in his last show, Maher ripped into both President Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and their bungled attempts to convince the public that the 2020 election was somehow falsified or inaccurate.
In one particularly pithy joke, Maher compared Trump’s refusal to concede this year’s election to the women he used to judge in “Miss Universe” beauty pageants.
“It has been 17 days since the election and Trump is still behaving like a psycho beauty queen refusing to let go of the tiara,” Maher said.
Regarding Giuliani — who has made a mess of himself on television lately, from being duped by Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat in the filmmaker’s latest release, to a deluge of hair dye dripping down his temples during a press conference and apparently passing gas during a hearing in Michigan — Maher didn’t hold back and accused the former New York City mayor of keeping too firm a hand on the flask.
Maher joked that when a judge says “order in the court,” Giuliani typically responds with “a Tanqueray and tonic!”
“This is the last show of the season, I’m losing it,” Maher added laughingly. Like most other late-night shows, “Real Time” shifted its format once the pandemic hit and now the majority of its guests appear remotely. The episodes still begin with Maher’s trademark monologue and end with the New Rules segment (though he cut out the Overtime segment), but the show shifted its format from a lengthy round-table panel discussion to up to four guest interviews.
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