There is a whole lot to like about the HBO series Real Time with Bill Maher, and this season has certainly had plenty of exceptional moments. When the series is on point, it can truly be a joy to watch. However, when it’s off the mark, it can just be a brutal train wreck that offends every fiber of your being.
Real Time, at its core is about the writers. That’s what it makes it so hit or miss, the writing is so much more important than the interview guests, the panel or even Maher himself. Real Time is off this week, and maybe that’s a good thing, perhaps they can regroup and recover, because this season has been the worst in recent memory.
At this point, I would recommend only watching the final rant at the end of the New Rules segment, as that is almost always insightful and witty. As for the rest of the show, well, perhaps it’s just a symptom of a show biz bubble being ready to burst.
The Comedian Delivers the News Talk Show market has hit saturation point now, and the quality of each program not named Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is declining.
What did you think was going to happen when every single person who ever did a bit on The Daily Show got their own show?
That’s the macro issue regarding Real Time with Bill Maher, for now, let’s focus on the micro.
Five Worst Moments of the 2017-18 Real Time with Bill Maher Season
The N Word Incident
You know what Bill Maher said, and how he said it. He was deservedly called out on it by many, and then called out by others who went too far. We all have opinions on this, and mine is right in line with what Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had to say about the whole debacle. As ugly as this whole episode was, it was not bad enough to end his show and make him go away.
Maher responded to all the trouble that he found himself in by doing a news talk show version of “I have black friends” the next week, and the group included Ice Cube, who went harder on him than Maher would have liked. Maher’s reaction to Cube taking it up a notch was in poor form, and made the viewer wonder if Maher was really even sorry to begin with. It diminished the value and genuineness of the mea culpa.
Asra Nomani on the panel
It’s one thing to have a bad interview guest. You just try to minimize the damage and move on. When it’s a panelist, they drag down the entire show, and even Maher himself. Nomani, an Indian Muslim woman who supports Donald Trump, struggled to even express coherent thoughts during her appearance on the show.
Nomani, who has actually come out in favor of the controversial travel ban, which many call the Muslim ban, really sounded like she was in an altered state of consciousness during her time on the panel. She might have the been the worst guest in the long history of Real Time with Bill Maher.
Having Milo Yiannopoulos On
Why did Real Time with Bill Maher book such a self-hating monster? When they did, why did Maher fawn over the British political commentator and writer like the worst sycophant in the entire history of lickspittles?. The only good thing about the Yiannopoulos segment was that shortly thereafter, he was pretty much over. He never should have even been a thing begin with.
The former senior editor for Breitbart News sat down with Maher in a segment that basically amounted to the two men going back and forth with repeating: “I’m a bigger narcissist.”
“No, I’m a bigger narcissist.”
Kathy Griffin Interview
Her Trump severed head gag was unfunny, deplorable and disgusting. That said, the way the Trump train reacted to it was beyond hypocritical, fake, extremely deplorable and exceedingly disgusting. A lot of what happened to Griffin afterward was unjustifiable and utterly wrong on numerous levels.
She did not deserve having her basic rights impeded upon. She did deserve to see her career end, and actually that was deserved a long time before the severed head joke. Her career never should have lasted anywhere near this long to begin with.
Oh CNN fired her from their stupid New Year’s broadcast? boo-who!
You can feel sorry for Griffin to a point, and you should, but Maher’s interview made her out to be a martyr, and that was just ridiculous. There are millions of people out there who are way more deserving of sympathy.
Having Bari Weiss on Three Times!!!
No one went from “who??” to “Oh, Good Lord, not again, just go away already, please!” like Bari Weiss, who is not to be confused with Leinenkugel Berry Weiss, one of the most fattening beers on the market. Weiss is empty calories for your intellect and sometimes comes off as a morally depraved sociopath.
All of the time she comes off as an entitled little millennial snot who is in way over her head at her job, and rose to a position light years beyond her talent and capabilities, due to whatever her family connections may be. The New York Times has done a whole lot wrong in the past couple years, but continuing to push Weiss on us might just be the worst of all.
Real Time with Bill Maher needs to get back to doing the kinds of things that can make the show brilliant at times. The rant against incessant fees, and America degenerating into a fee based economy was transcendent. (Which reminds me, never buy WiFi on a flight. EVER! Or at least certainly not if you’re traveling on Iberia Air and their partner American Airlines)
When Maher goes after political correctness run amok, what he says is basically unassailable. Ditto for taking on those who distort #MeToo by perverting it into #MeCarthyism
While Real Time with Bill Maher is seeing its quality level degrade so low that it’s on par with the final days of his old ABC show “Politically Incorrect,” the reasons why are totally different.
With P.I. Maher made the insensitive 9/11 comments, so advertisers pulled out, and then the level of guests willing to come on dropped dramatically. This time, the show has made a conscious decision to take a turn into the click-bait, hot-taking, provocateurs for the sake of provocation realm.
The quality of the guests is just as poor, but this time it’s by design. By this point, it’s clear the show has jumped the shark.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now and Minute Media. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.
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