Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bill Maher Still Political, but Apparently Correct

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bill Maher Still Political, but Apparently Correct

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- Bill Maher, the pot-smoking pundit, is beginning to look sort of prescient.

When he launched "Politically Incorrect" in 1993, his advisers told him that audiences would hate political comedy. The advisers guessed wrong. Political comedy built Mr. Maher's career and has also made Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" and Stephen Colbert's "Colbert Report" wildly successful.

A hard-core rationalist who has steadily mocked religion, notably in his documentary "Religulous," Mr. Maher has been delighted to see that about one-third of young people have turned atheist or agnostic, according to a recent survey. Finally, his drug of choice looks like it's going to become the craft beer of the 20-teens.

"It's not only legal in two states, it is de facto legal in L.A.," Mr. Maher said of marijuana.

Late last month, Mr. Maher spoke about how his putative clairvoyance has not always kept him from going over the edge -- for example, after the 9/11 attacks, with a particular comment that got him fired.

He chatted from his home office in Los Angeles, where he prepares his weekly HBO show "Real Time with Bill Maher," and he discussed his previous evening's performance in Birmingham, Ala. It was one of about 60 live shows he will do this year and his second gig in Alabama since January.

Q: They didn't have you tarred and feathered?

A: The places you think are the reddest of the red are always the best crowds. There's always a lot more progressive or modern people than the public knows, in places they don't expect. Besides which, (Alabama) appreciates me not writing off the whole area.

Q: Your colleagues seem to quit doing stand-up as soon as they can, but you keep going. Are they smarter than you?

A: They may be smarter than me, but they're not having as much fun as me. …

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