Happy Birthday, Bill Maher

Friday, January 15 saw the return of Real Time with Bill Maher, and a triumphant one it was. A lot happened in the annual winter break, but the best talkshow on television jumped right into current affairs, because there was a lot to talk about.

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Easy?
Bill’s lungs were still pretty tired, from the hiatus, he says. Hawaii can do that. That didn’t stop him from delivering another quality show. So good, in fact, that President Obama has been ducking his invitations for the past 7 years, but more on that later. Maher comes out flying, with a great monologue about ‘human screensavers’ and ‘robbers breaking into your house in a tank’, but we didn’t expect anything less. The GOP debate on Thursday provided enough material to fill a month of Real Time monologues. Especially the things Trump, Carson, Cruz and Christie said were comedy gold. All Maher had to do was follow their reasoning and then add the inevitable conclusion. Punchlines don’t come easier than this. That said, it’s remarkable how Maher always distills the best punchlines. Aren’t the other late night talkshow hosts paying attention? It might just be an example of how geniuses operate; they make it look way too easy.

Al Gore
First guest of the night, a fan of the show, the person who brought the internet, and ‘the 43rd President of the United States of America’: Al Gore. A big name, but one that’s right up Maher’s alley. Two climate change enthusiasts (well, enthusiastic to do something about it), sitting in a room, agreeing with everything the other person says. Sound boring? It kind of is. Maher tries to put a little friction in there, dragging up a wrong campaign decision back in the day, but they quickly go back to the (historic) Paris Agreement.

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Cornel West, Nicolle Wallace and Ralph Reed are the Knights of the Real Table this week. The night before, Republican candidate Cruz tried to position himself, presumably with the intention to distance himself from Trump, by vomiting all over ‘New York values’. He didn’t go into specifics, though; it was just a cheap shot, using a stereotype, of some sort. The Daily News quickly responded with a cover of a pissed off Statue of Liberty. They’ve made it extremely easy for Cruz to comment to it, though. He’d only need 4 words: ‘I rest my case.’ Still, these so-called typical New York values remain a bit of a mystery; what does the panel think about this? Well, it’s a ‘dog fight’. Iowa’s coming up and Ted ‘most punchable face’ Cruz has some catching up to do in the polls. Trump’s still Top Dog, but, as Cornel West puts it: ‘The problem with Trump is, is that he’s a multi-billionaire pseudo-populist with autocratic sensibilities and some fascist proclivities. That’s what’s dangerous about him.’

13 Hours
Special guest: John Krasinski (The Office, Promised Land), who’s there to talk about his new film 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. Maher believes it will be a hit movie, and sure enough, not mentioning the director can certainly play to its advantage. So, to spoil the party (but go see the movie anyway, because it’s an important one), Michael Bay translated Mitchell Zuckoff’s book to the big screen. People are known to only know bits and pieces about the political shit storm that is ‘Benghazi’. Kudos to Bay, Krasinski, James Badge Dale, Max Martini (to name a few) and screenwriter Chuck Hogan for not just making the film, but also promoting it Bay-style; it’s everywhere.

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New Rules
New Rule: People who are about to turn 60 and don’t have kids, shouldn’t be allowed to look as young as Bill Maher. You know what to do, hipsters. When you turn 30 and feel like settling down, take a long hard look at your Bill Maher refrigerator magnet and remember: Don’t marry, use a condom, smoke weed and rebel. Those are the 4 Commandments in the Book of Maher of the Real Testament, right there. He’s never ‘burdened the audience with his personal shit’. He’s ‘old school show business. You’re not here for me, I am here for you.’ He does, however, have one request. After 23 years, he’s allowed himself an exception. The biggest birthday present you can give him is persuade President Barack Obama to come on his show. He’s done literately every other show out there, so why not Real Time? Every invitation seems to get lost in the mail. So, if you want to make this happen for the best talkshow host there is, sign the petition.

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