Bill Maher’s 60th birthday came and went last Wednesday without the Real Time host getting the gift he wanted most in the world: President Barack Obama as his guest.
How badly does he want Obama there? Maher created a White House petition earlier this month, asking all his supporters to sign.
At press time, the online petition had attracted close to 300,000 signatures (100,000 is required to merit a response from the man in charge).
“We keep crashing their website and I could make a wisecrack about that, but I won’t,” said Maher before his trip to play The Fillmore Sunday night. “I’d just like an explanation as to why he has done every show in the universe except for mine. Just tell me, Is it the atheist thing? I can take it.”
Of course, Maher is joking. That’s what he does, and has been doing for the last 35 plus years, starting out as a standup comedian on the NYC club circuit.
So, no, he really doesn’t take Obama’s diss personally.
“We’ve been getting the runaround for seven years, and it’s getting annoying,” said the native New Yorker. “What I don’t get is that I represent a very different viewpoint. I don’t always side with Democrats or liberals or anybody, really. We’ve been supportive of him. And what about that million bucks I gave him in 2012?”
If POTUS were to step foot on the Real Time set, Maher has a few questions prepared (hello, presidential election). This topic will no doubt be explored at his show in Miami Beach as well.
“Well, this is certainly the most entertaining and most unpredictable race I’ve covered thus far,” said Maher. “You can’t make this stuff up because they do it for me. I mean, I’ve said this many times: What’s not always great for the country is usually great for comedy.”
Maher is slightly surprised that Donald Trump remains the GOP front-runner but understands the support the real estate mogul is getting.
“The guy’s a breath of fresh air even if you don’t agree with him,” said Maher. “I do enjoy the fact that he doesn’t back down like every other politician when someone cries boo-hoo. He doubles down! There’s no ‘I’m sorry, I mispoke.’ He says ‘F--- you, and I’ll say it again.’ ”
Sounds like Trump would have made the ideal guest for Maher’s old TV talk show, Politically Incorrect, which ran from 1993 to 2002.
“I’m the politically incorrect guy — that’s me!” said Maher, who is a little more than perturbed by those who voice their displeasure at perceived wrongs in the world via the Internet. “Obviously people were offended by all sorts of stuff back then, but now you can rage anonymously. Before, when you protested, you used to have to get out of the house and make a sign! Now these virtual vigilantes sit there with the phone and click, ‘I don’t like’ or some s--t.”
Yep, Maher misses the old days when there was no such thing as sensitivity training.
“Some people are losing their sense of humor,” complained the comedian. “They have this insane idea that their job is to protect the world. Let’s learn to laugh again. Let’s get a life.”
Refreshing that after all these years in showbiz, Maher still doesn’t care what anyone thinks. And when he gets out on the road, he knows his true fans will show him some love.
“I can’t stay away [from standup]. It’s freeing and too much fun,” he said. “I go from city to city doing what I’ve been doing my whole life and getting a certain understanding of America that I can bring to L.A. with me. The purity of it: Me and the audience. They come to laugh their asses off and I want to make them do that.”
Tickets to Sunday’s 8 p.m. show at LiveNation.com, 800-745-3000.