Theater Review: Bill Maher

Michaela Ramm

Stephen’s Auditorium was crowded with those eager to hear the notorious political notorious comedy the Real Time with Bill Maher on Nov. 8.

Patriotic music thumped through the speakers and the curtains parted to reveal a bare stage, save for typical comedian’s props: a microphone stand, a stool and a podium.

Before the show, in the Celebrity Cafe, Steffen Schmidt, professor of political science, engaged the audience with political talk in preparation for Maher’s comedic commentary. Maher, the host and creator of political talk shows that include Politically Incorrect and Real Time with Bill Maher, paved the way for news satire for the likes of Stephan Colbert and Jon Stewart. 

At last, 8 p.m. arrived. A single spotlight appeared, and Maher stepped out to thunderous cheers from the crowd. Nothing was safe from Maher’s scorn. He covered all topics that one would usually try to avoid at a polite dinner party: from politics to religion to sex, he had something to say about it all.

Maher—a declared liberal—went for the Republican presidential candidates from the start. Going after those who sway to the right was a recurring trend for the stand-up show.

“You don’t need drugs when there’s 15 Republican candidates,” he said, sending everyone into a fit.

He also went after business mongrel Donald Trump, who once sued Maher for statements he had made about the now-presidential candidate–a story he happily recapped to the audience. He also stated that Trump was not that different from other Republicans, no matter how much the party denied it. 

It was clear the majority of the audience members were liberals, or at least identified as Democrats. Maher admitted he was in favor of Bernie Sanders for the nomination, a fact that was met with wild cheers. Later, several Hillary Clinton supporters also voiced their favor for the female candidate. 

Maher went on to criticize the U.S. government on topics such as involvement in the Middle East.

He stated, “Why do we always have to be the Guardians of the Galaxy? We’ve got to get over the idea we can bring democracy to them if we kill every last one of them.”

He also referred to ISIS, and mocked America on the capability for them to overreact to every “boogey man.”

Religion was also a major topic at the stand-up show. Maher is an atheist, and went on to joke on all major religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam. However, he did give props to Pope Francis for addressing climate change—a topic Maher is passionate about. 

On the topic of climate change and preserving the planet, Maher said, “That’s the difference between me and conservatives; I’m trying to stop the end of the world.”

Maher went on the mock those who “try to buddy up science and religion.”

The audience seemed to lap up every word of his 90-minute show. At the conclusion, Maher was greeted with roaring applause as the audience jumped to its feet.

Overall, Maher’s comedy was certainly eye-opening. Although some may have found it offensive, it was well-received by those in attendence.