Bill Maher, the unabashed liberal comedian and talk-show host, has been in a rather upbeat mood since the Navy SEALS killed Osama bin Laden under Pres. Obama’s watch.
On his weekly Friday night HBO show “Real Time With Bill Maher,” he recently dubbed Obama “one efficient, steely-nerved, multi-tasking, black Ninja gangsta president!”
He’ll be giving left-leaning fans plenty more bon mots during his upcoming stand-up appearance Thursday May 26 at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, his first concert in Atlanta in nearly two years.
In a recent interview, he riffed on Obama, George W. Bush and Donald Trump.
Q: Were you stunned when Rush Limbaugh gave the President props for a few minutes?
Maher: I think the key is a few minutes. How quickly he went back. I think he and others like him were just stunned that Obama had done it… He aced the exam. He said from his campaign we’d go after bin Laden. He focused on al-Qaida. Some psychological barrier has been broken by getting bin Laden. Maybe we don’t have to keep distracting ourselves with this ridiculous war [in Afghanistan.] The war that never ends. Not that we shouldn’t be vigilant, but we need to focus on building this country.
Q: So you think we should get out of Afghanistan?
Maher: I never thought there was much rationale for being there. I understand politically it was important for Obama to have some war going. This is America! I think he has now proven his bonafides that he did what Bush couldn’t do.
Q: What did you think of Bush declining to attend the Ground Zero ceremony Obama had?
Maher: Apparently, he felt slighted for not getting enough credit for killing bin Laden, which has something to do with the fact he didn’t get him. If I were him, I wouldn’t go either. Do you want to stand next to the guy who does something way better than you do?
Q: Someone dug up a 2008 episode of “Real Time” where Christiane Amanpour [then on CNN] said she had a source who believed Osama was in a comfortable villa in Pakistan, not a cave in Afghanistan. Did you buy it at the time?
Maher: I don’t remember our reaction. I don’t think I would have been shocked by that point… The Bush administration seemed a lot more befuddled by it. The point of showing that clip is to say, ‘She knew. Why didn’t they?’
Q: Do the Republicans have a realistic shot in 2012 of winning the presidency?
Maher: It’s too early. But it’s fun to speculate… Look, the Republicans right now are falling in love with someone new every week. It was Sarah Palin, then Michele Bachman, then Donald Trump. They all flame out. Newt Gingrich? He announced he was running over the Internet, on Twitter and Facebook. Why? Because he couldn’t get enough people to show up at a rally.
Q: Did you think Donald Trump was serious?
Maher: I thought he was. But they took away his big issue with the birther stuff. His issue got fired. He had some backlash. You saw his face during the Correspondent’s dinner. He couldn’t even fake laugh along when the President made fun of him. As a politician, you have to suck it up and fake it all day long. This is not something Trump is capable of doing.
Q: Do you find doing stand-up on stage easier or more difficult than your talk show?
Maher: It’s kind of hard to compare them. Stand-up is my first love. The longest relationship I’ve ever had is with stand-up. I couldn’t imagine doing the show without stand-up. I’d feel like I was sitting in this ivory tower in Los Angeles. I go out 75 nights a year. I talk to people at the airport, the cab driver, the person at the hotel, customers at the Starbucks. You get a feel for the country you can’t if you don’t travel it. I feel I get perspective when I come back to my desk here.
Q: Your show seems to be on more than it used to.
Maher: We have a much longer contract. We do 35 weeks a year. We’re no longer take three or four months off like other HBO shows. They understand now that we’re not like those other shows. We’re not ‘Sex and the City.’
8 p.m. May 26
Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta
$48.55 to $82.85 after fees
By Rodney Ho, firstname.lastname@example.org, AJCRadioTV blog