On Friday night, Bill Maher returned to Real Time and, like many of his late-night TV comrades, performed his shtick sans in-studio audience (albeit with a generous laugh track, courtesy of his staff).
And the comic—who said the show would be off next week due to concerns over the novel coronavirus—began his monologue by taking aim at President Trump’s delayed, confused, and downright bizarre reaction to the global pandemic that is COVID-19.
“There’s a new protocol in place, because Trump, whenever he talks, things get worse. So it’s called: Operation Shut the Fuck Up. Because, you know, Trump, he was in the Rose Garden today, and he’s lost if he can’t brag about the stock market. He’s like a porn star whose dick fell off. He’s got nothing!” Maher exclaimed.
Yes, Trump was questioned by reporters today at the White House and, when asked repeatedly why he hasn’t bothered to be tested yet—even though he’s been in close contact with at least two people who’ve tested positive for the novel coronavirus, including a Brazilian official whom he shook hands with and a CPAC attendee—said he “most likely” will be.
“And also, [Trump’s] been exposed—and is exposing himself constantly to people who have the virus! The Brazilian dude, and the guy at CPAC, and the congressman. He needs to be quarantined! Lock him up! Lock him up! Lock him up!” offered Maher.
Later on, Maher welcomed author and risk-assessment expert David Ropeik onto the show via satellite and admitted of the novel coronavirus, “The panic, I feel, is making things worse than the actual disease, before comparing its spread to that of AIDS.
“The only analogy I could think about this time was when AIDS hit—which is not exactly analogous, but people were panicked,” said the comedian. “And I do remember a period where we didn’t know much about it, and people were saying, ‘Maybe it could go airborne,’ and that made people freak out.”
Maher then spent much of the panel portion downplaying just how dangerous the virus’s spread is, ultimately blaming the so-called hysteria over how “fragile” people are these days, as is his wont.
At least he didn’t spend a good portion of the program defending an alleged sexual harasser he’s friends with whilst shaming his accusers.