Bill Maher was back on set tonight with his first all new episode of Real Time since April when the WGA strike shut down all of late-night television. As he pointed out, there have been 91 Trump criminal charges, four indictments and one mugshot since his last show.
The show’s writers are back too, and Maher is very grateful for them, as he explained in an exceedingly brief aside after about a third of the show had already elapsed. Sure he was willing to break the strike in order to get back to filming his show, and yes, he did say on his podcast that industry writers were not “owed a living” by anyone and that their strike was “ill-timed,” but he didn’t mean it. And even if he did, who cares right? They’re back to work, no harm no foul.
Especially not with fellow warrior in anti-wokeness Ron DeSantis coming on as his first big guest on the heels of the circular firing squad of irrelevance that was the latest Republican primary debate.
The back and forth with DeSantis was the usual mix of “why do you have beef with Mickey Mouse” and “why did you support election deniers” with a slew of unchecked lies about his record and reputation scattered throughout until the interview devolved into what felt like the first meeting of the anti-vaxxer club of greater Los Angeles.
A bromance blossomed before our very eyes. Maher gushed about DeSantis always being the “best at COVID” and Ron blushed and nodded along because he knew bringing up the vaccines would lead them down the road of further consensus.
Perhaps Maher was good at interviews once upon a time. Maybe he could blame the extended “hiatus” for being out of practice, but the sit-down was flat and boring and uninteresting—as well as extremely frustrating from the perspective of anyone who doesn’t actually believe that we were intentionally misled or that there’s liberal “indoctrination” going on at our kids’ schools. At least it was brief.
Later in the show, after casually mentioning that America is “pretending” that “disadvantage based on race” exists in the company of his two other white guests—Mary Katharine Ham and Sam Harris—Maher finally shared his uncomplicated thoughts on the Barbie movie.
Ultimately, Maher’s “New Rules” landed better than anything else on the show—a segment the writers are responsible for. The very same writers he was willing to abandon not so long ago. What was abundantly clear, is that without the writers, Real Time is nothing. Bill Maher would be reduced to a day-drunk ex-hippie sitting in an Applebee’s at noon, musing to the bored staff about how vaccines are the real pandemic.
At one point in his closing, Maher mentioned that “perception becomes reality” as it pertains to Joe Biden’s ineptitude purely based upon his age, and it immediately became clear that this man who claims that Trump looks “robust,” that sexism, racism and ageism are “things of the past,” and that the striking writers so critical to his show weren’t deserving of his solidarity, doesn’t have the first clue about perception or reality.