After a 25-year career in comedy with stints on both cable and
network television, Bill Maher, the original ruler of the cable
commentary world, continues to put out some of the most biting,
astute political satire today on his HBO show “Real Time with
Bill Maher.”

On Friday, he takes his stand-up act to the Eastern Michigan
University Convocation Center.

Maher recently sat down with The Michigan Daily to talk about
his act.

“The main thing that I want to do when I do stand up is to
really get people laughing their asses off,” Maher said.
“And now that I’ve been doing it 25 years, I know
how.”

Known for commentary that is both funny and biting, Maher has
built a reputation as being hard-hitting. His stand-up act promises
to be no different.

“The first thing that I say when I get out there is that
I’m angry and the thing that I’m mostly angry about is
that people aren’t angry enough,” he explained.

After a well-publicized falling out with ABC in 2002, Maher took
his format to HBO. There he has far more creative reign to take
“Real Time” down roads forbidden to stuffy network
programming. “Here,” he said referring to HBO,
“they let the creative people do the creating.”

The open and often confrontational atmosphere of the series
clearly took a wrong turn last Friday. After a cordial
introduction, a frequent guest, former Sen. Alan Simpson began to
rail against Maher for, among other things, characterizing the
Christian Right “always with a touch of cynicism and
smart-ass.”

When asked what prompted the Senator’s remarks, Maher
replied, “All I said to him was congratulations.” He
added, “I don’t understand what set any of these
Republicans off. I could understand being bitter and losing. I
can’t understand being bitter and winning.”

“They act like they are pissed off that it took this long
to completely take over America. They act like the people who
don’t agree with them are now fringe
obstructionists.”

Maher clearly subscribes to the idea that religion was the real
story in this election. When asked about his stance that the
dominating influence of the Christian Right, Maher responded,
“I believe that. I got a lot of shit about that on the show.
But this election in my view was lost in the spring when gay
marriage went on the ballot.”

“When Karl Rove saw gay people getting married in
February, March and April, I think he probably said, ‘There
is my Willie Horton. There is my election.’”

His criticism, however, is hardly confined to just Republicans.
“We hit all sides,” he said, “but let’s be
honest, they (the Republicans) are the ones in power. And the
people in power are always going to get it a little
harder.”

How does Maher expect his audience in Ypsilanti to react?

“It’s, I think, something of a cathartic experience
for a lot of people, because there is a lot of things that make
people mad.”

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