Friday, February 24, 2012

Bill Maher - A Million Laughs, then a Million Bucks

Last night, I had the pleasure of experiencing a full hour of Bill Maher--in person. I had seen him before on TV when he'd open with a monologue and then sit down with guests to hash out the latest stories from the headlines. But live and in person works great for the 56-year-old comedian and social commentarian.

If you were brought up to be a nice boy or girl, your parents probably told you that to avoid trouble, don't bring up sex, politics or religion in the conversation. Well, Bill revels in talking about all three--sometimes at the same time.

It's natural that he'd go after the current trio of Republican presidential hopefuls, and he skewers Romney, Gingrich and Santorum with brilliant flair. In fact, it may have been the entire first half of his hour that was dedicated to tearing them apart, as only he can do it.

For religion, there's nothing like pointing out the documented weaknesses of the Catholic Church, in which the professed atheist Maher was brought up. Sex? Well, plenty of hilarious references to male and female sexual organs and things done with and to them. When he discusses old Catholic bishops' statements on a woman's reproductive rights (mixing sex, religion and politics in one topic!) he talks about "70-year-old virgins who wear dresses to work." Nice (big laugh, too).

If you're a liberal Democrat and not religious, like this crowd, Maher is your man, and he was in his element here in Silicon Valley, California. What was not expected, however, was his surprise announcement of a $1,000,000 donation to the president's political action committee. Maher first warned about not taking Obama's re-election for granted, despite what he sees as a crop of crazy men on the Republican side. Then he had two young women carry out one of those giant checks (see photo) and told of his support. He said, "I'm not a multi-millionaire, and this hurts," he said, but said he hoped that wealthy liberal Democrat donors would pitch in too, based on his example. Surely some smaller donations will be made today by those in the audience who are also worried about a Romney, Gingrich or Santorum presidency.

His CrazyStupidPolitics performance was streamed online as a debut of the Yahoo Screen Live Comedy Series, but being there in person was great fun and went all too quickly. When you're doing it live, when the show's over, it's over. No retakes.

No comments: