Each week Bill Maher surrounds himself with a panel of guests which include politicians, actors, comedians, musicians and the like to discuss what's going on in the world.
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ProtraphLack of good storyline.
DotsthavespI wanted to but couldn't!
HumbersiThe first must-see film of the year.
Portia HiltonBlistering performances.
calvinnmeYou never know what Bill Maher is going to do or say next. This show is structured as part political stand-up comedy, part round table talk show. This airs on HBO, so Bill has a little more freedom to be outrageous than he did in his previous show of the same type "Politically Incorrect" which ran on the networks.The format is that Bill comes out and does some ripped from the headlines political stand-up, and then he usually introduces a single guest with whom he has a one-on-one chat. This guest is usually somebody with which Bill agrees politically, because the conversation almost always takes on the form of a conversation not an argument.Then it is time to introduce his panel of guests. There are usually Democrats interspersed with Republicans - those who are brave enough to show up. The ensuing debate is very interesting and Bill Maher is well informed, able to combine comedy with information in a way that entertaining.The fun is when Bill does something unexpected. One time he got talked into a corner about pharmaceuticals and basically said that the body has everything it needs to heal itself, that drugs and surgery are completely unnecessary. A guest tried to gently bring up the subject of infections that respond only to antibiotics, needed surgeries for burst appendices, etc. But Bill was not going to be talked down from that tree from which there was no dignified escape. Another time, Mary Matalin was a guest. She converted to Catholicism when she married and as a result wears a cross around her neck. I didn't even notice it until Bill Maher reached over and grabbed the cross and began stuffing it out of sight, as in under her blouse. Matalin remained more composed than I would! Personal space Bill! Personal space! I might add that Bill is a rabid atheist, but I thought that this crossed the line, no pun intended.As I am writing this, Bill is currently really enjoying the 2016 election cycle because it gives him so much material. You see, apparently some time in the past Bill Maher called Donald Trump an orangutan and Trump sued him, even showing up in court with his birth certificate proving he was NOT an orangutan. Somebody wisely got Trump to drop this nonsense. So now that Trump is truly a public figure and cannot sue people for derogatory statements they make about him, Maher is really enjoying himself.I'd say tune it in if you understand that Maher is going to erupt into anti-GOP atheist rants from time to time, but that the panel discussion is usually intellectually engaging. And Maher still has that comic touch after all of these years.
Eric StevensonLet me say outright that Bill Maher is not as informed as most people would think. I will admit that he really annoys me on numerous occasions. He thinks religion is stupid, but he said that vaccines cause Alzheimer's. The statement of how someone is either a rationalist or not is a hypocritical one in that aspect. There was the time he personally threw truthers out of his show. If religion is so awful, why has he never had to throw religious people out of his crowd? If it's so stupid, why don't they harass him personally like truthers did? Anyway, Bill Maher is still definitely funny and makes me laugh. If nothing else, I appreciate how he has a lot of guests on his show. I've certainly never seen a talk show that had so many people on at once.I guess that's a different kind of show entirely. He has critical errors in his research that come off as insulting. I would say he's great for mocking Donald Trump, but here's the thing. Everyone hates Donald Trump. Of course, he's still awesome for actively ridiculing him. I also like how the show is structured. There's the monologue, the single guest, the panel, and the new rules. It's just nice to have organization like that. It's generally a balanced show, but I don't think he's ever been convinced to change his mind from anyone there. Then again, most people are probably like that.It's hard to compliment someone who thinks Steve Irwin deserves death more than Osama bin Laden. I still find the show itself insightful, if only because of the wide variety of guests. That's probably what makes the show. I could constantly mock him, but for the most part, he's fine. My folks love his show even though they're extremely religious. This is certainly a show with style and significance, even if the well, actual politics aren't that good. I'm probably way too nice in giving this a perfect score, but I will anyway. ****.
davemfawcettDon't get me wrong Bill Maher "was" funny, witty and had a grasp of the issues. Just wish that guy from 2003-2005 was still around. Maybe it is just me getting older, OR Bill getting much older and angrier. In either case, I think it is time for HBO to find a host who appeals to more than 35% of the population. While he still has flashes of wit, they are fewer and farther apart. I do give Bill credit for being consistent in his views and even challenging the grain once in a while. However, 80% of the time now, he comes off as a uber left talking point, getting cheep laughs taking cheep shots as if he is the man on top of the mountain. I liked him better when he had the credibility to go on other shows and voice a counter opinion. But he has become so partisan, I cannot remember the last time I saw him on a serious news or talk show.
chollinsBill Maher is an annoying character. You can appreciate his humour, his political views and his humanity but his smirk irks. That smart ass grin he gets when he tells a gag, especially a controversial one, takes the shine off an otherwise great performance. Maybe it's just me. I'm an Australian. I live in Australia and visit the US about once a year for business. I find watching Real Time and Jon Stewart's The Daily Show all I need to keep up with what is happening in that country. I get that education in an entertaining way. I don't agree with everything Maher espouses (smoking pot is dumb - period) his views sit well with a right wing Aussie. It amazes me that a right wing Aussie is about level with an extreme left wing American. Our countries are similar but so different. The show starts with a short Johnny Carson style monologue - and Maher should either refresh his writers or look at his delivery style as it isn't as great as it could or should be. A few chuckles on the events of the week but nothing you want to remember for the water cooler Monday. We then go into an interview with a weekly guest. Maher brings in some interesting guests, some of which I would normally go out of my way to avoid, but he manages to extrude interesting television from each and every one of them. I remember he once brought in a rapper I'd never heard of and had my finger poised on the fast forward button. To my amazement the interview finished before it got pressed. We then get into the panel where three guests discuss and debate issues. This is where the show gets into its own space. The conversation bubbles along with a rapid pace and humorous tone. Maher chips in with his two cents worth which is normally death to a chat show host - there's an unwritten rule that the moderator sits in the middle and steer the conversation, not get involved in it. Maher somehow gets away with it most of the time. We wrap up with New Rules where his writers earn the money. This is regularly the funniest part of the show making fun of everything from teenagers cell phone addiction to the president. New Rules finishes with a semi-serious dig and social commentary which proves to be Maher's issue of the week. All in all, a reasonably entertaining show considering it's subject matter. Not as funny as Jon Stewart but Maher goes a bit deeper in his hour than Stewart can.