Bill Maher’s latest Real Time was another slap at the “outrage culture” that is popular for many online and on social media. To highlight it, Maher invited Kathy Griffin and NYT columnist Bari Weiss. This was Weiss’ second appearance on the show in a month, occupying the same mid-show segment she appeared on earlier in February, while Griffin was making her first major appearance since her controversial photoshoot with a headless Trump in May 2017. Both have faced different levels of outrage by critics online and on the far right, something that Maher considers one of his major gripes over the years.
Griffin’s appearance was special because she used it to thank Maher for his support as one of the only people to publicly defend her after the photos were released. She claims others texted her or reached out in private, but weren’t willing to publicly go to bat for the comic. She then goes on to talk a bit about the real troubles she faced after the backlash to the photos, including the Department of Justice investigation she was subject to for two months and her experience on Interpol’s “No Fly” list that caused trouble during her overseas tour.
Her career took a major and very public hit, but she seems to be ready to bounce back in the U.S. with a pair of confirmed shows at Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center.
While most of the chat was a mix of friendly chatter and serious talk about her situation, Griffin did get to use one joke she’d been saving when Maher asked her if she would do anything differently if given another chance with the photograph:
“I’d do Mike Pence”
This elicits a few groans and laughs from the audience, with Griffin pointing out that it was just a joke and she had it in her pocket for a while saying, “Ten months I’ve waited to do that joke! Ten months!
Weiss, on the other hand, made her second appearance in a month to discuss the latest criticism of something she wrote online. During the Winter Olympics, Weiss tweeted about Mirai Nagasu’s historic triple axle during her figure skating performance and added a misquoted line from Hamilton, “Immigrants: they get the job done.” It drew outrage, but according to Weiss and Maher, it is only the fringe left that seems to be stoking these feelings.
Maher feels like both he and the NYT columnist are facing the same type of criticism, which feels like painting with some broad strokes despite a few overlaps in their personal views depending on where you read online. The feeling with Maher in both interviews is that he feels like he is right or criticized for the wrong things, even referencing his comments about 9/11 from Politically Incorrect on ABC that eventually led to the show’s end. Still, considering the criticism he has received for Real Time over the past few years — including the most recent year that featured a string of moments capped off by his use of the n-word — it’s hard to believe that it is just a fringe element causing him trouble.
(Via Real Time)