Bill Maher kicked off his 15th season on HBO much like he ended the last one: attacking Donald Trump. The last time Maher was on television, Trump had just become president-elect and people were still shocked by the outcome of Election 2016. Real Time ended with the host and his panel wearing hats that said “we’re still here,” something that was still clear with his return on Friday night. The inauguration was the main topic of discussion and Maher had quite the lineup ready to represent the resistance, inviting both Jane Fonda and Keith Olbermann to stop by.
The real highlight of the show came during the first “New Rules” segment of the new season. Maher decided to come right out and highlight opioid addiction and how he thinks it affected Trump voters during the election. Citing a Vox article from November, Maher runs down the list of states that switched from Obama to Trump during the election and connects it to the rise in heroin abuse. He specifically singles out Oklahoma and West Virginia as the major offenders, not offering much sympathy aside from telling kids to stay away from heroin because “it’s a gateway to being a Republican.”
The Olbermann interview likely features a lot of things you could guess without watching. The former MSNBC host was quick to call Trump’s election “an invasion” by Russia and pointed to the recent New York Times report that highlighted more of the alleged Russian influence on the election. Both men agreed that the best way to “resist” Trump was to make things as difficult as possible for the president, possibly even taking a page out of the Tea Party playbook that we saw in action during the Obama presidency.
Jane Fonda didn’t mince her words about the president either, referring to him as the “predator-in-chief.” She was also quick to defend celebrities that are involved in politics and the assertion that all of those people that are unhappy about the outcome of the election are “sore losers.”
Apart from these two interviews setting the tone for Maher’s feelings towards the inaugural events, the panel and Overtime segment allow Maher to play catch up with the events since the show went on hiatus. This includes Trump’s ugly press conference, his relationship with the press, and his support via “fake news.” It’s an odd episode all around, possibly because of the new set or possibly because of the new president in The White House. It’ll be interesting to see how this and the other political talk programs move forward once the Trump presidency sets in.
(Via Real Time)