Bill Maher is no stranger to controversy. The “insufferably smug” Real Time host has joked that there should be a “mass shooting” at the Country Music Awards, called the Quran a “hate-filled holy book,” booked white supremacist Milo Yiannopoulos, and compared One Direction’s Zayn Malik to terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, even going so far as to ask him, “Where were you during the Boston marathon?” Maher takes pride in crossing the proverbial line, but on Friday’s episode of Real Time, he crossed the line, then set it on fire.
During a conversation about adolescence and maturity, Maher told his guest, Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, that adults still dress up for Halloween in California, and whether the same thing happens in the Cornhusker State.
SASSE: “It’s frowned upon. We don’t do that quite as much.”
MAHER: “I’ve got to get to Nebraska more.”
SASSE: “You’re welcome. We’d love to have you work in the fields with us.”
MAHER: “Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n*gga.”
The line drew some laughs from the in-studio audience, but mostly groans. Sasse didn’t directly address Maher using the derogatory term for a black slave who worked in the master’s house instead of in the field, although the Senator awkwardly fumbled, “No, it’s not a joke.” (He also responded to a tweet about the interview, but made no mention of the brewing controversy.)
UPDATE: Sasse responded to the controversy with a mini-tweet storm on Saturday morning.
Needless to say, people are not very happy about Maher… again.