Criticism of Bill Maher’s attempt to mesh a hard N with a snappy talk show retort has understandably been swift and severe. During his Tuesday appearance on Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club, Kevin Hart was asked for his take on his comedy peer’s remark. Hart’s feelings? Maher’s actions were unquestionably wrong, but he’s not going to brand the man that used the slur as a racist just yet.
“I’ve seen Bill Maher come to the defense of black people on several occasions,” offered Hart who made clear that he does not approve of the “joke” even with that qualifier. “That’s a bad judgment. Granted, I don’t think Bill Maher is a racist, but that’s a bad judgment.”
Hart, who is a fiercely diplomatic comedian that’s even made a point of avoiding Trump jokes to not alienate fans, doesn’t believe Maher will make the same mistake twice. That said, he unpacked what Maher’s n-word gag projects to the world and what it says about the man that said it.
“It’s inappropriate and it’s not right,” explained the comic. “To say that and to say it the way you said it as comfortable as you said it in a joking form, you’re wrong. Granted, you can issue all the apologies you want … you know he says it around friends. It’s not something that he’s not going to say anymore. But for you to say it on your platform, that’s tacky.”
Elsewhere in Maher-focused pushback, a new profile piece in Esquire featured an eyebrow-raising tidbit about Real Time‘s most controversial guest and self-styled alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. (We have the bluffer’s guide with the key points of the Maher piece if you’d care to take a gander. Seeds are involved.)
Now Maher says that he’d like to help rescue Yiannopoulos from his tumble out of the spotlight. “I actually want to have him back,” Maher told me. “I don’t think he would be that hard to bring around to a much more reasonable position.” (Yiannopoulos says another appearance is in the works.)
Maher’s mentioned desire to have Yiannopoulos (who faced massive condemnation earlier this year for his pro-pedophilia comments) return to the program was offered up before his n-word quip on Friday, but the already questionable booking idea is beckoning even more chatter on what’s appropriate for HBO’s long-running chat show. Maher has previously claimed victory over the Twitter-banned figure, so there’s reason to wonder why the now somewhat marginalized Milo would be gifted a major platform once again.