Popular host Bill Maher may have unwittingly taken some heat off controversial and widely condemned comedian Kathy Griffin at least for a night by making a controversy of his own and directing some unfavorable attention to himself. His fault? The spontaneous and unexpected use of the big N-word on Friday’s “Real Time.”
Maher, prominent for his former “Politically Incorrect” show, had Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse as guest to discuss his book “The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance”. The Senator was discussing his belief that at present “You can’t tell 10- and 15- and 20- and 25-year-olds apart.” Maher responded that he also believes that Halloween “used to be a kid thing” but now adults dress up, too.”
Maher then asked his guest, “They don’t do that in Nebraska?” Sasse answered that such is frowned upon in Nebraska so they don’t do it quite as much.
The discussion then moved forward to the lawmaker talking about how manual labor can build character and maturity. Maher then suggested that he had to go more often to Nebraska then, the senator mischievously bantered with a grin that: “We’d love to have you work in the fields with us.”
That’s when the harmless, casual and light feel of the exchange between two hit an unexpected turn. Maher, obviously still joking, threw up his arms and said: “Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n—-a.”
The audience greeted the joke with uncomfortable laughter. But the backlash for Maher came later from social media. One Twitter user even called for Maher’s immediate firing for his “racism” and for “belittling the struggle of millions of Black Americans.” Another compared Maher’s joke and expected sticky situation with the arrest of Tiger Woods and Kathy Griffin’s setbacks after the foul joke he did on Trump. The user even ended with the punchline suggesting that Maher’s stunt is the “ultimate” and Woods and Griffin’s transgressions are but the works of mere “amateurs.” Another gave the analogy: “Bill Maher is that white dude in high school that thinks he got his honorary black card because he fist bumps black people all the time.”
One social media user had an interesting take. He posted: “Kathy Griffin, now Bill Maher! wow the left are eating themselves. TRUMP has them rattled!! #MAGA”
Griffin was forced to offer an apology for her vile and tasteless joke, though many doubted the sincerity of the apology. She also faces the prospects of losing more work after outraged Trump supporters mounted pressure on her sponsors to drop her from their projects. CNN will also not hire her anymore for the annual New Year’s Eve show.