Saturday, August 25, 2012

Real Time With Bill Maher # 256 Ninth Circle

Bill Maher opened his show on August 24, 2012 (episode 256) as he always does –with a brief clip from the archives.  He aired the one where someone in the audience started shouting something (I couldn’t make out what), and Bill gets off the stage and walks down the aisle and personally ejects the heckler (with a little help from the paid security guys).

There were times last night when I wished that Bill would jump across the desk and evict a few of the panelists. Last night was my worst fear come true about the show.  Two conservatives on the panel and one middle-of-the-roader who said, “a pox on both their houses”. That left Bill as the only voice of reason. Now Bill is a good advocate for rationality, but he is mainly a comedian. The professional politicians and policy makers can sometimes score points off him.

Bill’s opening monologue began with the Republican convention scheduled to begin in Tampa, Florida on Monday. Hurricane Isaac is also scheduled to arrive in Tampa on Monday. Bill’s Joke: “An evangelical party nominating Mormon and a Catholic and then getting wiped out by a hurricane.”  The sub-text is that evangelicals are always saying that hurricanes are God’s punishment for human wrongdoing, like a gay pride parade.  So if Isaac hits the convention, is the Republican Party being punished for something. If I remember correctly, the first day of the last Republican convention had to be cancelled because of a hurricane. I’m seeing a trend. Maybe God thought they didn’t get the message last time.

The show opened, as it does every week, with an interview. The interviewee was Ariana Huffington, currently a liberal) from the hugely successful Huffington Post.

During the show Bill put a decade-old picture of Ariana and the very liberal Al Franken in bed together (Photo-shopped—they were never actually in bed together.) The picture was making the point –“strange bedfellows”.  Ariana, embarrassed by this reference to her past, quickly changed the subject to her hair. (I bet she gave bill “what-for” backstage after the show.)  Ariana Huffington now espouses liberal views (and does it very well), but she used to be a conservative. Perhaps she shed her politics when she shed her conservative husband; perhaps she saw a profitable niche on the liberal side—I don’t know.

As I said, Ariana does a great job. She more or less said that Ryan was “Romney’s poodle,” the way, Blair, the prime minster of England used to be “Bush’s poodle.”  She said his treatment of Romneyy was like a couples’ relationship pre and post marriage. A woman gets courted by a man because she is an exciting person; but after marriage that’s not what he wants anymore—now he wants her to be a doormat.  The analogy is right-on. Ryan is being forced to tone down everything that made him an exciting choice.

Back to the panel. The conservatives were Avic Roy, from a conservative think tank, Jack Kingston, a Republican and congressman from Georgia (A frequent guest, a much too frequent guest, in my opinion. I groaned out loud, when I saw that he was on the show).  Katy Kay, a correspondent World News America (the BBC in America), was the sole defender of sanity, albeit no liberal.

They argued about Medicare and the Affordable Care Act (Kingston won’t “forgive Justice Roberts”) ,about how Mitt Romney went “birther” the other day while disingenuously saying it was only a joke (mainly Bill), about how Todd Akin’s ideas about rape are the same as those held by Ryan and many other Republicans in Congress (Bill again), about whether or not the stimulus was good or bad for the economy (Avic said bad, whereas most economists agree that it saved the country from a second Great Depression), and maybe some other stuff.  It was hard to follow with everyone talking over each other.

Conservatives have a hard time giving someone else a chance to speak.  I kept hoping that Bill would do what Chelsea Handler did last week—tell them to pipe down.

As the babble went on, I’m yelling at my TV as if Bill could hear me, “Come on. Do some jokes.  Do a “bubble segment”; do the bit with the mock-ups.”  Maybe Bill heard me because he segued to a comedy bit about Republicans putting ads on Craig’s List trolling for sex partners during the convention.  He skewered Christie, Gingrich, and a few others. It’s was very funny.

Finally, it is time for the second guest usually someone from the entertainment business; tonight that guest was D.L. Hughley, a stand-up comedian who stands up for liberal ideas. The exchange between him and Bill was informative and funny. Then, he did it! Kingston interrupted the interview with the guest.  That is very bad form! (I hope Bill gave him “what-for” backstage after the show.) The panel almost always remains silent after the guest comes on.

Chaos broke loose and everyone on that stage was talking at the same time so I couldn’t make out much of what any was saying.  Mercifully, it was time for “New Rules.” The final rule, the one where Bill makes a serious point, concerned the Republicans.  It is where I found the–funniest- line-of-the-week-that-is-also-true moment. “The symbol for the Republican party should not be an elephant; it should be a unicorn “ A unicorn because they live in a fantasy land. Most of their ideas are not based on reality, but some fantasy that just happens to suit their purposes.

Bill, doesn’t title his shows, so I’m going to give This one a title: “The Ninth Circle of Hell is Two Conservatives on the Bill Meher Show.” Can you hear me now, Bill?

 I found this picture at