Saturday, January 10, 2015

Real Time with Bill Maher #338 01/9/15 “No Joking”

by Catherine Giordano

Charie Hebdo
My French is not too good, but I think it says
"700 lashes if you don't die laughing."
'Charia" means "Sharia."
"Hebdo" means "weekly."
Real Time with Bill Maher began the new season with a bang. Maher’s theme was “No joking” and he had some excellent guests to amplify his points. The terrific guests were Chris Hardwick, Jay Leno, Paul Begala, and Salmon Rushdie. Carly Fiorina was also present.

Bill Maher began his monologue saying that free speech and joking were under attack. First the North Koreans did not want any joking about their glorious leader and the movie, The Interview” which featured a plot about some bunglers attempting to assassinate him, got pulled from theater chains. And now the much more serious case of the offices of a satirical magazine in France, Charlie Hebdo, being attacked by Islamic murderers because of satirical cartoons about Mohammed (another glorious leader who should never be insulted). Eight members of the staff were killed in the attack.

Maher commended the remaining members of the staff who have proclaimed that the next edition of the magazine will come out on time with a million extra copies printed. He compared the bravery of Charlie Hebdo to the cowardice of Sony. He offered mock congratulations to Sony for “putting up less resistance than the French.” He then said that the proper response to terrorists was “in the immortal words of Dick Cheney as spoken on the floor of the Senate, ‘Go f*@k yourself.’”

America is supporting France during this crisis, so much so, Maher said, “that the Senate wants to change ‘freedom fries” back to “French fries.’”

Interview: Chris Hardwick on Cyber Space
Chris Hardwick
Chris Hardwick
Maher did the interview with Chris Hardwick, a comedian, actor, screenwriter, musician, podcaster, television host for @Midnight on Comedy Central, and author of The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level in Real Life).

Chris talked about hacking and about keeping your data secure. Have secure passwords. Don’t use public wi-fi. Never say anything in email or a text that you wouldn’t shout out loud in the middle of Times Square.

Hardwick said there was a lot of cyber crime in Russia because I lot of people have math and computer skills, but no job. He said not all cyber crime was done for monetary gain. Cyber terrorism in support of a cause. Hard core black hat hacking is done just because some people “want to burn stuff down”—they get their jollies by destroying things.

World reaction to Charlie Hebdo
Hacking can be a two-way street. A hacker group known as “Anonymous” (not sure what category they are in) has announced that will destroy all Islamic terrorist websites.

There has been universal condemnation of the attack. Even Islamic groups have not remained silent this time; they have spoken out to condemn it.

Maher said, referring to Islam, “Where there is this many bad apples, something is wrong with the orchard.”

Salman Rusdie
Salman Rushdie
Salmon Rushdie, author of several books including Joseph Anton: A Memoir (about the time he spent in hiding because there was a fatwa calling for his murder due to his book, The Satanic Verses: A Novel) and his latest novel, Shame: A Novel, made news with his statements. Literally, I saw a clip from the Real time on TV the next day featuring Rushdie. He said that most of the Islamic terror groups were not about the west, but were part of attempts to “seize power in the Islamic world.” They want to return to the 7th century, to the time when the Prophet lived.

Rushdie said that the best thing we can do is “don’t give a f*@king inch.” He objected to the “but brigade.” People who say they are for free speech …but they should have been more respectful, more sensitive, whatever.

Maher replied, “To a coward courage always looks like stupidity.” I put that quote in bold type because it is so good. Somebody needs to put it on a tee shirt, with “Je suis Charlie Hebdo” on the other side.

Rushdie said “We have to rock the boat. It’s our function. What would a respectful political cartoon look like?”

Read more about this discussion and see the YouTube video: Maher, Rushdie, and Charlie

Mid-show comedy Segment: Other Movies Sony Pulled
Maher showed us some movie posters for fake moves that might cause enough controversy and would have to be pulled. Some of them were:
  • Tyler Perry in Medea Gets Choked Out by a Cop
  • Mel Gibson in The Girl with the Swastika Tattoo
  • Ray Rice in Black Chick Down
  • Bill Cosby in While You were Sleeping
Jay Leno
Jay Leno
Jay Leno
The mid-show guest was Jay Leno. Now that Jay Leno is no longer hosting The Tonight Show, (See Behind the Curtain: An Insider’s View of Jay Leno’s Tonight Show by Dave Berg) he has more time to devote to his cars. He is doing two shows about cars: Garage which can be seen on YouTube and a car show for CNBC.

Maher asked Leno, “If you had to choose between jokes and cars which would you choose?” Leno said, “Jokes because the jokes pay for the cars.”

The Republican contenders for 2016
Maher said that Mitt Romney will run again.

Paul Begala
Paul Begala
Paul Begala, Democratic campaign strategist and author of many books on politics including his newest one assessing the possible 2016 candidates, 2016 Scouting Report: American Bridge's Media Guide to the Republican Presidential Bench,

thought this was wonderful news. He said, “I have a whole warehouse of old attack ads.” He added, “The Republicans always choose the oldest white guy next in line.” “Bush, Christie, Romney, the potty-trained Republicans.” Sorry Paul, I have to disagree with you about Christie. There are a few lessons he failed to learn in kindergarten.

Economic News
The economic news has been so good. The Dow has tripled since Obama took office. Unemployment is down to normal levels. Gas is cheap. Maher showed clips of Republicans making campaign promises on these issues and then said, “Obama has achieved all the Republican goals.

Carly Fiorina, former business executive, failed U.S. Senate candidate (R CA), author of Tough Choices: A Memoir and possible contender for the Republican nomination for president in 2016, (Yes, really—she says may run.) had to be the ants at the picnic. She put on her sourest face and nagging like a buttinski mother-in-law started ranting about poverty rates and income inequality.

Maher scoffed at her incredulously. “You care about income inequality!?” It turns out she vociferously says she does. Not that she has a plan to fix it, but just as something she could use to beat up Obama.BTW, Obama has a plan--raise the minimum wage. I wish Maher had called her fluff and asked her for her opinion of Obama’s plan to reduce income equality by raising the minimum wage.

Begala said, “We have the best economy in the world because we have a President who knows what he is doing.” Fiorina was screaming now, “Income inequality, Income inequality.” She was like a jack in the box—you slam down the lid, but she just keeps popping up. Oh, yes, Carly, please run for President. We need the jokes.

New Rules: Policeman’s Bawl
Baby with Pacifier
Drop the binky.
The final New Rules segment was about the New York Police Department and New York Mayor de Blasio. What did de Blasio do to raise the ire of the police? He said, “Many families wonder if their child is safe.” (de blasio has a black wife and black son.)

Maher accused the NYPD of suffering from PMS. “We have to tell them that we love them or they throw a tantrum.” Maher said with biting humor, “Next, it will be a baby with a rattle. He pointed the rattle at me. Drop the f*@king binky.”  

“Police say they are going by the book. Who wrote the book? George Zimmerman?” (BTW, Zimmerman just got arrested again—domestic violence against a girl friend again. How desperate do you have to be to be Zimmerman’s girlfriend?)   

Maher said the police unions were behind the bad behavior of the police. (In addition to openly disrespecting the mayor and turning a funeral into a political protest, they are engaging in a work stoppage.) The police union is supporting this bad behavior and Maher called them out for giving unions a bad name.   

Then he praised unions saying that when one in three workers belonged to a union, we had a strong middle class. Now that only one in ten belongs to a union, the middle class is sliding down the economic scale. 

“It's not hard to do the math. Wait it is, because we can’t fire teachers because of the teachers union.”
It ended there.
First Maher disses unions, then he praises unions, and then he disses unions again. Where’s the joke? Maybe there was no joking because everybody on the writers’ staff left their brains on vacation. It’s the first show of the new season—get back on your game! End with a joke that is funny. End with a joke that has some bite. End with a joke that would make Charlie Hebdo proud.