Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bill Maher #340 01/23/15 Open Season on Republicans

by Catherine Giordano

Bill Maher Billionaires Buying Guide
Bill Maher New Rules

Bill Maher had two comedy segments on his show, the mid-show segment and New Rules at the end of the show.  He took aim at Republicans and fired away.  It was like shooting fish in a barrel. 

New Rules pointed out that so many Republicans were running for their party’s nomination for president that Republicans should just tell us who ISN’T running. The clown car is revving up and ready to roll around the track.  

Right now they are all vying to catch the favor of one of the Republican billionaire sugar daddies. Last time around some candidates stayed in the race way past the time for them to leave because the backing of one billionaire kept them in.  

So Maher decided to help out by compiling “The Billionaire’s Buying Guide” so the Mr. Moneybags” of the party could make their choice.  Here is the segment.

Joanie Ernst is not running for president, at least not yet. She just won her election for Senator (R, IA). The Republicans evidently think she is a rising star. They gave her the opportunity to do the official Republican response.  (This did not deter four other Republicans from stepping up to the mic to give their very own response. There is no discipline in the Republican party these days.)  

Ernst gave a robotic delivery and, unlike Obama, she didn’t talk policy. She spent most of the time talking about herself. She told a pointless story about having to wear bread bags on her feet as a child when it rained. It might have been a good story if it was told to show how she overcame the shame of poverty, but every kid in her school wore bread bags on their feet. Maybe it was a fashion statement.  
Too bad for her, but fun for us. Maher did a bit about Ernst being a country singer who had a album called Bread Bags on My Feet.”  The he did parody song titles. Watch it here.


The 2016 Republican presidential nomination is starting so early. I think there will plenty more for Maher to spoof.

Red my full review and recap of episode 340, titled Crazy.  .

Bill Maher’s Guests for January 23, 2015 

Howard Dean: doctor, former governor of Vermont, former chairman of the DNC, co-founder of Democracy for America,” author of Howard Dean's Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform 

James Fallows: journalist, national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly (“The Tragedy of the American Military”). He has written several books. His most recent book is China Airborne: The Test of China’s Future. He also wrote Blinded into Bagdad: America’s War into Iraq 

Bill Burr: comedian, podcaster, actor. He has a DvD: Bill Burr: Let it Go. His movies include Walk of Shame and Black or White

Nia-Malika Henderson: political reporter for The Washington Post (The Fix) 

Bret Stephens: columnist, journalist for the Wall Street Journal, Pulitzer Prize winner, author of America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bill Maher: So Sue Me Again

by Catherine Giordano

Bill Maher Repu8blican Book Club
Bill Maher Repu8blican Book Club

It’s almost a cliché. If you want to run for president, you have to have a book newly published in the months preceding your announcement.  That is why there is a slew of new books on the market from Republicans. 

In the mid-show comedy segment for the January 16, 2015 Real Time with Bill Maher show (episode 339) , Maher told us he had “hacked into their emails” and found the original titles of these books.

Usually these books have boring titles, and almost always with the word “America” or “Dreams” or “Future” somewhere in the title. Maher decided to liven things up by renaming the books.

Maher didn’t need to do a thing Mike Huckabee’s book title. It was funny even before Maher transformed it. It is God, Guts, Grits, and Gravy. I was laughing before he even got to the satirical renaming.  Guys like Huckabee make Maher’s job easy.

The book title he gave to Sarah Palin’s book perfectly summed up what these books are all about. It was the one for Sarah Palin’s book.

Hey Sucker. Yeah You. Give Me $29.95

The honor of being the final book in Maher’s list went to Donald Trump. He renamed Trumps book: Me Want Banana. Me Climb Tree. Inside the Mind of a Half-Human Half-Orangutan Billionaire. 

After reading out the title, Bill laughed and said “So sue me again.  Maher is clearly delighted that Trump once tried to sue him because Maher had joked that Trump’s father was an orangutan.

[Read the complete story of the feud between Maher and Trump at Drones, Bones, and Orange Tones.]

Watch the Republican Book Club comedy segment here:

Read the full review and recap of Real Time with Bill Maher, #339 here: Free Speech

Bill Maher’s Guests January 16, 2015.

Josh Gad: actor best known for voicing Olaf in Frozen 

Atul Gawande: surgeon, public-health researcher, professor, chairman of Lifebox, (a nonprofit which aims to reduce deaths in surgery globally) and author of several books. His most recent book is Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.

Josh Barro: Self-identifies as a neo-liberal and a Republican, correspondent for The New York Times. (I checked the definition of neo liberal—it sounds like just another word for libertarian.) 

Wes Moore: businessman, U.S. Army veteran, host of "Beyond Belief" on the Oprah Winfrey Network, author.  His first book, The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates, became an instant New York Times bestseller. His most recent book is The Work: My Search for a Life That Matters.

Kathryn Bigelow: director, producer, screenwriter. Her two most recent movies are Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker.  She has started a campaign to prevent the extinction of elephants and has produced an animated/live action short/PSA called  Last Days.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Maher, Rushdie, and Charlie

by Catherine Giordano 
Salmon Rushdie Quote on Freedom of Speech
Salmon Rushdie Quote on Freedom of Speech

I’m always glad to see Salman Rushdie on the panel of Real Time with Bill Maher and never more so than on episode 338 which aired on January 9, 2015. At one point he said, “I have a little experience with this.” He was referring to the fact that a tatwa had been issued against him urging all Muslims to kill him because of his heresy. He was also raised as a Muslim so he understands the religion from the inside. Rushdie had the relative good fortune to have the threat against him made publically so he could go into hiding for years; the staff at Charlie Hebdo did not have a direct warning.
“We are the side show.”
Rushdie explained the true reasons for Islamic terrorism. “We are the side show,” he said. “This is a project to seize power in the Muslim world. They want to create a mindset that allows them to conquer the world of Islam.” He later added, “It is the fight inside Islam that is important. Inside Islam there is a powerful group that wants to drag the world back to the 7th century.” 
“They share the same bad ideas.”
Bill Maher repeated the point that he repeatedly made on his show and elsewhere. “The majority of Muslims would never do anything like this, but they share the same bad ideas. The terrorists and the mainstream Muslims share the same ideas.”

 Rushdie pointed out that the reaction after the Charlie Hebdo massacre was different.  Muslims stood up and said, “Not in our name.”
“To a coward courage always looks like stupidity.”
Rushdie commented on those who criticize the writers, scholars and artists who stand up against bigotry. He called them, the “but-brigade” as in “Yes, I believe in free speech, BUT maybe you shouldn’t have done that.” 

Rushdie said that those who speak out are told to “Sit down, you are rocking the boat.” His response to those who would try to silence critics was: “What we can do is “not give a f*@king inch.” Also, “We have to rock the boat. It’s our function. What would a respectful political cartoon look like?”
Maher quoted “The Financial Times: “Common sense should be useful at publications which purport to strike a blow for freedom when they provoke Muslims, but are actually being stupid.”  

Maher replied, “To a coward courage always looks like stupidity.”

Here is he YouTube video of the discussion:

Unfortunately, the discussion was marred by the demented jack-in-the-box, on the panel, Carly Fiorina, who just wouldn’t shut up. Fast forward through her comments. They are a distraction. I wish someone would make a video where they pull the smart quotes and edit out the distractions.
Rushdie and Maher could barely contain their disdain for her interruptions, but every time they tried to shut her down she popped up again. Maher and Rushdie tried to ignore her, but she was shouting and pounding the table. And she would not shut up! She made me feel like I was at a party cornered by some self-centered full-of-herself bore that I just couldn’t escape. Watch her facial expressions. She is so smug, so sure that she is gifting up with her “gems-of-wisdom.” I had such a visceral reaction of disgust. And she would not shut up!

Read the full review and recap of the show: No Joking

Bill Maher’s Guests for January 19, 2015.

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
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
Jay Leno. Former host of The Tonight Show, (See Behind the Curtain: An Insider’s View of Jay Leno’s Tonight Show by Dave Berg) He is currently doing two shows about cars: Garage which can be seen on YouTube and a car show for CNBC. 
Chris Hardwick: Comedian, actor, screenwriter, musician, podcaster, television host for @Midnight on Comedy Central, author of The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level (In Real Life)

Carly Fiorina, former business executive, failed U.S. Senate candidate (R CA), author of Tough Choices: A Memoir