Bill Maher has developed a reputation as a comedian who straddles the line when it comes to jokes about race, religion, and politics. But some believe Maher went too far during a recent episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher.”
During an interview with Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), Maher referred to himself as a “house n—r.”
Adults dress up for Halloween, they don’t do that in Nebraska?” Maher asked.
“It’s frowned upon,” Sasse replied. “We don’t do that quite as much.”
“I gotta get to Nebraska more,” Maher said.
“You’re welcome; we’d love to have you work in the fields with us,” Sasse joked.
“Work in the fields,” Maher scoffed. “Senator, I’m a house nigger.”
The joke created an uncomfortable pause in the audience as some moaned while a few laughed. Maher attempted to clean things up by saying, “It was just a joke.” A few members of the audience clapped.
Comedians should have license to cross lines without fear of repercussion, but the context is always important. Maher failed to take into account how racism and the ills of slavery continue to disrupt Black lives today. It’s highly unlikely that Maher, who is Jewish, would have a used the Jewish racial slur ‘k—‘ in a similar circumstance.
But Maher is now catching heat as people are calling for HBO to cancel his show.
People shocked at Bill Maher being racist-y, check w your Arab & Muslim friends. Been doing this for a LONG time, but he got hall passes.
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) June 3, 2017
The worst part will be when Bill Maher uses the “I’m a comedian” excuse and acts like he doesn’t know what all of the fuss is about.
— Ryan Topham (@BurglerBooks) June 3, 2017
1. Honestly though, Bill Maher is the worst kinda white person. Dude is always quick to say, “WE’RE ALL ON THE SAME SIDE” while cozying up
— Black Aziz Ansari ? (@Freeyourmindkid) June 3, 2017
I can’t believe Bill Maher said something racist, said no Muslim ever. #realtime
— Reza Aslan (@rezaaslan) June 3, 2017
Maybe don’t be the white guy that tries to explain why it was okay for Bill Maher to say the n-word.
— Solomon Georgio (@solomongeorgio) June 3, 2017
If u thought Bill Maher was a champion of the progressive left, u havent been listening to Muslim & black folks. We’ve been calling him out.
— Rowaida Abdelaziz (@Rowaida_Abdel) June 3, 2017
For me, the jig has been up on Bill Maher for a long time. So, nah.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) June 3, 2017