Bill Maher has struck mixed reactions to a monologue on Friday (July 30) during the latest episode of his HBO series Real Time with Bill Maher. During the ending of the show, he talked about how “woke” the Olympics are and the issues involving them. You can see the full clip below as it was reposted on his Twitter.
The main issue that Bill Maher took with the Olympics was its handling of its officials. The first example he used was how the director was fired over a Holocaust joke in 1998. Another was when the opening ceremony composer dropped out because of a 1994 interview where he admitted to having been a bully when he was a child. A third was given when one official made a fat joke in a private conversation. The TV host said that this was a “purge” that “belongs in Stalin’s Russia.”
Later in the segment, Bill Maher talked about a news story from AP that criticized introducing surfing into the Olympics as “whitewashing” and insulting toward the Hawaiin people. He defended the choice of the sport entering the event by letting people enjoy things and “having fun in the ocean.” He questions the origin and how applying it only to Hawaiians is not accurate as there are thousands of islands in the Pacific. By introducing surfing and restricting it to only one group of people, he argues, defeats the purpose of the Olympics as “most of human history is a horror story,” and the best comes when people unite over sharing something, like a sport.
When it comes to cultures coming together and exchanging something, Bill Maher used the popularity of K-pop as an example. Bands like BTS have exploded in the West. These catchy songs work for audiences outside of Korea, like in Europe and in America.
Regarding cancel culture, Bill Maher said that it is an “insanity that is swallowing up the world.” It has been something criticized, but that has sparked speculation that he has changed his political stance as the arguments against cancel culture are often associated with conservatism. Known for his liberal views, Bill Maher defends himself by saying that his “politics have not changed, but I am reacting to politics that have.” He went on to say how liberalism has changed and that “snitching” is not a part of that.
Bill Maher ended by talking about how walling people off was supposed to be a bad thing, which he took a jab at former President Donald Trump with an image of the former President by the border wall. Maher went on into detail about how we are in a world that restricts straight actors from playing LGBT characters, and white authors are not allowed to write about people of color. He tied these ideas to liberalism by saying that “trying to inhabit the life of someone else is almost the definition of empathy, the bedrock of liberalism.”
The video sparked a range of different responses from supporters to people opposing what Bill Maher said. Some were simple, like one user who posted a GIF from Saturday Night Live that made fun of him for being a “grumpy old man.”
Another Twitter user had a brief tweet giving Bill Maher support for his monologue.
Responses became more than brief comments or gifs. A user made a counterargument against the seven-minute clip by saying how Bill Maher makes responses to “straw arguments” by using “absurd” examples only to take on the whole of something.
Going in-depth on cancel culture, someone posted another counterargument that criticized Bill Maher for “being too lazy” to comprehend the “nuance” of what it means to protest something. He also went on to say that the TV host, like most people who use the term cancel culture, are often people who are mad that others are against something that they like.
Bill Maher made these comments right toward the tail end of the Olympic Games Tokyo that will end on August 8.