Bill Maher lands Barack Obama interview after Real Time petition

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 23: Bill Maher attends a DuJour Magazine celebration of 12 seasons of REAL TIME with Bill Maher at UP
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 23: Bill Maher attends a DuJour Magazine celebration of 12 seasons of REAL TIME with Bill Maher at UP /

Barack Obama will appear on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher a few days before the election.

Bill Maher is finally getting his birthday wish. The HBO host announced on Friday’s Real Time that he will interviewing President Obama for an appearance next Friday, November 4, just four days before the presidential election.

Last January as the comedian turned 60, he urged his fans to sign a petition on the White House’s We the People website urging the president to appear on his show before he leaves office. It garnered over 320,000 signatures, prompting the White House to offer a lukewarm response that read that the request would be given “respectful consideration.”

However, on Friday the White House updated the post with a video announcement from Maher confirming that the president would finally be appearing with him on air in an interview that will be filmed at the White House this week. In the message, Maher explained that in celebration of his birthday, he made a plea to Obama to join him on Real Time, “not just because I’m a true fan, but our large, loyal audience deserved to be treated to a presidential visit just like other shows have, and because as an audience, we sometimes think a little differently about things, and I know this president is sincere in extending diversity everywhere in America.”

He continued, “I’m thrilled that the president has — as he did with the country — come through in the end.”

Watch the full clip below:

In Maher’s initial appeal, he questioned why Obama had seemingly sat down with every other media outlet imaginable, including YouTube personalities and most of the other late-night hosts, but had refused to be interviewed by him. The snub was particularly bewildering given that he donated $1 million to his re-election bid in 2012.

Maher also mentioned Obama’s upcoming appearance during the most recent Real Time episode, telling the live audience, “Next week we have a special guest… we’ve been trying to get him for quite a while, like eight years. We sent out a petition.” After seeing the crowd’s reaction to the revelation he added, “We’ve finally landed that big fish,” before noting that it elicited a standing ovation from the crowd. The show also posted the following video on its YouTube page to promote the big event:

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Obama has not only been hitting the campaign trail in support of Hillary Clinton in recent weeks, but also the late-night TV circuit in an effort to drive up voter turnout, particularly among young people. He was recently interviewed on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and is set to appear on TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee on Halloween night.

Real Time with Bill Maher airs Fridays at 10 p.m on HBO. In addition to Obama, next week’s installment will also feature Martin Short, Jennifer Granholm and David Frum.