30 most controversial Bill Maher moments

Real Time with Bill Maher - courtesy of HBO
Real Time with Bill Maher - courtesy of HBO /
30 of 30

1. Maher’s 9/11 comments get him fired

Before there was HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, Maher was the host of Politically Incorrect on ABC. That show did pretty well, so why did it leave the air, leading to the formation of Real Time? It all goes back to the week of September 11, 2001, otherwise known as 9/11.

Less than a week after the tragic event, Maher held an episode of Politically Incorrect to talk about the situation. Other people had been saying that the terrorists who hijacked the planes were cowardly, and Maher didn’t like that description. This is what led to his controversial comments which would create a huge firestorm for him, saying this scary quip:

"“We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2000 miles away, that’s cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, that’s not cowardly.”"

Immediately, advertisers pulled their sponsorship from the program, leading to a mass decrease in funding for the show. As a result, ABC axed the show entirely, essentially firing Maher in the process. What seemed like a simple little quip was probably just too soon, because it directly led to Maher losing his television show as a result.