Bill Maher: Parody can’t keep up with reality

Bill Maher (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)
Bill Maher (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images) /

Bill Maher is used to making fun of everything with ease. But even the Real Time host is having trouble keeping up with today’s headlines. The comedian says too many things are now beyond parody.

If you’ve been following Real Time with Bill Maher during the past few seasons, chances are you’ve heard Maher weigh in on society’s hypersensitivity, cancel culture, and “woke mobs.” Just last week, Maher again called for an end to “canceling” people and an end to performative apologies to appease people on the internet.

As with anything Maher discusses, there are two sides to the story. There are legitimate instances where offensive and harmful language, actions, and imagery needs to be rectified. But according to Maher, things are going too far and the comedian is tired of trying to keep up.

In his most recent monologue, Maher addressed several stories which he described as beyond parody. Watch below as the Real Time host shares his thoughts on Mr. Potato Head, Dr. Seuss, and more:

Bill Maher’s monologue started off by acknowledging that six children’s books by Dr. Seuss will no longer be published due to racist and offensive depictions. Several late night hosts gave their opinions on the story but none had the same take as Maher.

Maher’s joke about a Dr. Seuss book containing a white nationalist motto did land right away with the studio audience. To Maher, that would be a sign of just how sensitive people have become and the collective hesitation to laugh at anything controversial.

The monologue moves on to the Mr. Potato Head story as Maher muses that he “can’t keep up with who’s on the [expletive] list” and that “parody can’t keep up” with these kinds of stories.

Maher’s apparent disappointment that certain Dr. Seuss books will be discontinued and that Mr. Potato Head is going gender-neutral is sure to upset a certain section of the population. But Maher considers any monologue that gets some people angry and some people laughing to be a success. It’s been the basis of Real Time for years.

The late night host may have won some people back by roasting Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn. Blackburn defended Neanderthals after President Joe Biden called Texas’ reasons for ending its mask mandate to “Neanderthal thinking.” Again, Maher cannon believe that a politician is sticking up for Neanderthals. It sounds like something Maher would write as a punchline but instead, it’s the setup.

Bill Maher is hoping people on both sides begin to relax

Religion, race, gender, and politics have been part of Bill Maher’s comedy career since it began. He knows better than anyone how the national discourse has shifted and where the threshold for what’s acceptable stands. For Maher, things have gone too far.

It’s true that the past five years have delivered some truly bizarre moments that would sound like a parody at any other time. It’s why things like “Not the Onion” exist to support the argument that we’re living in the strangest (or dumbest) time.

But as much as Maher says he can’t keep up, it hasn’t stopped him from saying whatever he wants and make the jokes he wants to make. He immediately follows the Potato Head story with an edgy joke about Silly Putty.

As long as Real Time is on the air, Maher will have a place where he is free to satirize and ridicule anything he wants. It sounds like the comedian is just hoping that more people come around to his side.

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