More Maher: Bill talks Barack and burqas at the Orleans

Pauly Shore and Bill Maher in da club.
Photo: Joe Coomber

When you’re a comedian like Bill Maher, one who thrives on political discord and stupidity from the higher ups and middle managers of the nation, a good president is like being told there’s no more coffee at Starbucks.

“But why?” you ask. “That’s where I get all my caffeine. Can’t you understand that without Starbucks coffee I’m a dry, slothly, less interesting human being? You’re ruining me!”

But even with a president in the White House who “eats arugula and speaks in complete sentences,” Maher had plenty to say last night as he kicked off a three-night stand-up run at the Orleans Showroom.

Maher stuck to his usual firebrand-style political commentary, chastising republicans repeatedly, recalling campaign antics, teasing Barack Obama and even throwing in a few requisite digs on Dubya.

Maher recalled Obama quoting French philosopher Voltaire saying, “We can’t afford to make the perfect be the enemy of the absolutely necessary.”


Bill Maher at the Orleans
May 30-31, 8 p.m.
Beyond the Weekly
Bill Maher

“I felt like a hockey mom at the state fair when the fireworks go off and Jesus appears in the cotton candy,” Maher said, “Voltaire – Bush thinks he’s a Harry Potter character.”

However, Maher didn’t spare the Prez a comedic lashing or two. He even offered some suggestions for Obama.

“He’s not infallible,” reminded Maher. “He’s not a chocolate Jesus. … That’s Kanye West.”

Maher recommended the President “black it up a little. Would it kill him to put on a purple suit with buttons up the middle once in a while?”

Over the course of Maher’s lengthy set he turned his gaze on a variety of subjects in government, recent news and society. And while Maher stressed that he didn’t hate America (at least, not first thing in the morning: “I have my coffee, burn the American flag, perform a few abortions and then I get around to hating America.”), he made it very clear where he thinks we rank on the intelligence scale: very, very low. More chickadee than chimp.

“It used to be forgivable in this country to not know anything. Maybe you went to high school here … or you’re Baptist.”

And that stupidity shows up everywhere, according to Maher, from politicians refusing to take Gitmo inmates to the rise of Bobby Jindal.

No one has ever escaped from a federal “supermax” prison, explained Maher. “They’re not Muslim James Bonds. These people watch Con Air too much.”

As far as Jindal’s rise to next-big-republican status, Maher had an easy explanation: “I think the republicans think he’s black.”

Maher’s political diatribe was every bit the pointed, sharp-witted critique the audience packed into the Orleans Showroom had come for. His Bush barbs were met with eager applause and republican rants were warmly received.

Toward the end of the evening, Maher paused for what he claimed was a fashion show from Saudi Arabia’s hottest designers. A pair of burqa-clad assistants emerged from stage left, and Maher narrated the designs, condemning the treatment of women in the Middle East with lines like, “First class clothing for second class citizens!” and “I’m too sexy for my Shiite.”

“I’m not a cultural relativist,” Maher explained, cautioning that we can’t “get so tolerant that we tolerate intolerance.”

It was a brief moment of straight-faced seriousness from the 53-year-old stand-up, who chuckled his way through much of his set. The extended joke served as a reminder that beneath the easy democratic laughs and Palin MILF jokes, Maher is a man personally disgruntled by the state of our country and our world. Pointing out the deficiencies is easy; it’s finding the humor in the horror that truly demonstrates his tremendous skill.

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