For his award-winning live HBO show 'Real Time with Bill Maher' (which kicked off its 10th season on September 7), the comedian plays host to a new panel of guests every week and waxes political (and not infrequently pontifical) about the issues of the day. Maher is famously acerbic, confrontational, and foulmouthed. And though he's undoubtedly opinionated and a left-leaning progressive, he's also rigorously honest intellectually, and regularly dishes out shots to either side of the aisle. Here are some highlights from our Q&A in this month's issue:
On what the average American doesn't understand about politics:
Politics, I think they understand. I don't think they understand policy. I hear it on the media all the time. "The American people say they want to hear about issues." No they don’t. They want 'The Hunger Games.' They don't care about the issues. If they do, they don't bother to find out about the minutiae. It's funny that in the age of information, it's very hard to get information into people's heads. Because people are able to stay in their bubbles. And they never hear the truth.
On what it's like to have half the country pissed at him:
There is literally nothing I can tweet that won't incite a litany of people telling me I'm an [expletive]. I could say, "Good morning." "What the fuck do you know about morning, Bill Maher? You hate America!" It's hysterical.
On preaching to the choir:
When it comes to politics, people like myself – Jon Stewart, Colbert, whoever is out there giving an opinion – I don't think we really change people's minds. We entertain the people who already agree with us.
On what women really want:
That they are more like you than not like you. Treat her like you would a friend, and you'll wind up with a lover. What women want in a man, more than anything, is authenticity.
On the role drugs should play in a man's life:
I've always believed that if you're going to do drugs, get something out of it. That's why I always felt that cigarettes are the worst drug in the world. I got a lot of good ideas out of the end of a joint. Even liquor – you get loose, you're funnier, and you're thinking of shit. Cigarettes do nothing but make you want more cigarettes.