William Maher (//; born January 20, 1956) is an American comedian, political commentator and television host. He is known for the HBO political talk show Real Time with Bill Maher (2003–present) and the similar late-night show called Politically Incorrect (1993-2002), originally on Comedy Central and later on ABC.
Maher receiving his star on
Hollywood Walk of Fame, September 2010
|Birth name||William Maher|
|Born||January 20, 1956|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Medium||Stand-up comedy, television, film, books|
|Education||Pascack Hills High School|
|Alma mater||Cornell University|
|Genres||Political/news satire, observational comedy, cringe comedy, black comedy, insult comedy, sarcasm|
|Subject(s)||Mass media/news media/media criticism, American politics, American culture, current events, religion, pop culture, race relations, human sexuality|
Maher is known for his sarcastic attitude, political satire and sociopolitical commentary. He targets many topics including religion, politics, bureaucracy, political correctness and the mass media.
Maher supports the legalization of cannabis and same-sex marriage. His critical views of religion were the basis for the 2008 documentary film Religulous. He is a supporter of animal rights, having served on the board of PETA since 1997 and is an advisory board member of Project Reason. In 2005, Maher ranked at number 38 on Comedy Central's 100 greatest stand-up comedians of all time. He received a Hollywood Walk of Fame star on September 14, 2010.
Maher was born in New York City. His father, William Aloysius Maher Jr., was a network news editor and radio announcer, and his mother, Julie Maher (née Berman), was a nurse. He was raised in his Irish-American father's Roman Catholic religion. Until his early teens, he was unaware that his mother, whose family was from Hungary, was Jewish. Owing to his disagreement with the Catholic Church's doctrine about birth control, Maher's father stopped taking Maher and his sister to Catholic church services when Maher was thirteen.
Maher was raised in River Vale, New Jersey, and graduated from Pascack Hills High School in Montvale in 1974. He then attended Cornell University, where he double majored in English and history, and graduated in 1978. Maher has said: "selling pot allowed me to get through college and make enough money to start off in comedy."
Maher began his career as a comedian and actor. He was host of the New York City comedy club Catch a Rising Star in 1979. Maher began appearing on Johnny Carson's and David Letterman's shows in 1982. He made limited television appearances including on Sara (1985), Max Headroom (1987), Murder, She Wrote (1989, 1990), and Charlie Hoover (1991). His feature film debut was in D.C. Cab (1983). He later appeared in Ratboy (1986), House II: The Second Story (1987), Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death (1988), and Pizza Man (1991).
Politically Incorrect with Bill MaherEdit
Maher assumed the host role on Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, a late-night political talk show that ran on Comedy Central from 1993 to 1997 and on ABC from 1997 to 2002. The show regularly began with a topical monologue by Maher preceding the introduction of four guests, usually a diverse group of individuals, such as show business, popular culture, political pundits, political consultants, authors, and occasionally news figures. The group would discuss topical issues selected by Maher, who also participated in the discussions. Jerry Seinfeld, a regular guest on the show, stated that Politically Incorrect reminded him of talk shows from the 1950s and '60s "when guests interacted with each other as much as with the host".
Politically Incorrect won an array of awards, including an Emmy Award for Outstanding Technical Direction, two CableACE awards for Best Talk Show Series, and a Genesis Award for Best Television Talk Show. Maher earned numerous award nominations for his producing, writing, and hosting of Politically Incorrect, including ten Emmy nominations, two TV Guide nominations, and two Writers Guild nominations. ABC decided against renewing Maher's contract for Politically Incorrect in 2002, after he made a controversial on-air remark six days after the September 11 attacks. He agreed with his guest, conservative pundit Dinesh D'Souza, that the 9/11 terrorists did not act in a cowardly manner (in rebuttal to President Bush's statement calling them cowards). Maher said, "We have been the cowards. Lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building. Say what you want about it. Not cowardly. You're right." Maher later clarified that his comment was not anti-military in any way whatsoever, referencing his well-documented longstanding support for the American military. After receiving complaints, FedEx and Sears Roebuck pulled their advertisements from the show, costing the show significant revenue.
Maher's remarks after 9/11 were not the first time he had sparked controversy on Politically Incorrect. In the same year, he expressed his deep regrets and apologized after being widely criticized for comparing his dogs to retarded children. The show was canceled on June 16, 2002, and the Sinclair Broadcast Group had dropped the show from its ABC-affiliated stations months prior. On June 22, 2002, just six days after the cancellation of Politically Incorrect, Maher received the Los Angeles Press Club president's award (for "championing free speech"). Maher was on the board of judges for the 2002 PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award.
Real Time with Bill MaherEdit
In 2003, Maher became the host, co-producer, and co-writer of Real Time with Bill Maher, a weekly hour-long political comedy talk show on the cable television network HBO. In 2016, HBO renewed Real Time through 2018, for its 15th and 16th seasons. During an interview, Maher told Terry Gross (on NPR's Fresh Air) that he much prefers having serious and well-informed guests on his program, as opposed to the random celebrities that fleshed out his roundtable discussions on Politically Incorrect.
As with his previous show, Politically Incorrect, Maher begins Real Time with a comic opening monologue based upon current events and other topical issues. He proceeds to a one-on-one interview with a guest, either in-studio or via satellite. Following the interview, Maher sits with two or three panelists, usually consisting of pundits, authors, activists, actors, politicians, and journalists, for a discussion of the week's events.
Real Time has earned widespread praise. It has been nominated for more than ten Primetime Emmy Awards and six Writer's Guild awards. In 2007, Maher and his co-producers were awarded the Television Producer of the Year Award in Variety Television by the Producers Guild of America. Maher holds the record for the most Emmy nominations without a win, having been nominated on 22 occasions and not winning once. Eleven of the nominations were for Politically Incorrect, while nine were for Real Time. The other two were nominations for two of his HBO comedy specials: I'm Swiss and Bill Maher: The Decider.
Notable responses to Real Time episodesEdit
In late May 2005, Alabama Congressman Spencer Bachus sent a letter to Time Warner's board of directors requesting Real Time be canceled after remarks Maher made after noting the military had missed its recruiting goals by 42 percent. Bachus said he felt the comments were demeaning to the military and treasonous. Maher stated his highest regard and support for the troops and asked why the congressman criticized him instead of doing something about the recruitment problem.
On September 17, 2010, Maher aired a clip of Delaware Republican Senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell from the October 29, 1999 episode of his old show Politically Incorrect on his current show Real Time with Bill Maher, where she mentioned that she had "dabbled in witchcraft". This was one of the most notable of numerous controversial statements by O'Donnell that made her the most covered candidate in the 2010 mid-term election cycle.
In February 2017, Maher invited Milo Yiannopoulos to be interviewed on Real Time. Yiannopoulos accepted, despite protests from some commentators and fans. The appearance on Maher's show harmed Yannopoulos's career due to comments in the interview in which he seemed to express sympathy toward perpetrators of child sexual abuse. In the days following the interview, Yiannopoulos had his invitation to speak before the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference, as well as a book deal with Simon & Schuster, cancelled. Yiannopoulos subsequently resigned as an editor at Breitbart News. When asked whether Yiannopoulos's interview on his show was among the causes of his resignation, Maher concurred, saying, "As I say, sunlight is the best disinfectant. You're welcome." Later in June 2017, Maher came under criticism for saying "I'm a house nigger" on Real Time with calls being made by people to HBO to fire him. Following the episode, HBO sent a statement to media outlets, calling Maher's remarks "inexcusable and tasteless" and said the cable network will remove that segment from future airings of the show. Maher also issued a statement apologizing for the remarks.
Maher is a frequent commentator on various cable news networks, including CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and HLN. Maher has regularly appeared on CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer and has also been a frequent guest on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, The Rachel Maddow Show, and Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Maher has also appeared as a guest on HLN's The Joy Behar Show. He wrote the foreword for the 2002 book, Spin This!: All the Ways We Don't Tell the Truth by show host Bill Press.
Maher hosted the January 13, 2006 edition of Larry King Live, on which he was a frequent guest. Maher appeared as a special guest on the June 29, 2010 edition of the show, on which CNN anchor Larry King announced his retirement. Maher co-emceed the final show of Larry King Live on December 16, 2010 with Ryan Seacrest.
In 2004 Maher appeared on stage as Satan in The Steve Allen Theater production of "Hollywood Hell House", a spoof of the Christian-run hell houses. The show was a faithful reproduction of an evangelistic scare-experience written by Reverend Keenan Roberts to terrify teenagers into declaring themselves Christians. "Our faith is that putting this up as itself, it will hoist itself on its own petard, that it's comical just as it is," explained producer Maggie Rowe. The show featured a rotating cast of over 160 celebrities, including Andy Richter (Jesus), Richard Belzer, Dave Thomas, Traci Lords, Craig Bierko, Sarah Silverman, and Julia Sweeney.
Maher and director Larry Charles teamed up to make the movie Religulous, described by trade publication Variety as a documentary "that spoofs religious extremism across the world". It was released on October 3, 2008.
In 2013 Maher became one of the executive producers for the HBO newsmagazine series Vice. Also in 2013, Maher appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and offered to pay $5 million to a charity if Donald Trump would produce his birth certificate to prove that Trump's mother had not mated with an orangutan. Maher said this reportedly in response to Trump having previously challenged President Barack Obama to produce his birth certificate, and having offered $5 million payable to a charity of Obama's choice if Obama would produce his college applications, transcripts, and passport records.
In response to Maher's offer, Trump produced his birth certificate, and then Trump launched a lawsuit after Maher was not forthcoming, claiming that Maher's $5 million offer was legally binding. "I don't think he was joking", Trump said. "He said it with venom." Trump withdrew his lawsuit against the comedian after eight weeks.
Views and beliefsEdit
Maher eschews political labels, referring to himself as "practical". In the past, he has described himself as a libertarian, and has also referred to himself "as a progressive, as a sane person". He has referred to himself as a "9/11 liberal", noting that his formerly liberal view of Islam changed as a result of the attacks on September 11, 2001, and he differentiates himself from liberals of the opinion that all religions are alike.
Maher favors ending corporate welfare and federal funding of non-profits as well as the legalization of gambling, prostitution, and cannabis. Maher is a member of the advisory boards for both the NORML and Marijuana Policy Project, organizations that support regulated legalization of cannabis, and has been called "one of the brightest torches for sensible marijuana policy" and "a contemporary cannabis statesman".
Maher describes himself as an environmentalist, and he has spoken in favor of the Kyoto treaty on global warming on his show Real Time. He often criticizes industry figures involved in environmental pollution. He is a board member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The comedian has noted the paradox of people claiming they distrusted "elite" politicians while at the same time wanting elite doctors to treat them and elite lawyers to represent them in court. Maher supports the death penalty.
Since the 9/11 attacks, he has endorsed certain uses of profiling at airports, saying that "Places like Israel, where they have faced terrorism for a long time, of course understand that profiling is part of all detective work. It's part of all police work. If they stop calling it profiling and start calling it high-intelligence screening or something, people would go, it's about time."
He opposed the Iraq War from the beginning, and has summarized his opinion by saying that the United States and the world have had to pay too high a price for the war. He is skeptical of Iraq surviving without civil war.
In the 2008 U.S. presidential election, Maher announced his support for U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL). Although Maher welcomed Obama's electoral victory, he subjected him to criticism after he took office for not acting more boldly on health care reform and other progressive issues.
On the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, Maher says he is "more on the side of the Israelis" and doesn't consider both sides equally guilty. He acknowledges that "Palestinians do have gripes", and he has been critical of U.S. financial aid to Israel, saying "they don't need our money, they can handle it themselves." Maher also notes that most Israelis would prefer a two-state solution and oppose the hard-line stance of their Israeli government, which he describes as having been taken over by their version of the Tea Party. However, Maher has defended Israel's military actions against Palestinian militants amid criticism over civilian deaths and disproportionate casualty count between Israelis and Palestinians during the 2014 Gaza war. He argues that Israel is still showing restraint, and he finds it ironic that the same people who were incredulous over how the Jews in World War II were led "to their slaughter", can't understand why they are defending themselves now.
Maher is a gun owner, and explained in his February 12, 2013 appearance on the late night TV talk show Conan that he owns guns for personal home protection. However, he does not identify himself as a "proud" gun owner, commenting that being a proud gun owner is akin to "saying I'm a 'proud remote control owner'". Maher has stated that statistics showing that gun owners are more likely to harm a member of their household are caused by irresponsible gun owners, and believes that tragedies such as school shootings will not lead to fundamental change in gun laws because both Democrats and Republicans favor guns.
On June 7, 2013, Bill Maher expressed on his show limited support for the NSA's PRISM intelligence data collection from private phone calls and the Internet, saying that the threat of terrorists obtaining and using nuclear weapons was the tipping point for him. While he stated that he trusted the Obama administration to employ the program responsibly, he described the NSA's access to private data as a "slippery slope", and worried about whether other politicians would be as responsible.
In the leadup to the 2014 midterm elections, Maher conducted a "Flip a District" contest on his HBO show. His audience was asked to select one "terrible, entrenched" member of Congress in a close election race—"the loserest loser of all"—to remove from office. Maher aimed to help oust that representative by shining a "national spotlight" on the politician during segments of his show and stand-up comedy appearances in that member's district during the Fall election.
Maher endorsed a 2014 Maine referendum to ban the use of bait, traps, and dogs to hunt bears in Maine. He specifically criticized the use of bait, referring to its use as "nothing but an execution".
In the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Maher initially endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders on February 5, 2016. Maher later announced his support for Hillary Clinton after Sanders had lost the Democratic Party primary elections. In October 2016, Maher criticized WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for publishing leaks from the DNC's emails, saying: "I really feel like he's lost his way a little, and he hates Hillary."
Maher is highly critical of all religion and views it as highly destructive. He has been described, or self-identified, variously as an agnostic, atheist, and apatheist, while objecting to having his views defined by a single label. In his 2008 feature film Religulous, he refers to himself as agnostic. He has rejected being grouped with explicit atheists, saying in 2002, "I'm not an atheist. There's a really big difference between an atheist and someone who just doesn't believe in religion. Religion to me is a bureaucracy between man and God that I don't need, but I'm not an atheist, no." Maher has also occasionally referred to himself as an apatheist, saying in 2011 "I don't know what happens when you die, and I don't care." When discussing his apatheism and his views on the existence of God, he said on a scale from 1 to 7 (7 being "absolutely certain there is no god"), he was only at 6.9, like Richard Dawkins, "because we just don't know ... but we just don't think about it." He added, "There's atheist and there's agnostic, and I'm okay with us not splitting the difference on those; if you are just not a super-religious person, you are on my team." Several months later on a 2012 episode of his HBO show, Maher declared that "idiots must stop claiming that atheism is a religion. [...] believe it or not, I don't really enjoy talking about religion all the time. In fact, not only is atheism not a religion, it's not even my hobby, and that's the best thing about being an atheist. It requires so little of your time." He has reiterated his stance during other interviews, rejecting both the certitude of the existence, as well as the certitude of nonexistence of deities, concluding, "I'm saying that doubt is the only appropriate response for human beings."
While critical of all organized religions, saying "they're all stupid and dangerous", Maher says all religions are not alike, and has drawn comparisons and contrasts between them. He has said, "By any standard, Mormonism is more ridiculous than any other religion." He has referred to tenets of Judaism as "insane" and "funny", and has said Buddhism "includes crazy whack shit that doesn't exist, that somebody made up, like reincarnation". He has described Christianity and Islam as more "warlike", and has asserted that, like historic Christianity, present-day Islam needs to undergo its own reformation and enlightenment.
In defense of his criticism of Islam, Sharia law and Muslim culture, Maher says he is "... someone who believes in the values that Western people believe in that a lot of the Muslim world does not. Like separation of church and state. Like equality of the sexes. Like respect for minorities, free elections, free speech, freedom to gather. These things are not just different from cultures that don't have them.... It's better ... I would like to keep those values here." Citing studies and poll results by Pew Research Center, the World Economic Forum and others, Maher says the human rights violations and "illiberal ideas" found in Islam are not extremist views held by a small minority, but are supported by a majority of citizens in Muslim countries. Maher has criticized liberals as hypocritical for defending these core liberal values and ideals only at home, while not condemning the oppression of these values and groups in Muslim culture. Regarding the more recent publicity generated by his stance in the ongoing debate, Maher says he thinks people are finally paying closer attention to a conversation that they need to have. "I'm just shining a light on the reality of the situation. I don't even understand why this is so controversial."
Maher received the 2009 Richard Dawkins Award from Atheist Alliance International. He is an advisory board member of author Sam Harris's Project Reason, a foundation that promotes scientific knowledge and secular values within society.
Maher has stated that the American Medical Association is a powerful lobbying group and one of the primary reasons why the United States had failed to enact health care reform. On the topic of getting health care reform legislation passed, Maher stated that Obama should forget about trying to get 60 votes for it, "he only needs 51." "Forget getting the sixty votes or sixty percent—sixty percent of people don't believe in evolution in this country—he just needs to drag them to it, like I said, they're stupid; get health care done, with or without them." On Fox News in a televised debate with Bill O'Reilly, Maher said that "if Jesus was in charge of the country we'd probably have health care for everybody."
Maher has expressed the view that a lot of illness is the result of poor diet and lack of exercise, and that medicine is often not the most appropriate way of addressing illness. In an episode of his show about the 2008 presidential candidates' health plans, Maher stated that poor nutrition is a primary cause of illness, and that "the answer isn't another pill." He also has said: "If you believe you need to take all the pills the pharmaceutical industry says you do, then you're already on drugs!" He has expressed his distaste for the pharmaceutical and health care industries in general, on the grounds that they make their money out of treating people who are made sick by consuming unhealthy food that corporations urge upon the public. He maintains that mass consumption of high-fructose corn syrup is a contributor to the rise in frequency of obesity in the United States.
In a discussion with Michael Moore about the film Sicko, Maher said, "The human body is pretty amazing; it doesn't get sick, usually, for no reason. I mean, there's some genetic stuff that can get to you, but, basically, people are sick in this country because they're poisoned. The environment is a poisoning factor, but also, we gotta say, they poison themselves. They eat shit. People eat shit, and that's, to my way of thinking, about 90 percent of why people are sick, is because they eat shit."
Tara Parker-Pope and former Senator (R-TN) Dr. Bill Frist, a physician, have called his criticism of the H1N1 flu vaccinations unscientific. Infectious diseases expert Paul Offit has written that misinformation about vaccines from celebrities like Maher has put children at unnecessary risk. Offit says that celebrities like Maher are seen as "less credible" and would still be considered just "great entertainment" if they weren't joined by the former Director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Bernadine Healy and influential pediatrician, Dr. Robert Sears.
Oncologist David Gorski criticized Maher's claims about vaccines several times in ScienceBlogs, and when Maher received the Richard Dawkins Award in 2009, Gorski wrote it was inappropriate. Skeptics, including mathematician and science writer Martin Gardner, neurologist Steven Novella, and magician Jamy Ian Swiss have also strongly rebuked Maher, characterizing him as anti-science, uninformed and potentially endangering the health of fans who take his "non-medical" advice. Maher responded to the criticism, saying, "What I've read about what they think I'm saying is not what I've said. I'm not a germ theory denier. I believe vaccinations can work. Polio is a good example. Do I think in certain situations that inoculating Third World children against malaria or diphtheria, or whatever, is right? Of course. In a situation like that, the benefits outweigh costs. But to me living in Los Angeles? To get a flu shot? No."
Views on 9/11 conspiracy theoriesEdit
Maher has been a critic of 9/11 conspiracy theories. On October 19, 2007, Maher confronted several 9/11 truthers and had them ejected from his show audience after they interrupted the live show numerous times by calling out from the audience. The incident drew significant media attention and praise from Fox News talk show host and frequent critic John Gibson.
Supreme Court: Brett Kavanaugh controversyEdit
Amid the controversy over embattled jurist Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court, Maher stated on an episode of Real Time with Bill Maher of the never married United States Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)'s defense of Kavanaugh that "Trump can either find people like him or make him … Lindsey Graham needs the stabilizing influence of his dead boyfriend" (in reference to the late U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who died on August 25, 2018). Maher called Graham's outspoken support for Kavanaugh as a “performance”, claiming that Graham might be eyeing a cabinet position in the Trump administration. CNN television personality April Ryan, who was present, agreed with Maher.
Maher has said his influences include Johnny Carson, Robert Klein, Lenny Bruce, Steve Allen, Mort Sahl, and George Carlin. Comedians who have said they were influenced by Maher are Chris Rock and Seth MacFarlane.
Maher has never married. Regarding marriage, Maher is quoted on his website as saying, "I'm the last of my guy friends to have never gotten married, and their wives—they don't want them playing with me. I'm like the escaped slave—I bring news of freedom."
In 2003, he began dating former Playboy Cyber Girl Coco Johnsen. In November 2004, at the end of their 17-month relationship, Johnsen sued Maher for US$9 million for "pain and suffering" for alleged "insulting, humiliating and degrading racial comments". Her suit stated that Maher promised to marry her and father her children, support her financially and buy a house in Beverly Hills. Johnsen's suit also alleged that she quit her job as a flight attendant and occasional model to be with him. Maher's lawyers in their response, filed on November 23, 2004, in Los Angeles Superior Court said Maher is a "confirmed bachelor, and a very public one at that" who "never promised to marry [Johnsen] or to have children with her". Maher's filing stated that, after the relationship had ended, Johnsen "launched a campaign to embarrass, humiliate, and extort ridiculous sums of money from Bill Maher". Johnsen had previously accused another former boyfriend of rape and kidnapping in 1997, and the charges were later dismissed for lack of evidence. The lawsuit was dismissed on May 2, 2005.
When commentators suggested there was a pattern to his dating because both his girlfriend and former girlfriend were black, Maher said, "People say I'm into black women. Robert De Niro is into black women. I'm just into women who are real, and they happen to be black." From 2009-11, Maher dated former adjunct professor, science educator, and current Skeptics' Guide to the Universe co-host Cara Santa Maria. In 2014, Maher was dating Ontario-born singer Anjulie Persaud.
- True Story: A Novel, 1994 (ISBN 0-7432-4251-3)
- Does Anybody Have a Problem With That? Politically Incorrect's Greatest Hits, 1996 (ISBN 0-679-45627-9)
- Does Anybody Have a Problem with That? The Best of Politically Incorrect, 1997 (ISBN 0-345-41281-8)
- When You Ride Alone You Ride With Bin Laden: What the Government Should Be Telling Us to Help Fight the War on Terrorism, 2003 (ISBN 1-893224-90-2)
- Keep the Statue of Liberty Closed: The New Rules, 2004 (ISBN 1-932407-47-2)
- New Rules: Polite Musings from a Timid Observer, 2005 (ISBN 1-59486-295-8)
- The New New Rules: A Funny Look at How Everybody but Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass, 2011 (ISBN 0-39915-841-3)
|1987||House II: The Second Story||John|
|1988||Out of Time||Maxwell Taylor|
|1989||Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death||Jim|
|1991||Pizza Man||Elmo Bunn|
|1996||Don't Quit Your Day Job!||Comic's Table|
|1997||Bimbo Movie Bash||Unknown|
|2001||The Party's Over||Himself|
|2003||Pauly Shore Is Dead||Himself|
|Inside Deep Throat||Himself|
|2009||New Rules: Best of||Himself|
|2010||Sex, Drugs & Religion||Himself (stock footage)|
|2013||Iron Man 3||Himself|
|2014||A Million Ways to Die in the West||Comic|
|1995||Stuff that Struck Me Funny||Himself|
|1997||The Golden Goose Special||Himself|
|2000||Be More Cynical||Himself|
|2003||Victory Begins at Home||Himself|
|2010||But I'm Not Wrong||Himself|
|2014||Live From D.C.||Himself|
|2018||Live from Oklahoma||Himself|
|2012||Crazy Stupid Politics (Yahoo!)||Himself|
|2016||#WhinyLittleBitch (Facebook Live)||Himself|
|1985||Alice||Officer Gary Conroy|
|1987||Rags to Riches||Freddie|
|1989–90||Murder, She Wrote||Rick Rivers/Frank Albertson|
|1989||One Night Stand||Himself|
|1990||The Midnight Hour||Host|
|One Night Stand||Himself|
|1993||Married... with Children||Adam Gold|
|The Jackie Thomas Show||Mr. Lorre|
|1997||The Larry Sanders Show||Himself|
|Dharma & Greg||Himself|
|2000||The Chris Rock Show||Himself|
|2002||Son of the Beach||Himself|
|2003–present||Real Time with Bill Maher||Host|
|2010||The Sarah Silverman Program||Himself|
|2010, 2013||Family Guy||Himself|
|2012||The Good Wife||Himself|
|2013||House of Cards||Himself|
- Stated on Finding Your Roots, January 12, 2016, PBS; on a series that lists "Jr." and "Sr." distinctions, Bill Maher's birth name was listed simply as William Maher, while his father was William Aloysius Maher Jr., and his paternal grandfather was William Aloysius Maher Sr.
- "Bill Maher Biography". Film Reference. Archived from the original on January 8, 2008. Retrieved January 17, 2008.
- True, Cynthia (2002). American Scream: The Bill Hicks Story. HarperCollins. p. 87. ISBN 9780380803774.
- "Political Satirist Bill Maher's 'New Rules'". NPR. Archived from the original on February 19, 2011. Retrieved January 23, 2011.
- US Weekly Staff (January 23, 2015). "Bill Maher: 25 Things You Don't Know About Me". Us Weekly.
- "Interview with Larry King, 9-28-03". CNN.
Larry, I'm a PETA board member.
- The Reason Project; Project Reason.org; 2011
- ""Comedy Central's Top 100"". Archived from the original on April 4, 2005. Retrieved 2005-04-04.. Comedy Central. April 4, 2005
- "Bill Maher gets Hollywood Walk of Fame star, September 14, 2010". USA Today. September 14, 2010.
- "Bill Maher". Dead-Frog. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
Part Hungarian part Irish...
- "Interview With Bill Maher". CNN. May 24, 2002. Retrieved January 17, 2008.
My mother is Jewish. But I never even knew I was half-Jewish until I was a teen-ager.
- Carlin-McCall, Kelly (November–December 2008). "The Real Bill". Irish America magazine. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
So the fact that I'm half Irish and half Jewish, they both contributed to a sense of humor.
- Morgan, Piers (July 2011). "Bill Maher explains his 'apatheism,' apathetic atheism". CNN. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
... and I was raised Catholic. I was never Jewish
- "Getting Blasphemous in the Presence of Bill Maher". Media.www.diamondbackonline.com. Archived from the original on 2008-12-21. Retrieved October 18, 2010.
- Bill Maher: How did I get here?; Bloomberg BusinessWeek; September 5, 2013; Real Life with Bill Maher, November 7, 2014.
- "Entertainment; Ivy League Celebrities". Comcast.net. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
- Bill Maher - Hollywood Star Walk; Los Angeles Times; Patrick Kevin Day; September 13, 2010
- "Bill Maher Filmography". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2015-06-20.
- Science Fiction, Horror & Fantasy Film and Television Credits: Television shows; Harris M. Lentz; McFarland Publishing, 2001; Pg. 1944
- Carter, Bill (February 27, 1994). "TELEVISION; Lots of Political Humor, and No Morton Kondracke". The New York Times. Retrieved August 9, 2010.
- "The Big Story: Politically Incorrect". Archived from the original on July 13, 2007. Retrieved June 19, 2007.
- Goldberg, Danny (2002). It's a Free Country: Personal Freedom in America After September 11. RDV Books. p. 77. ISBN 0-9719206-0-5.
- Garofoli, Joe. "Talk host's towering rant: S.F. not worth saving". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on November 2, 2007. Retrieved October 9, 2007.
- Navasky, Victor. "Profiles in Cowardice". The Nation. Archived from the original on June 30, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2007.
- Sayre, Shay; King, Cynthia (2010). Entertainment and Society: Influences, Impacts, and Innovations (2 ed.). Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9780203882931. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
- "TV Host's Words Draw Criticism and Apology". The New York Times. January 18, 2001. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
- Siems, Larry (April 11, 2002). "Vanessa Leggett to receive 2002 PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award", Pen American Center; accessed September 30, 2018.
- Prudom, Laura (30 July 2016). "'Real Time With Bill Maher' Renewed Through 2018". Variety. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
- "Bill Maher: Four More Years". NPR. February 8, 2005. Retrieved August 9, 2010.
- Producers Guild of America Awards – Winners 1990-2010; PGA.org; May 29, 2012
- "Gold Derby". Los Angeles Times. July 20, 2009.
- "Bill Maher's Remark About Army 'Borders on Treason,' Lawmaker Says – Celebrity Gossip". FOX News. May 23, 2005. Retrieved October 18, 2010.
- McGreal, Chris (September 20, 2010). "Christine O'Donnell: I dabbled in witchcraft". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on September 22, 2010. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
- Sragow, Michael. "Bill Maher celebrates the art of standup". The Baltimore Sun.
- The Midterms' Media Mainstays | Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ)
- Ken Tucker. "Christine O'Donnell, witchcraft, and Bill Maher: TV and politics put a hex on common sense". Entertainment Weekly.
- Itzkoff, Dave (February 22, 2017). "Bill Maher, Faulted for Booking Milo Yiannopoulos, Takes Credit for His Fall". The New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
- Pengelly, Martin (June 3, 2017). "Bill Maher sorry for use of N-word as HBO calls it 'inexcusable and tasteless'". The Guardian.
- Phillips, Kristine; Phillips, Kristine (June 3, 2017). "Bill Maher says he is 'very sorry' for using a racial slur on his HBO show". washingtonpost.com.
- Robyn Ross. "Bill Maher: Zach Galifianakis Did Not Light Up a Real Joint". TV Guide.
- "Bill Maher plays Hardball". MSN.
- "Arianna Hosts The Rachel Maddow Show with Guests Bill Maher, Lawrence O'Donnell, Nate Silver, Cory Booker and Google's Eric Schmidt". The Huffington Post. December 18, 2008.
- "Maher on Countdown with Keith Olbermann (video)". MSNBC. January 21, 2011. Archived from the original on November 6, 2011. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
- "Bill Maher spends some real time with Joy". CNN. Archived from the original on 2010-10-02.
- Spin This!: All the Ways We Don't Tell the Truth; Bill Press; Simon & Schuster; 2002; Pg. xi
- "Bill Maher helps Larry King say goodbye". Mediaite. Archived from the original on July 6, 2010. Retrieved August 9, 2010.
- Rowe, Douglas J. (December 16, 2010). "Surrounded by Famous Fans, Larry King Ends His 25-Year Run on CNN". TV Guide. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
- Heffley, Lynne (August 22, 2004). "Scared straight to Hollywood" – via LA Times.
- Demara, Bruce. (September 10, 2007.) "Maher preaches to the TIFF choir". The Toronto Star. Retrieved on October 9, 2007.
- Jaafar, Ali; Hayes, Dade (September 10, 2007.) "Toronto festival wary of serious films: 'Religulous' finds following at film fest". Variety. Retrieved on October 9, 2007.
- Nededog, Jehtro (May 10, 2012). "HBO, Bill Maher Team With Vice for Newsmagazine". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Hinckley, David (April 5, 2013). "TV review: 'Vice' on HBO". Daily News.
- Allen, Michael E. (February 6, 2013). "Donald Trump Sues Bill Maher for Calling Him the Son of an Orangutan". Forbes. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
- Lee, Kristen A. (November 1, 2012). "Trump puts kibosh on $5M offer to Obama". Daily News. New York. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
- Ax, Joseph (April 3, 2013). "Trump withdraws 'orangutan' lawsuit against comic Bill Maher". Reuters. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
- "Real Time with Bill Maher: Overtime – May 13, 2016 (HBO)". May 13, 2016.
- Martel, Frances (July 11, 2011). "Bill Maher To Piers Morgan: I Hope Sarah Palin And Michele Bachmann 'Split the MILF Vote'". Mediaite. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
- Rutenberg, Jim. (October 8, 2001.) "Bill Maher still secure in ABC slot, at least now". The New York Times.
- "Maher slams 2012 GOP presidential field (video)". CNN. July 16, 2010.
- Dyess-Nugent, Phil; Kaiser, Rowan; O'Neal, Sean; Sims, David (September 11, 2013) "Never forgot: 9 entertainers who were changed by 9/11". The A.V. Club.
- "NORML Advisory Board". National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
- "MPP Advisory Board". Marijuana Policy Project. Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
- "Weed Time With Bill Maher". The Huffington Post. 2014-04-11. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
- Halem, Dann. (August 1, 2001.) "Is Bill Maher a libertarian?" Archived November 30, 2005, at the Wayback Machine., Salon (news website). Retrieved on October 12, 2007.
- "Say it loud: I'm elite and proud!" Salon; April 13, 2007
- Larry King Live – Transcript; CNN; December 15, 2005
- (2002-12-16 broadcast.) "CNN American Morning with Paula Zahn: Talk with Bill Maher" (Transcript) (Caveat: "This is a rush transcript."); retrieved on October 12, 2007.
- Modell, Josh. "Bill Maher | Film | Interview". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on September 14, 2010. Retrieved October 18, 2010.
- "Ear to the Ground – Down to the Wire". Truthdig. Retrieved October 18, 2010.
- Baram, Marcus (June 15, 2009). "Bill Maher Tells Olbermann Why He's Criticizing Obama". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- "CrazyStupidPolitics: Bill Maher Live on Yahoo! Screen". Screen.yahoo.com. 2011-04-20. Archived from the original on February 24, 2012.
- @billmaher (February 23, 2012). "Tweet by Bill Maher" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Berrin, Danielle (November 29, 2012). "Bill Maher on Israel, uncut and uncensored", The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.
- Bill Maher Defends Israel Again: 'People Die in Wars, Mediaite, August 1, 2014
- "The Walls Have Ears, and Other Side Effects of This Medication". Conan. Season 3. Episode 45. February 12, 2013. TBS.
- Garcia, Arturo (June 7, 2013). "Maher defends NSA data searches: It's not because I'm brave, but because I'm scared". The Raw Story.
- Maher Wants His Show to Decide a House Race; New York Times; Bill Carter; January 30, 2014.
- Flip a District; Real Time with Bill Maher; June 3, 2014.
- "Famous talk show host Bill Maher endorses referendum to ban bear baiting". Bangor Daily News. September 15, 2014. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
- "Bill Maher: 'I'm With Her' or 'I'm With Stupid'". The Observer, July 29, 2016.
- "Bill Maher and Michael Moore Turn on Julian Assange: 'I Feel Like He's Drifted'", The Daily Beast, October 29, 2016.
- Holden, Stephen (September 30, 2008). "Believers, Skeptics and a Pool of Sitting Ducks", The New York Times
- Thompson, Stephen (October 9, 2002). "Is There a God?". The A.V. Club.
- "Bill Maher explains his 'apatheism,' apathetic atheism". CNN Belief Blogs, July 12, 2011.
- HBO: Real Time with Bill Maher; Episode 236 – New Rules; Home Box Office; February 3, 2012
- "Bill Maher: The God Botherer". The Sunday Times April 1, 2009.
- Bill Maher on Paris massacre: 'There are no great religions — they’re all stupid and dangerous'; Raw Story; January 8, 2015
- Schwarwtz, Ian (September 23, 2012). "Bill Maher On Islam: 'All Religions Are Not Alike'". RealClearPolitics.
- Walker, Joseph (January 8, 2012). "Group lists Top Ten Anti-Mormon Statements of 2011". Deseret News.
- Kohn, Sally (December 2014). "Petition All You Want, Bill Maher Will Speak at Berkeley". Vanity Fair. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
- "Bill Maher Stands By Mohammed Remarks: 'I Don't Need To Apologize For Being A Proud Westerner'". Mediaite. November 1, 2010. Retrieved March 13, 2011.
- Sasson, Eric (9 October 2014). "Yes, Bill Maher Is Boorish. But We Shouldn't Be Afraid to Criticize Islam". The New Republic.
- Timonen, Josh (September 28, 2009). "A note about the 'Richard Dawkins Award' being presented to Bill Maher this weekend". The Richard Dawkins Foundation. Archived June 23, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
- (2009-06-15). on YouTube.[dead link] Countdown With Keith Olbermann. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- Countdown With Keith Olbermann; MSNBC; June 15, 2009
- Bill Maher Part 2. The Tonight Show. Archived from the original on August 30, 2009. Retrieved October 18, 2010.
- Davis, Glenn (September 30, 2010). "Bill Maher On The Factor, Part II: The Two Bills Clash On Religion". Mediaite. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
- Real Time with Bill Maher; September 28, 2007; HBO
- "Home". WINHS, World Institute of Natural Health Sciences. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
- Larry King Live – Interview With Bill Maher; CNN; September 13, 2004
- Kerry Trueman, Maher and Moore Chew (Out) the Fat; The Huffington Post; May 30, 2007.
- Parker-Pope, Tara (October 13, 2009). "Bill Maher vs. the Flu Vaccine". The New York Times. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
- Offit, Paul. Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens us all. Basic Books. pp. 168–171.
- Gorski, David. "Bill Maher gets the Richard Dawkins Award? That's like Jenny McCarthy getting an award for public health". ScienceBlogs. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- Gardner, Martin. "Bill Maher: Crank and Comic". CSICOP. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- Novella, Steven (September 23, 2009). Podcast 218. The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe. Archived from the original on December 10, 2012. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- Swiss, Jamy Ian. "Overlapping Magisteria". JREF. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- Slotek, Jim (October 28, 2009). "Needling Bill Maher". Winnipeg Sun.
- "Hat's Off to Bill Maher". Fox News. October 22, 2007. Archived from the original on December 25, 2007. Retrieved January 17, 2008.
- "Bill Maher attacks Lindsey Graham for defending Kavanaugh, says senator needs 'his dead boyfriend' John McCain", foxnews.com; accessed September 30, 2018.
- Scott Hudson (September 10, 2015). "Bill Maher: 'What's good for comedy is bad for America'". Argus Leader. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
- Henry Edward Hardy (January 25, 2007). "Comedian Bill Maher talks about Steve Allen, Lenny Bruce, Condi Rice, 9/11". Scanlyze. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
- "Mort Sahl - Honors". Mort Sahl official website. January 25, 2007. Archived from the original on March 22, 2016. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
- "episode 38". Real Time with Bill Maher. Season 2. Episode 18. October 1, 2004. HBO.
- "Chris Rock Talks to Frank Rich About Ferguson, Cosby, and What 'Racial Progress' Really Means". Vulture.com. November 30, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
- "Bill Maher Interviews Seth MacFarlane On CNN, Talks 'Family Guy' Raunch & Animation (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. June 2, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
- "Clips From Last Night: Bill Maher on why he's never been married... and American innovation". Piers Morgan Live. CNN. July 12, 2011.
- "Side Dish: Bill Maher is so in love, he may even break his biggest rule—get married!", New York Daily News, October 26, 2009.
- "About: Bill Maher biography". billmaher.com. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- "Bill Maher Hit With Palimony Suit". Archived from the original on December 21, 2008. Retrieved January 3, 2009.
- Lehner, Marla (2004-11-29). "Bill Maher: Ex-Girlfriend Is a Con Artist - Bill Maher". People. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
- "Maher: Ex Is Serial Shakedown Artist". The Smoking Gun. November 29, 2004.
- "The Fix", Salon, November 30, 2004.
- Keller, Julie (November 30, 2004). "Bill Maher Cries 'Con'". E!.
- Hagan, Joe (April 9, 2012). "It Won't Hurt You. It's Vapor." New York Magazine, pg. 6.
- "Judge Dismisses $9M Lawsuit Against Bill Maher". Fox News/Associated Press. May 4, 2005.
- Calhoune, Sandra. "Plot Summary of Confessions of A Video Vixen". Archived from the original on December 5, 2008. Retrieved January 8, 2009.
- "Bill Maher – Smart, Snide, Still Single". Archived from the original on November 8, 2005. Retrieved January 3, 2009.
- A Bawdy Lifestyle, and How to Shake It Washington Post; July 28, 2005
- "Bill Maher & Cara Santa Maria Split", InTouch Weekly, March 21, 2011. Archived September 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- Kennedy, John (March 22, 2014). "Bill Maher supports Rob Ford". Global News. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
- Rubin, Adam. "Bill Maher owns stake in Mets". ESPN New York. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
- "HBO Comedy Hour:".