Comedy Legends Shared Their Relationship Secrets on This Week’s “Real Time”

Rob Reiner and Albert Brooks shared tales from their long friendship

November 18, 2023 5:15 am
Bill Maher
Bill Maher's latest episode of "Real Time" found him discussing comedy, social media and more.

Since the end of the WGA strike, Real Time With Bill Maher episodes have led off with an interview that seemingly falls into one of two categories: politicians looking to rally their base and deep dives into the world of comedy. Appearances from Ron DeSantis, Ted Cruz and Dean Phillips fall into the first category; Keegan-Michael Key and Elle Key’s appearance last month fit neatly with the second, as did this week’s appearance of Rob Reiner and Albert Brooks in the show’s main interview spot.

The occasion was a documentary directed by Reiner about Brooks’s career, and if there was an air of corporate synergy to it — like Real Time, Reiner’s film Albert Brooks: Defending My Life is available to watch on HBO — it felt relatively organic. Reiner is a frequent guest on the show, and Maher made his admiration for Brooks clear from the outset, including an appreciative riff on Brooks’s film Modern Romance.

It didn’t hurt that Reiner and Brooks — who have been friends since their high school days — had a terrific rapport. And both men had plenty of stories to tell, including some about the routines a young Brooks would perform for the likes of Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks. Brooks also revealed that his career in comedy took a different form than most, saying, “I never went to a club until I had done five years of national television.”

And if you ever wanted to learn about the time Brooks and Reiner were roommates as young men, they shared plenty of details. “I used to boil an egg to him fucking,” Brooks said of Reiner, then added, “If I roomed with someone who took two hours, I’d probably be thinner.” 

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Dean Phillips’s appearance on “Real Time” continued an interesting trend

Some other notable moments from the episode:

  • In his opening monologue, Maher once again found that reality is more surreal than comedy. “Republicans — they spent the week threatening to beat each other up,” he said. “I’m not making this up.”
  • For the second time this fall, one of Maher’s guests suggested that he should run for office. This week, it was Adam Kinzinger, there to promote his new book Renegade, who said, “There’s nothing new under the sun — unless you run.” 
  • Political strategist Donna Brazile was also part of the episode’s panel and addressed Elon Musk’s recent behavior on social media: “He should get his ass whipped for buying something and turning it into something it’s not.”
  • Kinzinger brought up an interesting line of discussion on the importance of emphasizing positive examples of masculinity; he then contrasted that with writings and comments from Josh Hawley and Donald Trump Jr. 
  • Bill Maher on the elder Donald Trump: “Is he trying to sound like Hitler? No — he just does.”
  • New Rules featured a bit about a smartwatch for monitoring one’s relationship health.
  • Also in New Rules: turns out Maher is unimpressed with the phrases “atmospheric river” and “polar vortex.”
  • That bit also included a joke about a meteorologist named “Mammary Melons.” Is Maher turning into the American Benny Hill before our eyes?
  • Maher clarified his dislike of social media: “Among the worst things social media ever did was, it made everyone feel like they had to weigh in on every controversial issue or breaking news story and, well, that’s my job.”
  • That, in turn, led Maher to call for more people posting, “I don’t know shit about this” about various issues.
  • Maher noted that, due to the writers’ strike, Real Time would do something it doesn’t generally do: namely, air new episodes in December. Following a break next week for Thanksgiving, Real Time will air three new episodes in December.

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