Bill Maher’s Book Tour Came to Bill Maher’s Television Show

This week’s “Real Time” featured an appearance by Jiminy Glick

Bill Maher and Jiminy Glick
Bill Maher was interviewed on this week's "Real Time With Bill Maher."

What happens when a television host known for talking with writers ends up with a new book of their own to promote? “For years, I’ve interviewed authors out here in our one-on-one interview spot,” Bill Maher explained at the outset of this week’s Real Time With Bill Maher. This time around, though, the author in the interviewee’s chair was Maher himself, ostensibly there to promote his new book What This Comedian Said Will Shock You.

Asking the questions this time out was Jiminy Glick, Martin Short’s comedic alter ego who has a long history with Maher. (Maher was the first guest on the first episode of Primetime Glick in 2001.) And the choice of Glick was interesting; clearly, Maher could have brought someone on to interview him in a more straightforward manner. With Glick, though, the results were more like a roast than anything — and for a show where Maher is often presented as the wisest person in the room, this was a big change of pace.

Early in the interview, Glick did a bit about confusing Maher and Bill Burr. Then he corrected his error: “The combo of weed and cheap cologne fighting for dominance should have given it away.”

“My cologne is not cheap,” Maher replied. 

Glick’s barbs continued, including  “I’m used to interviewing celebrities! This is a nice change of pace.” and “Your smile’s like an email from Grandma: all caps.” Later in the interview, Glick mocked some of Maher’s comments about COVID. “I love getting my medical advice from a club act,” Glick said.

There were a few moments where Maher fielded more traditional questions, but even then, Glick’s reactions were designed to be a punchline unto themselves. At one point, Maher gave a very sincere answer about feeling grateful that people were reading the book, only to break down laughing as Glick nodded off. 

By the end of the interview, Maher was laughing to the point of tears. “I’ve got to bring more Kleenex out,” he said. And he did get one good-natured dig back at Glick. “When I was first thinking about becoming a comedian, there was a show on from Canada called SCTV,” Maher said. “Almost everyone in that cast was a genius. Almost.”

Kicking off an episode of your show by subjecting yourself to a series of comedic insults was an interesting choice, though one assumes the real flex there, as the saying goes, is being able to get Martin Short to reprise a long-running character. And Maher himself seemed to love the experience, saying, “That was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen” as the interview drew to a close. 

And then he turned to the episode’s panelists with a daunting request: “Follow that, guys.”

Other notable moments from the episode:

  • Maher on the contrast between the two major-party candidates for President: “That’s the difference between Trump and Biden: it’s an embarrassing video for Biden when he’s not talking.”
  • Former governor Andrew Cuomo and former House member Adam Kinzinger were this evening’s panelists. Maher suggested that both might seek office again, comparing them to a sports commentator with an eye on coaching: “He’s in the booth now, but he’s waiting for that coaching job. It happened with the guy on the Lakers.”
  • It was a little surprising to see Cuomo back on the show after he and Maher had a testy exchange last fall.
  • Maher on Donald Trump’s suggestion that tips not be taxed: “I guess it’s going to go down well at the Spearmint Rhino.”
  • Maher on the 10 Commandments and the prohibitions within it: “It’s a dumb, ancient Bronze Age list. It doesn’t have rape, slavery or child abuse on it.”
  • Maher on the film The Apprentice, which currently has no distributor in the U.S.: “Find a way to release this movie.”
  • In New Rules, Maher discussed generational divides and Boomers getting radicalized. “If you’re my age, you’ve seen friends and loved ones go down a Facebook rabbit hole or sucked into the Fox News vortex and never come back the same,” he said. “Transformed from a normal person into someone who’s hoarding survival seeds.”
  • Another memorable line from the same segment: “We have met the Russian troll-bot army, and it’s your Aunt Bonnie.”

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