John Waters Joined Bill Maher For a Very Quotable Conversation

The filmmaker’s appearance on “Real Time” covered everything from intimacy coordinators to glory holes

June 1, 2024 3:29 am
John Waters on "Real Time"
John Waters joined Bill Maher for this week's "Real Time."

Thanks to distributor Kino Lorber, there’s now a remastered edition of John Waters’s 1990 film Cry-Baby out on 4K and Blu-ray. This is good news for cinephiles, but it’s also cause for celebration for fans of Waters’s blisteringly candid approach to interviews. It’s a rare interview that Waters doesn’t say something memorable, and chatting with Bill Maher brought out Waters at his most aphoristic.

“I’m an adult delinquent now,” Waters said at one point. Much later, he told Maher, “I’m trying to come up with new perversions.”

Their conversation began with Maher bringing up former president Trump’s recently-concluded criminal trial. “I felt like so many of the details that came out in the trial were perfect for you,” Maher said.

Things took a turn from there, with Waters shifting gears and talking about the subject of glory holes. This included him referencing to a Los Angeles establishment called Basic Plumbing and memorably summarizing the anonymity of the experience: “You didn’t know — when you were in the booth and one came in — who was upstairs.”

Waters also got some laughs by bringing up the idea of an intimacy coordinator on Pink Flamingos. He shared that he hates shooting sex scenes. “I hate filming them,” he said. “It’s embarrassing! I just want to get it over with.”

He later offered a very interesting take on the past. “I feel sorry for young people. They never had crabs,” Waters said. “Our pubic past is something we have to remember. People my age should all get crabs again — for nostalgia!”

Waters returned to the stage for Overtime, where he revealed that he has a Unabomber cabin-themed birdhouse and suggested that Steve Buscemi could go on the road as Waters. The highlight of Waters’s appearance in the segment, though, came when Maher asked Waters what he thought of Elon Musk.

“I don’t think about him that much,” Waters said.

“He’s one of the most important people in the world,” Maher said.

“I know, I know,” Waters replied. “Somehow… I don’t care.” 

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Some other notable moments from the episode: 

  • Bill Maher is now a New York Times bestselling author; as of this writing, his What This Comedian Said Will Shock You is atop the nonfiction list.
  • Maher addressed a certain recently-concluded trial in his opening monologue: “This trial is not really over, because — I can’t believe I’m saying these words — Trump is appealing.”
  • Compared to the episode that aired two weeks ago, the panel this time out covered a lot more ideological ground: Democratic strategist David Axelrod and Republican former Representative Ken Buck. And, sure enough, both staked out relatively disparate positions on multiple issues.
  • Bill Maher: not a fan of the film Civil War. (Though he did concede that the acting was good.)
  • Maher, on the news that another billionaire is attempting to visit the Titanic in a two-person submersible: “There’s got to be an easier way to reduce America’s income inequality, but if it works, it works.”

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