This Week’s “Real Time” Canceled After Bill Maher Tests Positive for COVID-19

Maher was reportedly asymptomatic

Bill Maher
Bill Maher attends the Los Angeles Premiere of LBJ at ArcLight Hollywood on October 24, 2017.
Vivien Killilea

The total number of people becoming vaccinated against COVID-19 across the country has been steadily climbing throughout the year, which is an unabashedly good thing. But this week has served as a reminder that even vaccination doesn’t necessarily prevent you from contracting COVID-19, with numerous members of the New York Yankees organization testing positive earlier this week. (Seven are asymptomatic.) In a moment of symmetry, a similar diagnosis has affected a onetime owner of the Yankees’ crosstown rivals — and it’s had an impact on the late-night talk show sphere.

At the end of last week’s episode of Real Time With Bill Maher, Maher announced that the show would return this week. That was the plan right up until Thursday, when Maher — who is fully vaccinated — tested positive for COVID-19.

HBO canceled the taping of tonight’s show, which would have featured Neil deGrasse Tyson, Max Brooks and Dan Carlin as guests. As for Maher, he was asymptomatic and “feels fine,” according to a report at The Hollywood Reporter. He posted a message to fans on Twitter thanking them for their support.

“Thanks to all wishing me get well — hard to do since I feel perfectly fine, but I appreciate it!” he wrote. “Most upset about ending my streak going back to 1993 of never missing a Politically Incorrect or Real Time episode. Oh well, even Cal Ripken had to sit one out at some point.”

Given that Maher turned his ongoing quest to power his house using solar panels into a running segment on Real Time, it seems likely that viewers of the show will get to learn plenty about his experience when the show returns to the air.

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