|Index||6 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Bill Maher really hits it out of the park with his most recent HBO stand up concert, BILL MAHER: THE DECIDER. I must confess that I tuned in with some reluctance as I am no fan of Maher's HBO series REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER...I find it difficult to get through an entire episode without nodding off. Maher has a rock solid political conscience that is the bedrock of his comedy and I wasn't sure if I was up to listening to him rant about President Bush for 60 minutes;however,thankfully Maher did manage to touch on some other entertaining but still topical subjects. Don't get me wrong... the President took his usual verbal beating from Maher, but other subjects came up as well, like infidelity, teenage abstinence, travel, and the new prescription drug craze ("Did anyone have restless leg syndrome before they came up with a drug for it?"). Maher is an edgy, yet polished stage presence, who, like Jerry Seinfeld, is an extremely skilled wordsmith...the flawless ability to pick the absolute perfect word for each element of a joke,without ever talking "above" or "at" his audience. For those who like their stand-up with a little substance.
Putting aside the obvious side that might come for the die-hard fans of
Bill Maher- or rather those that watch Real Time each week it comes on-
that some of the material present in The Decider was first spoken on
the show, what's most impressive about this special is the flow of one
subject to the next. As with Maher's other specials, particularly
Victory Begins at Home, Maher has a well-rounded point to get at, but
surrounds it cleverly with all of the subjects that need to be there
for his delivery to work.
His task at hand (as if the title weren't a given) is the Bush administration, with W much of the time revealed (shock) as a total incompetent nut-bar who gets talks from God and will have to, according to Maher, walk back to Texas once his term ends. The topics range mostly out to the wretchedly strange obsession with sex in America, with male inadequacies talked at length (it's hilarious to hear a recounting of a thug killer and kidnapper surrender after a ten hour talk down from Ashley Smith, his female kidnapee), and of course bits of info regarding the 'pills' (Rain-dance anyone?). But of course with the republicans in craze over gay marriage as an issue, and the abstinence pledges (this ends up coming back around, some pun intended, with the final tale told of a certain doctor in the administration who wasn't too keen on raping his wife at night (which hole, who knows?)
Maher makes a lot of his timing based around a cynical view of politics (eg Rudy may very well be president), abortion, the environment, and cronyism, and the ultimate clutter-f*** that is Iraq. But so much of it ends up ringing true, not just because of the facts at hand- where else will you hear such stories of the real crock that are the lobbyists of Washington- but because of the sincerity in the approach to the material. A lot of time Maher ends up laughing himself at what he's saying, as if he truly can't believe some of the stuff that's actually happening in this country (watch as he is perpetually embarrassed at the pile of crap that keeps coming with the administration and its 'Decider').
It might seem smarmy on first sight, but seeing Maher perform after a while, even if it's material heard before (he actually did the "seven minutes" bit better in the I'm Swiss special), is getting an audience riled up, and laughing, at stuff that is unbelievable. It is, ultimately, smart topical stand-up of an order that can only be on HBO. One other great one-liner: "A brain-dead woman gave birth to a baby, congrats Britney!"
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Caught The Decider last night and I'm happy to report that Maher hits one outa the park this time. Even if you don't agree with everything he says (and I find myself agreeing with him more and more these days), The Decider is decidedly a winner, with more brilliantly delivered social and political insights than 10 other HBO specials combined. Many genuine laugh-out-loud moments here, the funniest to me being when he riffs about stress, how there is no such thing as a stress-free life, not for humans or even in nature, how even squirrels are constantly stressed out, even when they're having lunch, afraid that some bird will swoop down and get 'em - this doesn't sound that funny on paper, but it works as delivered by Maher, trust me...or rather don't; see this fantastic special for yourself at your earliest possible convenience.
Over the last year I have gotten into Real Time thanks to HBO making it
freely available as a podcast and it has introduced me to Bill Maher.
In my limited experience he is flawed as a political commentator
because he does tend to jump to extremes at times, losing his audience.
Watching his show "Victory Begins at Home" recently he did have the
same sort of problem plus he seemed to struggle with being outraged
pushing his anger to the point of shouting rather than being smart
about it. The Decider is a marked improvement on that show and plays
very much on his strength as an intelligent and informed comedian and
makes for an very funny and very smart hour.
It is a very minor niggle that some of this material he has already done in Real Time, so it is not all new but this is easily covered by the constant flow and really good structure it has. Maher covers a lot of ground but he never breaks his stride and never has a "anyway" style moment where he moves to another topic. In this way his delivery is good but the material itself is also very sharp and funny. He does take the easy targets of course (and there are plenty to be had in the current administration) but he also has lots of detail and illustrations to make his point, informing his audience and reminding us of the failings, not just taking pot shots.
He does still have his faults as a commentator though and personally I found his jokes about paedophilia in poor taste and poor judgement. Yes it is funny but, as with Real Time, there are not always double standards and his opinion is more informed by (a) the belief that boys cannot be sexual taken advantage of by a woman because all they want is sex and (b) a need to shock at some point. This is another minor quibble though because otherwise he is on point for the whole show. Of course those on the political right should just ignore it but I'm pretty sure that goes without saying. Surprisingly camp on stage as well but that is not a complaint, just something that surprised me about him.
The Decider will not play well to those that disagree with it but this is not a problem as it is very unlikely that generational Republican voters in Kentucky will be rushing home to catch a Bill Maher special on HBO. To the supporter though, this will be a great show. Maher pulls in his anger to something more like amazement at the world he lives in and produces smart insights and jokes consistently across a well structured show.
Bill Maher's recent stand up special "The Decider" was well done as Bill still as outspoken as ever continues to tell about things like they are. If anyone watches his HBO series "Real Time with Bill Maher" then you already know he's a liberal democrat and hates President George W. Bush and the right wing republicans. Maher holds true to form with this special as he pokes fun at the intelligence of George W. and says the republicans make stupid policies. He takes a stab at religion and the Iraq war as he mentions examples of the harm they have caused America. And he speaks on domestic and social problems from the airport mess of security to teen sex and he says that people have just common everyday stress and it's natural like nature! Really this may be Maher's best HBO special it was a great focus on both hot political and social issues that are hot button topics, and always Bill puts a truthful and correct insult spin twist on them.
Bill Maher: The Decider (2007)
*** 1/2 (out of 4)
Bill Maher takes his political satire to Boston's Berklee Performance Center for this hour-long special, which originally aired on HBO. If you're a fan of Maher then you're going to know his type of humor and most of it is aimed at politics. There's no question that the majority of jokes here are aimed at George Bush and it leads to some terrific jokes. A great many jokes go over the countless blunders that Bush has suffered and Maher goes and attacks pretty much every one of them. He talks about the issues in Iraq, the problems in New Orleans and he goes into details about some of the possible people to replace him. The majority of the political jokes are extremely funny as Maher takes that politically incorrect nature and attacks on all fronts. The jokes are usually very fast, clever and most important is that they're simply very funny. However, the best jokes come from when Maher gets away from the political chat and just attacks random things. This includes a hilarious bit dealing with beautiful teachers sleeping with their young students. This entire sequence is just priceless and shows Maher at his very best, which leads into another terrific bit questioning how bad what Michael Jackson was doing to kids really was. Fans of Maher should really enjoy this show and even if you don't hate Bush it still comes across very funny.
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|