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In this special with Bill Maher, the political commentator and satirist discusses midterm elections, income inequality, the Republican psyche, a Trump lawsuit, why the Pope is an atheist and why tattoos are stupid.
Patrick Moran Donovan,
Some very strong lines and a friendly crowd help Maher as he does his standard amusing material
Many times during this show Bill Maher says "it's not a rally" as a sort of "quiet down" to the crowd who are responding to him hitting out at Republicans, Bush, Palin or some other topic that serves to excite his fans. Whether he is right or not is up for debate but certainly he is helped by a friendly crowd because, as he observes, all he has to do is crack an old Sarah Palin joke and they roar for a good minute. I say he is helped because for a good chunk of this show there is material that those same people will have seen on Real Time, so their laughter helps him carry over the familiarity of the material and perhaps, like Real Time, a friendly crowd helps the viewer at home get into it a bit more.
Personally I stopped watching Real Time on the last season break because I just found that 9 times out of 10 it was far from the discussion programme that I found it to be when I started watching it. However Bill Maher does work better on a stage where he doesn't have to pretend to listen to people and can just dominate, like he does on Real Time, but at least here it doesn't hurt the show but is rather the whole deal. He is on good form here even though he is very much putting out the same material that he has on other places. I did laugh several times though and he did have some killer lines that showed edge and imagination the best by a million miles being his comment on the topic of Obama being popular that Republicans can also fill a stadium (I'll not ruin the gag by typing it here).
These laughs are necessary because otherwise he does rather hammer the same old points in a way that is amusing but not particularly funny. The reason for this is that he is just forcing his rather simple opinion down the throats of those who already agree with them. It is a shame that he does this because he is a funny guy with a good presence on the stage but his material is lacking at times and his friendly crowd is very necessary. Fans of his will love it while causal viewers such as myself will find some strong laughs amongst the "so-so" ones. Not a great show but a solid one and to be honest, Maher is at his best when he doesn't have to allow anyone else to get a word in.
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