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Bill Maher In Real Time

In town for a new year’s eve show at the Blaisdell Concert Hall, Bill Maher takes on a number of current topics, including why there are no conservative comics

Bill Maher | PH

Bill Maher | Photo by Steve Jennings

Comedian and sociopolitical commentator Bill Maher makes his fourth return to Hawaii for a New Year’s Eve show at Blaisdell Concert Hall. There, he’ll tell a few knock-knock jokes, maybe deliver an amusing anecdote or two about dry cleaning and idly muse about the weather before skulking back into obscurity.

Those of you who watch HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, or are familiar with his earlier panel show Politically Incorrect, his involvement with PETA, or his recent Flip A District Campaign, as well as his polarizing views on religion, know this is far from true. MidWeek caught up with Maher about some recent events as he sharpened his talons for the gig. The interview is as follows (unless this one is pulled as well).

Are you planning to spend a lot of time in the Islands after your show, or is it just fly in, do the show and continue on with your tour?

Oh,no,no.Anytime I go to Hawaii, I’m going to stay for a little while. So, yeah, I’m there for about a week. A couple days in Honolulu, I think four more on Maui. And maybe one more after I finish the show Jan. 1, maybe the next — I have another four or five days — I might go to another island.

Are you planning to meet up with the Obama family while you’re here?

(Just laughs)

For dinner?

Well, only if we run into each other, but there are no actual plans.

OK, because I have his address if you want it.


Is it a tradition for you to work on New Year’s Eve?

I’ve done it the last three years in Honolulu, and I love it. For me, I like working New Year’s Eve because it’s a great forum to review the year. People are looking to do something at 8 o’clock at night, it’s far enough away from the big midnight hour. You can go to a show and then go out to dinner and then go be somewhere for the midnight celebration, which is what we do.

On your show, you mention playing a small role in Sony’s The Interview. Were you affected by the hack?

No, only in the sense that I went to the premiere and realized now I could have got blown up (laughs). But it’s such a shame — it’s such a funny movie. I feel bad for Seth (Rogan) and Jim (James Franco), but you know what? People are going to see it. Now there’s too much curiosity and demand.

(Editor’s note: Two days after this interview, Sony announced it was releasing the film digitally. The film also was released theatrically on Christmas Day.)

Do you feel that Sony acted responsibly by protecting its employees or do you feel that they should have …

No! … And, my gosh, what is this country coming to when an anonymous threat … we don’t even know who it’s from or if they have any means of pulling this off. Are there really that many North Korean agents here in America who have the ability to plant bombs in theaters? I mean, of course there is always a risk of terrorism and crazy people doing (stuff) somewhere in the world, and they are going to do some (stuff) somewhere in the world. The rest of the world just learns how to live with it. They just say, “Yeah, you know what? There’s no guarantees in life.” But you can’t let idle threats that sometimes turn into real threats dictate how you live your life. But, you know, we’ve become such a nation of pants (soilers). (Laughs)

Ideally, what role should comedy play in political and social commentary? Is it strictly entertainment, or do you have higher aspirations for it?

I do. I do, but I would never put that above entertaining. Entertainment has to come first. But they really do go hand-in-hand, and I think people, even if it’s only on an intuitive level, understand that there are certain truths that only can be gotten to, or best gotten to, through comedy.