Memo to Bill Maher: This Is Not Funny

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RETRANSMISSION TO CORRECT BILL MAHER IS ON RIGHT - In this photo provided by HBO, Bill Maher, right, speaks with Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb, during a segment of his "Real Time with Bill Maher," Friday, June 2, 2017. Maher is facing criticism for his use of a racial slur during a discussion with the Republican senator on his HBO talk show Friday night. (Janet Van Ham/HBO via AP)
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Late-night host Bill Maher drew backlash Friday when he said the n-word during a live taping of his HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher.  The comedian used the racial slur during an exchange with Sen. Ben Sasse, after the congressman invited the 61-year-old to visit him in Nebraska.

“You’re welcome,” he said. “We’d love to have you work in the fields with us.” “Work in the fields?” Maher responded sarcastically. “Senator … I’m a house n*****.”

The quip drew a few laughs and several audible groans from Maher’s live audience. Sasse appeared uncomfortable with the joke, but Maher continued with the segment. But on Twitter, the outcry was near immediate. Many users called for the comedian’s show to be canceled, while others pointed out that Maher has a history of toeing the line between comedy and insensitivity toward race and religion.

 

 

 

 

Maher issued a statement Saturday afternoon apologizing for the comment, adding that he lost sleep over the joke. But the comedian has a reputation for making bold and controversial statements about race, religion and politics.

His ABC talk show Politically Incorrect was canceled in 2003 after he agreed with a guest who said the 9/11 terrorists were not cowards. And he recently came under fire for inviting Milo Yiannopoulous to his show, which critics said gave the provocateur a platform to promote his controversial views.

An HBO spokesman Quentin Schaffer called the joke “completely inexcusable and tasteless.” “We are removing his deeply offensive comment from any subsequent airings of the show,” he said.

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