Just For Laughs Chicago 2013: Day 6 with Bill Maher bringing it all home
Bill Maher at the Chicago Theatre
Just for Laughs didn’t end with a bang, but with a fiery Town Hall Meeting. The Chicago Theatre hosted what was essentially a two-hour long episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, only there were no guests, nor any panel, and not a new rule in sight. It was just Maher, his thousands of fans, and a cart’s worth of politics to divvy up. Granted, this is the city that put the first black president in the White House, so there was zero arguing and endless applauding. Hey, some even stood up to cheer.
“I’m glad I’m still appalling… even to my fans,” Maher said early on, after cracking half a dozen jokes about Sarah Palin (“The least qualified political candidate since Caligula nominated his horse.”) and the Republican party (Home of the “Are you fucking kidding me candidates?”). This is the allure of the HBO gem: he knows no bounds, and he’s constantly pushing any aside. For example, his tirade on Donald Trump: “It’s 1956. Penn State. You see a 10-year-old Donald Trump in the shower with Jerry Sandusky. Do you save… Jerry?!”
As he giggled: “Sometimes I make myself laugh.” True, and it’s impossible not to join him. In an era where our country can’t decide whether it wants to fight for their rights to eat super-sized french fries or automatic handguns, and at a time when the President’s approval rating oscillates up and down, it’s a relief to hear a no bullshit mentality calling out the bullshit. That’s why liberals, independents, libertarians, and anyone else other than Republicans tune in Friday nights on HBO. Maher tries his hardest to Keep it Real, vanquishing the idiocy and tethered racism this country continues to perpetuate.
“I didn’t come here to mock religion and send you away from it,” Maher admitted after dissecting his three reasons for why he’s an atheist. “Oh right, yes I did.” Some might call him smug, others might pull their hair out at his intolerance, but he’s not a man for the people, he’s a man for common sense. If anyone gives a damn about the basic tenets of this country, they’d be apt to take notes and start laughing.
Politics aside, TBS couldn’t have chosen a better headliner for 2013. – Michael Roffman