Bill Maher has been a late-night TV staple for years, but he doesn’t consider his HBO show a typical “late night” destination.
Nor does the host of “Club Random” think the late-night “Jimmys” offer much beyond predictable “takes” we see coming a mile away.
That doesn’t mean Maher dislikes the genre, per se. He just thinks it’s as relevant today as the 8-track tape.
The late-night topic came up with guest Jim Gaffigan, the G-rated comedian who suffered a severe case of Trump Derangement Syndrome in recent years. The pair brought up the man responsible for the modern late-night format, legendary “Tonight Show” host Johnny Carson.
“Johnny is who I wanted to be,” Maher said of his early days as a comedian.
That coaxed Gaffigan to explore the current crop of late-night talkers, most of whom have been silenced by the writer’s strike since May 2.
“I love all those guys,” Gaffigan said, taking a diplomatic pose before assessing the genre’s future and kissing the host’s ring.
“In the landscape of late night shows [‘Real Time with Bill Maher’] is the one that hasn’t because the formula of ‘Real Time’ is obviously less of a celebrity interview churn and burn thing. But it hasn’t felt any of the effects of that,” said Gaffigan, meandering to the point in question.
“I think the strike is going to kill the late-night show that we grew up on,” Gaffigan said at last.
“Why the strike?” Maher asked.
“Because it’s off the air,” Gaffigan responded.
“No knock on the guys who do it, but I don’t know how this art form has survived up until now. I understand why I’m on. I’m on HBO. It’s an hour without commercials. And, sorry, but it’s a lot more entertaining, it’s a lot more edgy and it’s a lot more unpredictable and It’s true talk, I get that.
“What I don’t get is this era … what sponsors are sponsoring a show that’s on after most people go to bed in an era when you can do anything at any time. You can watch Netflix … you can watch anything that was ever made or do video games. Even if you wanted to watch this late-night stuff, wouldn’t you watch it sometime when you could zip through the commercials and just see the stuff you like?
“It seems so anachronistic I don’t know how it survived until now,” Maher said.
Gaffigan weakly argued that audiences still enjoy the comic personalities of Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers and company.
“They want to hear Colbert’s take of the day. They want to see–” Gaffigan began.
Maher quickly interrupted.
“It’s not a take. Those guys don’t have takes. I have takes. I have a take on things. What they do is say whatever a liberal audience wants them to say about that. It’s not a take. I’m not saying it’s not sincere. I guess it is on their part … There’s never a moment where you don’t know exactly, ‘well, this is the perfect point of view on that.’ The strike is a perfect example … this strike could go on to the 24th century and they’d stay out.”
Maher waxed on about the strike, revealing the nuances that show how challenging it is to pick sides, let alone winners and losers.
“You’re either for the strike like they’re f***ing Che Guevara or you’re with Trump. There’s no difference, and there’s only two camps,” Maher said of the black-and-white positioning on the matter, which reflects the late-night groupthink.
Maher may be dogmatically liberal, but he routinely pushes past tribal rules to smite his own side. He constantly mocks the woke mind virus, shreds the Left’s “defund the police” narrative and questions elements of the trans community’s agenda.
He even dared to interview Riley Gaines, the celebrated swimmer who famously competed against trans swimmer Lia Thomas.
No current late-night show, save Fox News’ “Gutfeld!” would invite Gaines on their respective couches.