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A late night Political Programmes that airs on HBO. The show generally follows a rather simple pattern. It opens with Maher performing some kind of humorous monologue on different topics for around ten minutes. This is followed by him interviewing an individual for ten to fifteen minutes. The show gets into deeper political commentary when he moves onto the panel. The panel is composed of (normally) three individuals: one of these individuals is a liberal, one a conservative, and the other is a wildcard (generally an entertainer of some sorts, but increasingly people who don't fall into the political spectrum, such as reporters or people involved in international politics). The panel will discuss certain issues that are brought up by Maher, with Maher leading the discussion. Sometimes Maher will bring on a fourth guest halfway through who is almost always an entertainer promoting a new project of theirs. The show ends with a five or so minute segment called New Rules, where Maher effectively monologues on issues, with a picture and text caption to describe the issue. The final segment of New Rules generally leads into a longer and more serious statement on the issue (or any other issue that is related).
Real Time with Bill Maher contains examples of:
- Analogy Backfire: Bill mimicking sarcastic anti-government questions before answering them with a Blunt Yes.
Bill: I mean, how stupid is it when people say "oh that's what we need, the federal government telling Detroit how to make cars, or Wells Fargo how to run a bank, you want them to look like the post office?"
Bill: Yeah. I mean, a place that take a little note from my hand from LA on Monday, to give it to my sister in New Jersey on Wednesday, for 42 cents? Well let me be the first to say that I would be THRILLED if America's healthcare system was anywhere near as functional as the post office.
- Artistic License Biology: He originally stated that he did not believe in germ-theory or vaccines
- Bait and Switch Comment:
Republicans need to stop saying Barack Obama is an elitist, or looks down on rural people, and just admit you don’t like him because of something he can’t help, something that’s a result of the way he was born. Admit it, you’re not voting for him because he’s... smarter than you.
"France's voter turnout was 90%. You couldn't get 90% of [eligible] Americans to vote if the election were between 'tits,' and 'bigger tits,' and they were handing out free samples!"
- Guest Host: Not for a whole episode, mind, but Seth MacFarlane did host a recent edition of Overtime.
- Fetish Fuel: Note in-universe that Scarlett Johansson dressing as Cinderella was this.
- Foe Yay: It's rumored he used to date Ann Coulter.
- Hollywood Atheist: Can be thought of as one (generally due to his statements that religious belief is a neurological disorder), but is an apatheist
- If I Wanted X, I Would Y
- Jesus Was Way Cool: Religious people are one of Maher's favorite targets. It is common for him to mock conservative Christians for failing to live up to Jesus' teachings on matters such as the killing of Osama bin Laden.
- Just Like Making Love:
Our intention was good; to penetrate Iraq and bring it to a glorious euphoric climax. But it's clear now, that's not going to happen... and yet, we're still pounding away, causing the whole area to become painfully inflamed... and in that situation the kindest thing you can do is just pull out.
- Once an Episode: New Rules will always occur. ALWAYS. The only exception came during the Writers' Strike.
- Opposites Attract: Fond of having Ann Coulter as a guest, and it's rumored they used to date.
- Running Gag: Face-Ripper Monkey as a politician.
- Spiritual Successor: To the Comedy Central/ABC program Politically Incorrect.
- Strawman Political: Used all the time.
- Take That: See above