Years ago, my wife, Deb, and I used to arrange our Friday nights around watching Real Time with Bill Maher, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and he performed his show from home, he became (to use his term) “a whiny little bitch.” He was so unwatchable that we made other plans for our Friday nights.
Knowing that Maher was back in front of a live audience, we gave him another shot last night. He just made us angry. First, he whined about vaccinations, saying he “took one for the team,” but doubted he’d get a booster. And that led into his nightly diatribe about how if Americans only ate better food we wouldn’t have so many health problems. Sure, many Americans would be better off if they got in-shape and lost some weight, but I can’t remember the last episode where Maher didn’t make the same point—over and over and over.
But what really pissed me off was when he and Andrew Sullivan pontificated about colleges being too woke. I have likely spoken at more colleges in the past 15 years than Bill Maher and Andrew Sullivan put together. The difference is that they speak at select elite colleges and I speak everywhere else. For instance, next week I speak at Hastings College in Nebraska.
Most colleges really aren’t that woke. In fact, being too liberal when I speak is always in the back of my mind. For example, eleven years ago I spoke at New Mexico Tech. From my perspective, it was one of my best nights as a speaker. I performed two shows in a full theater and received a standing ovation. Nevertheless, the woman who booked me refuses to ever bring me back, because a few people walked out and complained. I actually noticed the walkouts, and they did it right after a section in my show where I talked about global warming and childish Republicans who renamed French fries “Freedom fries” and French toast “Freedom toast” in the congressional cafeterias to protest France not participating in the Iraq War.
Additionally, one religious college politely asked me not to speak about evolution, and another booked me under the condition that I not speak out against Donald Trump. Other colleges outright won’t book me because I’m too liberal (i.e. woke). That’s okay. I’m not going to whine about it. I mention it only because people like Bill Maher and Andrew Sullivan are clueless about what life is like in the real world.
Deb and I don’t have to agree with Bill Maher on everything to enjoy his show. Even so, his recent whiny little bitch act has grown old on us, and I can think of many things the two of us can do on Friday nights that are more productive—and more fun.
Bio: Marty Essen began writing professionally in the 1990s as a features writer for Gig Magazine. His first book, Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents, won six national awards, and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune named it a "Top Ten Green Book." His second book, Endangered Edens: Exploring the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica, the Everglades, and Puerto Rico, won four national awards. His novels, Time Is Irreverent, Time Is Irreverent 2: Jesus Christ, Not Again! and Time Is Irreverent 3: Gone for 16 Seconds, have all received rave reviews. Hits, Heathens, and Hippos is Marty's sixth book, and like all of his books, it reflects his values of protecting human rights and the environment—and does so with a wry sense of humor. Marty is also a popular college speaker, who has performed the stage-show version of Cool Creatures, Hot Planet on hundreds of campuses in forty-five states.