Aug. 9th at DPAC, Comedian/Social Critic Bill Maher Said Something to Offend Just About Everyone

The Durham Performing Arts Center will present "An Evening with Bill Maher: Live Stand-Up Tour" at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 9th
The Durham Performing Arts Center presented “An Evening with Bill Maher: Live Stand-Up Tour” on Aug. 9th

Last night, we were present at the Durham Performing Arts Center for An Evening with Bill Maher: Live Stand-Up Tour, a laugh-filled hour and half of slicing, clawing, biting humor, philosophy, and some even realistic policy suggestions from liberal America’s brilliant court jester. Bill Maher, who has made movies, comedy, and history by using his patriotic fervor to awaken our sensitivities and titillate our giggle zones, has been at it for several decades now, and is so astute he is often invited to CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News to shine his laser-mind on important events.

That he has been controversial is a credit to his talent, and his run-in with “The Donald” is, perhaps, the most hilarious and poignant of his battles. (In case you have forgotten, in response to Trump’s campaign to see President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, Maher claimed it was possible Trump was the product of a liaison between a human and an orangutan. Trump sued Maher, and even released his birth certificate to be introduced in evidence, but later withdrew the suit, claiming it could come back later. One wonders if he ever realized how clearly Maher’s point had been made.)

Bill Maher opened his set, after a shriekingly warm reception, telling the packed audience that this was going to be a nice, safe Christian conversation; and it went all over the ball park from there. From the number of Republican candidates only being outdone by the number of Bill Cosby’s accusers, to pot, legal and ill, to Tea Baggers, and the urban meaning of that term, to cop shootings, Maher rambled with precision and razor sharpness through the hypocrisies rampant in American daily life. All of this done in his highly personable and inoffensive manner. There is none of the anger of a Lewis Black.

Not content with these meagre subjects, Bill Maher hastens to pick on Southerners who love to be “in the land o’ cotton” (mainly because they never had to pick the cotton), and then on to Vermont Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Saunders, and Hillary Clinton (whom he suggests in a rather crude way may be lesbian), and to Bill Clinton’s affairs. He notes that token blacks are acceptable, but toking blacks are not. He has some acid assessment of the Iraqi Army and ISIS, and even offers policy suggestions that might be viable.

While bemoaning the spate of bad ideas being promulgated in the country, Maher chides the audience for accepting some of them themselves. He deals with sex in America, New Jersey Governor and presidential candidate Chris Christie’s bewilderment about the Crimea, Russian President Vladimir Putin, leaving American troops abroad, and the elderly, then switched to immigration, his perceptions of the American mind and a discussion of Michael Jackson.

That topic arabesqued into more Bill Cosby, and then guns, hunting, and the meaning of sports, the Republican debates, his orangutan case with Trump, and then the new Pope, of whom he seems to approve. Maher, who was raised Catholic and no longer practices a religion, then attacked Mormons; Muslims (the poor boys never get to see girls, and only get to read one book); Jews; Evangelical Christians; and Hindus, weaving in climate change, the Rapture, creationism, and the inerrancy of the Bible.

He did a wonderful spoof on Abbott & Costello’sWho’s on first?” routine, involving the three personages of God, then slid into Hinduism and reincarnation. He finished off with barbs about women’s Viagra (to combat HSDD [hypoactive sexual desire disorder]) and sex as it’s presented in American movies.

Several people actually appeared to walk out in dissatisfaction with Maher’s progressive material; but with those few exceptions, the audience loved him and honored him a long standing ovation. There is no doubt Bill Maher is a force to be reckoned with — a philosopher, pundit, comedian, and social critic of merit.

AN EVENING WITH BILL MAHER: LIVE STAND-UP TOUR (Durham Performing Arts Center, Aug. 9).

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Bill Maher (New York City-born comedian, poltical comentator, and actor): (official website), (Internet Broadway Database), (Internet Movie Database), (Facebook page), (Twitter page), and (Wikipedia).



Martha Keravuori is a life-long theater artist — an actress, director, and stage manager — in North Carolina, around the country, and overseas. She has a theater degree from UNC-Greensboro, and has been active in the arts in Raleigh for the past 40 years. Martha is the retired executive director of the North Carolina Theatre Conference. Chuck Galle returned to Raleigh last year after a 17-year absence. He was active in community theater for many years, and directed the troupe of maximum-security inmates at Raleigh’s Central Prison known as the Central Prison Players. In New England, he performed on stage, on TV, and in films. He is the author of Stories I Never Told My Daughter — An Odyssey, which can be ordered on his website: Chuck Galle and Martha Keravuori review theater for Boom! Magazine of Cary. Click here to read more of their reviews for Boom! Magazine and here to read more of their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.