Bill Maher is the worst, and has been consistently the worst for decades. His cavalier use of the word n****r on his HBO show Friday night sparked outrage, and rightfully so, but it’s not like Maher hasn’t exhibited his tendency to say racist, sexist, transphobic and Islamophobic things in the past.
His whole shtick, after all, is anti-political correctness with a seemingly “liberal” bent, but this latest incident is a perfect example of how being “liberal” doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t be racist. But as Afropunk writer Hari Zayed observed on Monday, people have suddenly decided to be outraged at Maher because “white liberalism makes lightning-rod terms the problem in order to deflect from the structures beneath them.”
On Saturday, Maher issued an apology for dropping the n-bomb, but HBO has no plans to suspend or fire him. Which makes sense, because he’s a rich white man who has probably made the network a lot of money. But damn, there are so many people ― particularly people of color ― who would be funnier, more insightful, and far less obnoxiously smug in Maher’s time slot.
Below are just a few people who should have their own late night political talk show ― who definitely aren’t Bill Maher:
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It's pretty absurd that writer and comedian Larry Wilmore only got one season to find his footing on the smart, sharply funny "Nightly Show" before it was unceremoniously cancelled by Comedy Central. Like Bill Maher, Wilmore also caused controversy when he said "n***a" on television once
Unlike Maher, he can actually say it.
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You might recognize Amanda Seales as one of Issa's crazy best friends on HBO's hit comedy, "Insecure." But Seales, who hails from LA, is also a whip-smart political comedian who would be perfectly at home in a late night show setting.
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Al Madrigal is best known as a correspondent on "The Daily Show" and co-founder of the podcast "All Things Comedy." Of Mexican and Italian descent, Madrigal has a unique brand of comedy that tackles political issues with a kind of irreverence that isn't just about shock value, but rather seeks to challenge stereotypes
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Actress and comedian Aisha Tyler has the kind of acerbic sense of humor that Bill Maher prides himself on, except she's actually funny. As a host on "Talk Soup" and more recently "The Talk," Tyler shows she has the chops for delivery and engaging political convo.
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Hasan Minhaj is great as a correspondent on "The Daily Show," and his speech at the recent White House Press Correspondence Dinner was legendary. How awesome would it be to see a Muslim-American man host a political talkshow?
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If you ever got a chance to catch her MSNBC web show "So Popular," you'll know that Janet Mock has an amazing talent for analyzing pop culture and politics in a way that doesn't alienate, but engages people on all sides of the aisle.
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Remember when Jon Stewart was leaving "The Daily Show" and everyone wanted Jessica Williams to take over? And she was like, "calm down, guys -- I don't even want the job." That's totally fair, and Williams has gone on to do amazing things with her podcast "2 Dope Queens," but one can't help but wonder what she could do if given her own hour to play with...
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Angela Rye, CEO of Impact Strategies, political commentator, analyst for CNN and NPR, and QUEEN of the side-eye. Rye has made a name for herself for her non-nonsense, deeply opinionated approach to politics. Just imagine Maher dropping the n-bomb in front of her.
Marc Lamont Hill
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Now, Marc Lamont Hill technically had a late night show, "VH1 Live," but the heavily pop-culture focused show did not give Hill a chance to really show off his insightful political commentary coming from a black male perspective -- something that the political talkshow landscape is sorely lacking.
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Franchesca Ramsey is an actress, comedian and all-around badass known for her witty Twitter feed and hilarious MTV series "Decoded," which breaks down social issues like own-race bias, weed legalization, and the poverty myth. Rejoice: Ramsey, who previously was a correspondent on Larry Wilmore's show, may be getting her own
late night show on Comedy Central (a pilot is in the works
). A little glimmer of hope in a bleak, bleak world.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that Aisha Tyler is a co-host of “The Real.” She is a co-host of “The Talk.”