Maher criticized Republicans for whittling down their 17 initial candidates to two people who were essentially like the former Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and the late Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-Wis.), notorious for his "witch-hunt" for suspected Communists in the 1950s. "Hillary Clinton is not a sure thing," the comedian added. "You need a fall back besides suicide and Canada."
He detailed the differences between Trump and Cruz, describing the former as "like Ebola, he'll violently kill you right away" and the latter as "more like the Zika virus, we won't see the damage until future generations."
Maher said that the GOP contest was between the "House of Asshole" and the "House of Douchebag." "But we have to accept that being a grown up means hard choices between disgusting options," he said. "You have to decide, we all have to decide."
He selected Cruz as his preferred Republican candidate, before drinking from a container with the word "bleach" written on the side. "Here's the deal breaker with Donald Trump. He's a lunatic," he said. "What does he do on day one? Send Megyn Kelly to Guantanamo Bay?"
"Yes, Ted Cruz would be our worst president, but Donald Trump might well be our last. So that's why I say, better Ted than dead," he added.
Watch Friday night's full clip above.
Editor's note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.