Bill Maher has been on a roll. (Full disclosure: He's also been my friend for over 15 years.)
His "New Rule: Not Everything In America has to Make a Profit" was the most viewed blog post on HuffPost last week, with over 250,000 page views (and his latest post has rung up over 225,000 views in less than 24 hours). His riff equating Michael Jackson and America was an instant classic. His call for Obama to marry his good ideas with "a little bit of that Bush attitude and certitude" had the pundits buzzing. He's been tearing it up on the cable shows (here he is with Wolf Blitzer and Chris Matthews). His warning on the birthers on Friday's show ("If you don't immediately kill errant bullshit, no matter how ridiculous, it can grow and thrive and eventually take over like crab grass or Cirque du Soleil") has already gotten over 1,000 comments. And Real Time was recently nominated for two Emmys.
This is the 22nd time Bill has personally been nominated for an Emmy. The previous 21 times he's gone home without the trophy. Hey, Academy: it's time to get it together and honor a man who, week in and week out, presides over one of the best places on television to find edgy, unapologetic, and laugh-til-it-hurts political and social commentary rooted in deep conviction.
I would be saying exactly the same thing if Bill and I had never met. But I am sure glad that we did. Who else would have put me in bed with a senator in 1996? On stage no less. Of course, back then, he was plain old Al Franken.
And few are as fearless Bill is. I was on Politically Incorrect the night he made the comment that led to that show's cowardly cancellation by ABC. I love the way he seamlessly navigates between the profane and the profound, the silly and the serious -- utterly unafraid of afflicting the comfortable (and also there to comfort the afflicted). A first-class satirist in the tradition of Jonathan Swift, he wields his savage wit in the service of passionate conviction, regularly addressing topics few in the media are willing to take on, including the ongoing madness of the war on drugs and the destructive role of money in politics.
Almost eight years after 9/11, eight years after Ari Fleischer warned Americans that they "need to watch what they say," eight years after Graydon Carter declared the death of the age of irony, eight years after Politically Incorrect was pushed off the air, and 280 years after Swift's Modest Proposal, we find ourselves living in a Golden Age of political humor -- with Bill Maher leading the charge.
Being a confirmed non-believer (and if you haven't seen Religulous yet, get in touch with Netflix immediately), I know Bill wouldn't be in favor of invoking the Almighty, but I'm a confirmed believer, so here it goes: For god's sake, Emmy voters, give Bill Maher a goddamn Emmy!
And while we're talking about comedy, when was the last time you visited our Comedy 23/6 page? It is the place to catch up on the funniest stuff from around the web, plus recurring features like The Week in WTF, our In A Minute videos, our roundup of the day's best late night jokes, and Dickipedia -- HuffPost's wiki of notable dicks (including Glenn Beck, Nancy Grace, Brett Favre, Mark Sanford, and Bernie Madoff).
Comedy 23/6 also features a great group of bloggers offering their humorous takes on the day's top stories.
So check it out, along with our Bill Maher Big News page. And be sure to watch Real Time with Bill Maher, Friday nights at 10 pm on HBO -- especially this Friday, when I'll be on the show.