You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Red states in on the joke, says Maher

Bill Maher: 10 Years of 'Real Time'

How does a brainy, razor-tongued Hollywood comic who famously skewered devout believers in the documentary “Religulous” play in Savannah, Ga., Oklahoma City or Norfolk, Va.? How does Bill Maher’s searing wit go over in areas of the country where the Belt is more Bible than Borscht?

“The audiences are better, if anything, because the people in red states who are the progressive thinkers … they are thrilled that somebody who thinks like them came to their town where they are normally mostly surrounded by rednecks.”

Maher recently played Tulsa, Okla., and used that city as an example of the reception he often gets from enthusiastic fans who might be blue over the preponderance of red.

“I remember being there the last time and getting a five-minute ovation just for walking out,” he says. “That doesn’t happen in San Francisco. Not that San Francisco isn’t a great crowd, too, but there it’s a little more predictable — what they’re going to be, what I’m going to be.

“In Tulsa and places like that,” he adds, “it’s just more of a rarity that I would come and I think they’re very appreciative that I didn’t write off the whole region and say, ‘You know what? Those are a bunch of hillbillies there. I’m not going there.’ Because I’ve discovered that wherever you go in America, no matter how red the state is, there are a lot of liberal people marbled into the population.”

Although much of his act may remain the same from city to city, Maher says he strives to tailor a portion of it to the local market. He might wind up doing 15 new minutes based on breaking news or developments in that specific area.

“One reason I do like to travel is because I like to get the local feel and get a little bit of a thumb on the pulse of real America as opposed to just sitting here in my ivory tower in Hollywood. So I always ask when I get on the ground — the cab or limo driver, or the people in the airport or bars — I do try to find out what’s the local story and what are the issues people care about.

“People are thrilled in any local market, even if it’s just a couple of minutes of the show if you say, ‘I was in Hawaii on New Year’s Eve and was talking about Gov. (Neil) Abercrombie and Sen. Brian Schatz.’ They just love that stuff because it’s what’s in their paper and on their news everyday,” Maher says.

Bill Maher: 10 Years of ‘Real Time’
Eclectic guest list often put guard down | Red states in on the joke, says Maher | Maher’s recalls his favorite moments

More TV

  • TV News Roundup: 'Knightfall' Grows by

    TV News Roundup: 'Knightfall' Premiere Grows by 71 Percent in Delayed Viewing

    How does a brainy, razor-tongued Hollywood comic who famously skewered devout believers in the documentary “Religulous” play in Savannah, Ga., Oklahoma City or Norfolk, Va.? How does Bill Maher’s searing wit go over in areas of the country where the Belt is more Bible than Borscht? “The audiences are better, if anything, because the people […]

  • Tax Plan Strikes Fear Among Below

    Hollywood's Below-the-Line Workers Anxious About New Tax Plans

    How does a brainy, razor-tongued Hollywood comic who famously skewered devout believers in the documentary “Religulous” play in Savannah, Ga., Oklahoma City or Norfolk, Va.? How does Bill Maher’s searing wit go over in areas of the country where the Belt is more Bible than Borscht? “The audiences are better, if anything, because the people […]

  • Steve Edwards Good Day LA

    Veteran Anchor Steve Edwards Out at 'Good Day L.A.'

    How does a brainy, razor-tongued Hollywood comic who famously skewered devout believers in the documentary “Religulous” play in Savannah, Ga., Oklahoma City or Norfolk, Va.? How does Bill Maher’s searing wit go over in areas of the country where the Belt is more Bible than Borscht? “The audiences are better, if anything, because the people […]

  • Rupert Murdoch Bob Iger Disney Fox

    Disney Nearing Finish Line With 21st Century Fox as Comcast Bows Out of Acquisition Hunt

    How does a brainy, razor-tongued Hollywood comic who famously skewered devout believers in the documentary “Religulous” play in Savannah, Ga., Oklahoma City or Norfolk, Va.? How does Bill Maher’s searing wit go over in areas of the country where the Belt is more Bible than Borscht? “The audiences are better, if anything, because the people […]

  • Kenya Barris Alec Baldwin

    ABC Gives Straight-to-Series Order to Comedy From Kenya Barris, Alec Baldwin, Julie Bean

    How does a brainy, razor-tongued Hollywood comic who famously skewered devout believers in the documentary “Religulous” play in Savannah, Ga., Oklahoma City or Norfolk, Va.? How does Bill Maher’s searing wit go over in areas of the country where the Belt is more Bible than Borscht? “The audiences are better, if anything, because the people […]

  • Golden Globe Nominations: Good News and

    Golden Globes Nominations: At Least It Was a Good Year for Strong Female Roles

    How does a brainy, razor-tongued Hollywood comic who famously skewered devout believers in the documentary “Religulous” play in Savannah, Ga., Oklahoma City or Norfolk, Va.? How does Bill Maher’s searing wit go over in areas of the country where the Belt is more Bible than Borscht? “The audiences are better, if anything, because the people […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content