Maher shocks, mocks and rocks at Laxson

Bill Maher

Bill Maher

Photo By Tom Angel

A sold-out crowd at Chico State’s Laxson Auditorium witnessed first-hand the hilarious bombast and sometimes warped mind of political comedian Bill Maher (pictured above) Saturday night.

The host of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher opened the show with reckless abandon and a crudeness that the crowd soaked up like a sponge, melting any ice there might have been.

Brought to campus by Chico Performances, Maher had explicit words for that organization’s director, Dan DeWayne, after he repeatedly mispronounced Maher’s name in his introduction. “If I heard my name mispronounced one more time, I would kick that guy square in his vagina!”

Never ashamed of a thing he says, Maher then proclaimed that “what happens in Chico stays in Chico.” His sometimes vulgar routine and controversial thoughts proved to the crowd that no subject would be taboo. It is precisely this kind of shock humor that attracts sold-out crowds to Maher’s shows.

“I am very pissed off these days. I am angry because people are not angry enough,” Maher began. This statement proved to be the foundation for the entire show. Everything from the mishaps of 9/11 and the war on terrorism to the monstrosity of Janet Jackson’s breast being exposed to a live national audience was touched upon by the witty humorist.

ABC’s cancellation of Maher’s previous show, Politically Incorrect, in May 2002 may have been a set-back, but Maher uses it today to his advantage. “Do you realize that the only person fired since 9/11 is me?” he asked.

The show was cancelled after he made a controversial comment about U.S. air strikes in Afghanistan.

“We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That’s cowardly,” he said at the time. “Staying in the airplane when it hits the building—say what you want about it, it’s not cowardly.”

Now, two years later, Maher has new ways of criticizing President Bush’s war on terrorism. He called the president’s post-war plan in Iraq “Operation: Get a Load of Us.” He jokingly went on to say that we should think about bringing Saddam Hussein back for another try in Iraq: “Maybe he had time to think about it in jail.”

Maher, never shy about mocking both the “leader of the free world” as well as his “flip flopper” challenger in the upcoming election, had a field day with the bizarre social and political processes going on in our world and the charlatans we are forced to vote for. He described a fictitious world in which President Bush and Senator Kerry would not be the two major-party choices, but rather Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Republicans’ ideal candidate and Bill Clinton for the Democrats. He called it a showdown between the “Terminator and the Sperminator.”

Cell phones, sexual stimulants and the horrid eating habits of Americans were among the other reasons why he believes America is the laughingstock of the world. “We need so many prescription drugs because we eat like Caligula,” he said, offering that we would be healthier if we disregarded the Atkins and Subway diets and substituted them with the traditional idea of healthful eating and exercise.

Maher’s satirical comments were sometimes overshadowed by the seriousness of the situation at hand in the Middle East. He described an ethnocentric view of world affairs as a major deterrent to progress in catching terrorists like Osama bin Laden. “People who are not like us are really not like us. That is what George Bush doesn’t get,” he said. “George Bush thinks that everyone can be bought [for] $50 million. Tell that to the goat herders!”

His views on Senator Kerry are not much better. "The Democrats are more united today because of their hatred for Bush. It’s like we are at a bar at 2 a.m. and we are picking from the last two whores left," he said.