#009 Bill Maher 1994

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Bill Maher is a huge part of the comedy and talk-show landscape, thanks to his HBO show Real Time, which is now in its 17th season.

But in 1994, when this interview was recorded, Maher, then 38, really was just taking off. His Comedy Central show “Politically Incorrect” was about to start its third season, he was an occasional correspondent on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” and he had just released a comic novel called “True Story.”

In this interview, we talked a lot about those subjects, as well as politics. In listening to the tape, what’s striking is how we’re still debating the same political issues we were in 1994—especially healthcare and gun control.

One thing I particularly like about this interview is Maher himself. It’s generally hard to make a comedian laugh. But if Maher thinks something is funny, he laughs. I was happy to make him laugh a couple of times.

Also, it’s great to see how consistent he’s been over the years. In the interview, I asked him if it’s accurate to describe him as a disillusioned Democrat who liked Ross Perot’s ideas but knew he could never carry them out, who thinks government is too intrusive and that people are much too dependent on government, who thinks people have gotten fat, lazy and unwilling to accept responsibility.

He liked that description.

I’d say it’s still entirely apt today.

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