Bill Maher’s ‘Real Time’ Talks Covid-19, Crime, And A Gay Marriage – Deadline

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Bill Maher’s Real Time was back on HBO Friday night, returning from its winter break as the host told his studio audience that it was “wonderful to see your beautiful masks again.”

That was the theme for most of the show, as Maher and guests looked back on things that happened in the long stretch between his last show in November and today. He exited at a time when omicron wasn’t really around, unlike now, when the variant is causing all sorts of chaos.

Thus, where things stand now with the pandemic was the key focus of Friday’s panel discussion with author/journalist Bari Weiss and New York Congressman Ritchie Torres.

Maher noted that there’s “A reset going on in the world. We have to live with (the coronavirus). It’s not going away.”

Torees agreed. “I think we’re gradually transitioning to normal,” while Weiss echoed, “I’m done with Covid.” But she also noted that “We haven’t gotten back to normal. And it’s ridiculous at this point.”

Weiss added that so many of her friends were afraid to say that masks don’t work, and that showing a passport in a restaurant is really proof of nothing, all for fear of being labeled and shunned by the pandemic Karens of the world. “It’s like, at this point, it’s a pandemic of bureaucracy,” she said.

Maher noted that the atmosphere in the free state of Florida, where restrictions aren’t enforced, is much different than the fear that still haunts the coasts. Torres pushed back on that idea, reminding him that the early stages of the pandemic brought emergency room overflows, mass graves, and people fleeing New York state. “I reject the notion that the response has been worse than the disease itself.”

Maher said that we now know that vaccination “does not stop you from getting it. It doesn’t stop you from transmitting it. It just stops you from dying when you do get it. That’s a huge difference, and counteracts that we need the vaccination to protect other people. It protects you, so it’s just about you.”

Weiss agreed. “The point is if you’re choosing not to get (vaccinated), we’re not stopping the world for the sake of those foolish (unvaccinated) people.”

The talk then turned to crime, which is soaring in America. Torres tried to blame the proliferation of guns as the root cause of the crime wave. But Maher countered that “guns were always there.” Maher also recited a list of crimes that are no longer being prosecuted by so-called progressive district attorneys, a list which basically is the opposite of the successful “broken windows” method of policing, a style that led to a major reduction in crime by enforcing minor laws and arresting their violators.

Weiss thought the recent turnabout on crime by San Francisco Mayor London Breed was an encouraging sign. Torres refused to bite. “The soft on crime critique is a caricature rather than a fair characterization,” he insisted, leaning into his more guns on the street causing more crime theory.

Next, Maher veered into Hollywood territory with a criticism of the recently opened Academy of Motion Pictures Museum. He said there was nothing in the venue about how Jewish people built Hollywood, running down a list of key Jewish people who created the entertainment business we know today. He questioned the motivation for such an exclusion.

Weiss said it’s likely Jewish contributions were overlooked because the museum lthought, “Oh, they’re just white guys,” and aimed to spotlight people of color.

Torres didn’t blame anyone specific, but said that “All of us have an obligation to condemn anti-semitism no matter what form it takes. We increasingly fail to treat it as seriously as it deserves.”

Maher opened the show with a brief discussion with author Timothy Snyder, who talked about Maher’s great fear that the trend toward disparaging election results as inaccurate will lead to a showdown at the 2025 presidential inaugeration, where each side will claim the other is rigging the vote.

In order to avoid that, Maher posited later in the show that President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama should divorce their wives and enter into a gay marriage. That would allow Obama to come back to the White House as the First Lady and run the government, something his prior two terms bar him from doing without such a gimmick.

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