For months now his show has been packed full of Trump bashers who; with prompts from Maher, incessantly trash talk Trump, his family, and anyone else remotely associated with him.
BILL MAHER KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT HE'S DOING
In 2013, he mocked Trump's birtherism by offering $5 million if Trump could prove that he wasn't the love child of an orange-haired orangutan. The future president, determined to prove himself a thin-skinned primate by other means, sued over the joke, allowing Maher to carry on, in his words, "a three-month national debate over whether his mother fucked an ape."
The week after his Putin joke, Maher would pantomime Ivanka Trump jerking off her father to keep him calm.
Yet while Maher has never hidden the joy he takes in busting on Trump—or, for that matter, his broadly Democratic leanings—he has distinguished himself from John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, and Seth Meyers by sucker-punching the Left as gleefully as he does the Right. Before introducing his panel, he talked one-on-one with Elizabeth Warren, the senior senator from Massachusetts, about why Americans chronically vote against their interests. Maher didn't miss a chance to needle her with one of Trump's own epithets. Attempting to explain the Democrats' dismal fortunes with working-class voters, he told her, "They don't like you, Pocahontas." Warren didn't respond to the insult, choosing instead to stare a hole through her host's high forehead.
A few weeks later, Maher would answer a joke by Nebraska senator Ben Sasse with a similarly tone-deaf response. When Sasse extended an invitation to come work in Nebraska's fields, Maher playacted surprise and said, "I'm a house nigger." Whereas the Pocahontas remark prompted another round of an ancient Internet dispute—whether Maher is a misogynist, a dick, or a fearless political savant—the comment to Sasse sparked universal outrage. HBO called it "completely inexcusable and tasteless," and many clamored for Maher to be fired.
But that was in the future. The night Maher spoke to Warren, Rob Reiner, a panelist, waited outside Maher's dressing room after the show to say goodbye. "He doesn't suffer any kind of bullshit," Reiner told me. He expressed the Platonic ideal of Bill Maher: "If there's a sliver of bullshit, he does not accept it. And that I love."