Celebrities Who Can't Stand Bill Maher

Bill Maher has been a comedic thorn in the side of newsmakers ever since hosting the controversial after-hours chat show, "Politically Incorrect," in 1997. But when he shocked audiences and advertisers with contentious post-9/11 remarks, ABC sacked the comedian early in 2002. The less censorious HBO came to the comedian's rescue the following year, allowing him more cutting-edge op-eds on "Real Time with Bill Maher." Unlike "Politically Correct," where half the panel would consist of celebrities that included the likes of George Clooney, Cyndi Lauper, Jerry Seinfeld, and Kathleen Turner, "Real Time" opts more towards journalists, authors and academics (although viewers saw stars like Quentin Tarantino and Matthew Perry during the latest season). Evidently, Maher prefers guests better versed in current events, and as he said to Variety, "You're just not going to get that from Carrot Top."

What hasn't changed is Maher's leftist slant, although he's hardly partisan about it. "I don't really have a tribe," said Maher to Vanity Fair. "I certainly consider myself a liberal, but I'm not afraid to criticize the liberals when they're wrong—and in that, I'm fairly unique." In short, everything from Donald Trump and QAnon to cancel culture and identity politics is fair game. And in doing so, he may have offended a few famous targets and their supporters from Hollywood to Washington D.C. And there's hardly a doubt that many of those displeased luminaries, including some listed here, harbor a wish that Maher should disappear from the screen for good.

Ben Affleck accused Bill Maher of racism

During a 2014 appearance on "Real Time," Ben Affleck and Maher had a heated exchange after Maher's suggestion liberals who took shots at Christians were soft on Muslims. That's when Affleck lost it and interrupted co-panelist and author Sam Harris. "Are you the person who officially understands the codified doctrine of Islam?" he exclaimed. "It's gross! It's racist!" Throughout the show, Affleck was getting more visibly disturbed by Maher and Harris. "The people who would actually believe in an act that you murder somebody in the name of Islam is not the majority of Muslims at all!" Affleck stressed. Maher drew additional ire after claiming Islam was "the only religion that acts like the mafia."

According to ABC News, a clip of the program attracted 2.6 million viewers on YouTube. A Vulture rundown of Affleck's appearances on the show revealed the actor locked horns with Maher on several occasions, beginning in 2004. Affleck took exception to Maher, an avowed atheist, who suggested that religious followers lacked intelligence. Affleck shot back, "People of faith aren't stupid by dint of their being of faith."

Anthony Bourdain dismissed Bill Maher as smug

In 2011, the late globetrotting chef, and star of "No Reservations" and "Parts Unknown," Anthony Bourdain, joined Bill Maher's panel for an episode of "Real Time." The culinary celebrity didn't enjoy the experience of chinwagging with Maher and guest panelists (who included political strategist Steve Bannon). In particular, he derided Maher for being "insufferably smug" and declared he'd never do the HBO show again. "He's a classic example of the smirking, contemptuous, privileged guy who lives in a bubble," said Bourdain to Reason. "And he is in no way looking to reach outside, or even look outside, of that bubble, in an empathetic way."

He didn't cite an example of Maher's attitude, but one scene from "Real Time" was telling. Bourdain declared that U.S. citizens have become lazy and entitled, stating that natural-born Americans never apply for entry-level restaurant jobs in the numbers that immigrants do. "Nobody understands the American Dream today better than an Indian, Chinese, or a Mexican as far as I'm concerned," he said during the show, an opinion Bannon eagerly supported. But Maher hasn't been the only person Bourdain despised. Years later, he stated he'd never dine with Donald Trump, the person Bannon helped commandeered to a U.S. presidential victory in 2016. "I just find him personally objectionable," he said on "The National."

Wayne Brady wanted to beat up Bill Maher

Affable comedian Wayne Brady delighted viewers for years with the improvisational comedy "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" and the reboot of the game show "Let's Make A Deal." But make no mistake, Brady has a long-standing problem with Bill Maher. It started in 2010 on CNN when Maher compared President Barack Obama to Brady and notorious Death Row Records executive Suge Knight. "I thought when we elected the first black president, as a comedian, I thought that two years in that I'd be making jokes what a 'gangsta' he was," said Maher (per Real Clear Politics). "And not that he's President Wayne Brady, you know, I thought we were getting Suge Knight."

Three years later, Brady fired back on HuffPost Live, saying Maher insinuated that Obama "would be a real black man and not Wayne Brady." Brady then took a shot at Maher's racial ignorance, adding, "When he starts to drag me in to use me as the cultural linchpin of his not-black-enough argument, that's bull***t." The comedian then directed one stinging verbal projectile at Maher: "When I meet you, when I talk to you again, I'll give you that black dude and I will beat your ass in public." Maher never responded, but Brady wasn't finished with him yet. In 2017, after Maher uttered a racial slur, for which he apologized for later, Brady simply tweeted "Yup."

Bill Maher's fat-shaming disturbed James Corden

On all the occasions that late-night talk show host James Corden recalled bumping into Bill Maher, he's always found him to be rather kind and pleasant. That's why he was left dumbfounded about a 2019 segment ton "Real Time with Bill Maher" in 2019 called The Fudge Report, in which the comedian ranted about the social acceptance of obesity. After citing a statistic that 40,000 Americans died from obesity that August,  Maher declared, "Fat-shaming doesn't need to end. It needs to make a comeback." 

That's where Corden believed Maher bit off more than he could chew. "Fat-shaming never went anywhere," responded Corden on his program "The Late, Late Show with James Corden" a few days after Maher's dissertation. "I mean, literally ask any fat person, we are reminded of it all the time."

Corden then shared his own struggles with weight, claiming he's been on and off diets for as long as he could remember. And while he believed that Maher was offering a dose of tough love, he cautioned the comedian that fat-shaming leads to conditions like depression and over-eating. Then he dove into the crux of the issue: "Let's be honest. Fat-shaming is bullying ... and bullying only makes the problem worse." It's not known whether the two have settled their differences.

Ice Cube schooled Bill Maher on racism

Having transitioned from rap star to family-friendly movie star, it's safe to say that Ice Cube knows a little something about composure. That probably explains why Cube's first instinct after hearing Maher utter the n-word in 2017 was not to go gangsta on the comedian. Instead, he opted for civil discourse as a guest panelist a few weeks after the incident. It seemed to be a far more calmer response to Maher calling himself a "house [n-word]" during a conversation with Republican senator Ben Sasse than Chance the Rapper's tweet to cancel Maher's show.

The actor-rapper altered the atmosphere with a numbing intensity the moment he said to Maher, "I knew you was gonna f*** up sooner or later." Cube, who claimed to be a fan of the show, recognized that Maher's routine includes a few black jokes but added, "Sometimes, you sound like a redneck trucker." After Maher admitted he didn't put any thought into why he used the offensive word, Cube schooled the host big-time: "It's been used as a weapon against us by white people, and we're not going to let that happen again by nobody because it's not cool now... That's our word now... and you can't have it back."

Whoopi Goldberg and Bill Maher argue a lot

Bill Maher and Whoopi Goldberg tend to lean left, so logic would dictate that they'd wind up on the same side regarding most social issues. Nothing could be further from the truth. In one case, Goldberg went ballistic on "The View" early in 2022, attacking Maher's alleged comment that he was over with the coronavirus. "I think he's forgetting that people are still at risk who cannot get vaccinated ... little kids under the age of five, people with health conditions," said Goldberg. "How dare you be so flippant, man?" A look at the Maher segment revealed the "Real Time" host never said he was over COVID; it was guest Bari Weiss who said: "I'm done with COVID." Maher didn't disagree.

The year prior, Maher blasted the NFL for its decision to play a Black anthem called "Lift Every Voice and Sing" before "The Star Spangled Banner. "You've inverted the idea," he commented about he believed to be segregation. "We're going back to that." Goldberg shot back on "The View" saying, "Just so you know, Bill, 'Lift Every Voice' has always been considered the Black national anthem," she said (via Fox News). "Now, maybe other people don't feel like that, but I feel like... we have to reeducate and retell people."

Sean Hannity had some harsh words for Bill Maher

Fox News bingo caller Sean Hannity skews so far to the right it's safe to assume that if he were a traffic cop, he'd outlaw left turns at intersections. And he'd levy the heftiest fine on Maher for his take on the 2019 death of billionaire David Koch, the Koch Industries oligarch and staunch Republicans supporter who donated $1.6 million to Republicans that year (via Open Secrets). Not a fan of the Kochs, Maher blasted the late tycoon, declaring, "[David] and his brother have done more than anybody to fund climate science deniers for decades, so f**k him, the Amazon is burning up, I'm glad he's dead!" Livid over Maher's treatment of Koch, Hannity said about Maher, "You're a mean-spirited jackass ... Just keep your big mouth shut!" (via FoxNews).

The jousting between these two political opposites goes as far back as 2009, which resurfaced on CNN's "Reliable Sources." When host Howard Kurtz ran a clip of Hannity saying, "Bill Maher has become an angry, bitter guy." Maher responded. "I'm a happy, single guy. He's a repressed, typical Republican. I'm sure just terribly sexually repressed, and it comes out in all their sorts of hatred and vile and bile ... why would I be bitter?" Don't look for these diametric personalities to become presidents of each other's fan clubs anytime soon.

Sarah Palin deplored Bill Maher's attacks on her children

When Alaska Governor Sarah Palin joined Senator John McCain on the 2008 Republican presidential ticket, comedians viewed her lack of readiness as low-hanging fruit. Maher was no exception, calling her "a complete bimbo" during an episode of "The View." During an episode of his own show, he had this to say about the former nominee: "The only thing keeping the economy from total collapse is Sarah Palin shopping sprees." But Maher fully crossed the line when he used the "r-word" to describe her son Trig who has Down's Syndrome in his 2013 Las Vegas act. 

"Hey bully, on behalf of all kids whom you hatefully mock in order to make yourself feel big," angrily tweeted Palin, "I hope one flattens your lily-white wimpy a**." A week later on Facebook, Palin posted, "Bill Maher is free to attack me, but not my child, nor other innocent, beautiful people." And attack Palin he did, after finding out the frequently-mocked politician was appearing on "Fox & Friends" Tweeted Maher, "They must have had a meeting and said, 'Who is the one person in the world who could make this show dumber?'"

However, Palin was hardly vocal about Maher's volley at her daughter Bristol, who detailed her unplanned pregnancy in the 2011 book, "Not Afraid of Life." Maher summed up his critique, sighing, "Oh, the Palin's. I tell you, the sh*t doesn't fall far from the bat."

Donald Trump tried to sue Bill Maher

Bill Maher has clashed with scores of celebrities, but his conflict with Donald Trump almost turned into a bloodbath that could have cost the comedian dearly. In 2013, Maher appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and decided to make fun of the birther issue between Trump and President Barack Obama. On the show, Maher offered Trump $5 million if he could prove he wasn't the spawn of an orangutan. "The color of his hair and the color of an orange orangutan is the only two things in nature of the same color," Maher retorted, per CNN. Trump later offered a copy of the certificate confirming his human origins and promptly sued Maher for not paying up, a legal action he eventually withdrew, per Reuters

While Trump was in the Oval Office, Maher had a field day with the newsmaker on "Real Time," calling him everything from "the most extreme case of narcissistic personality disorder in history" to a "president who makes you want to puke all the time." For his part, Trump's attacks on Maher continued to be merciless, including one at a rally in Memphis during the summer of 2022, when he called the comedian "a radical left maniac with modest television ratings" (per Fansided). It's not likely this feud will be settled while either party is still alive, given the entertainment it's provided to both fan bases.

Howard Stern and Bill Maher became friends again

Maher's altercations with the self-declared "King of All Media," Howard Stern, date back to when both worked in New York City. Their feud ended happily in 2019. "As we've repaired our relationship, one of the nice things about it is I've been able to listen to you," said Maher on Stern's Sirius XM show after they officially buried the hatchet. "You're in the car always, now, it's fantastic, and you know I really enjoy it." Added Stern, who later guested on Maher's "Real Time", "I felt awful that we weren't talking for so long because I'm such a fan of this show and I think this show is so necessary right now."

One common bond is that they both state they're liberals but intolerant of the bull***t on the far-left" (per Deadline). Still, the previous disagreements between the two remain legendary, especially after 9/11. Stern made public his anger over Maher's assessment that the terrorists weren't cowardly, while Maher made fun of Stern's livid request for the U.S. to bomb foreign nations after the attacks, per Classicalite. The war of words between two headstrong broadcasters seems to have come to an end.