Bill Maher Tells Larry King That America is 'A Stupid Country with Stupid People'

Whenever comedians make jokes about America or its people, folks are quick to defend their statements as being innocent and intentionally sarcastic just to evoke laughter. The implication is that such entertainers really don’t hate America, or Republicans for that matter, but are just kidding. Well, on August 28, Bill Maher was Larry King’s guest (replayed on September 2), and his statements about the United States and her people should quell the view that opinions he is expressing on HBO’s “Real Time” such as those identified here are done so just to get a laugh (audio link to follow with full transcript).

For example, Maher showed little regard for America by stating (emphasis mine): “You know, this country is, I've said this before, I'm going to keep saying it, it's a pitiful, helpless giant.” Think he was kidding? Later, Maher elaborated: “Again, because it's a stupid country with stupid people who don't pay attention.”

But Maher was just warming up. Early on in the interview, Maher once again expressed his anti-theistic proclivities (emphasis mine): “Well, first of all I think the bottom line is that religion makes people arrogant. One of the things I don't like about religion is I think it is arrogance...I think religion is usually, especially in this country, it's arrogance masquerading as humility.”

Later, he went after Republicans in a pretty childish fashion (emphasis mine): “They're bad at sex. They're pasty, unattractive white people, and if you had to have sex with them it would be over in an excruciating three minutes.”

Next, he went after Sen. George Allen (R-Virginia) and President Bush (emphasis mine):

“The point is George Allen and we've had him on the show, he's a nice guy. But he's another guy cut in the mold of George Bush. In other words, dim. Sorry, Senator Allen. I know you probably won't be coming back on my show now, but that's the truth. He's not a bright guy. And his excuse, we can concentrate on what an idiot I am or we can look to the future.”

Finally, Maher demonstrated his utter ignorance of geopolitics when King asked if America is better off with Saddam gone (emphasis mine): “We are not better off. We were never better off because Saddam was actually a bulwark against terrorism.” Some bulwark, Bill. How about the $25,000 he would regularly give to the families of successful Palestinian homicide bombers? Or, doesn’t that count? Maher continued: “He would never have allowed al Qaeda in Iraq. And I know people say oh, yes, there was al Qaeda. Yes, there was a few al Qaeda in the northern part of the country, which he did not control.” Nice piece of revisionist history, Bill. Those "few al Qaeda" actually comprised a terrorist training camp where Musab al-Zarqawi took refuge after America attacked Afghanistan. Who's dim now, Bill?

What follows is a transcript of this interview, along with an audio link sent to me by someone at the American Patriot Friends Network.


MAHER: What are you looking at sugar? I own Malibu. I have said this many times. Drinking and anti-Semitism do not mix. If you have to drink and hate Jews and drive get a designated hater, please.

Now, Mel Gibson has issued his apologies. I guess they are sincere. I'll tell you what does not look good. Today he signed a three picture deal with Hezbollah.


KING: What do you make of that whole story?

MAHER: Well, I'm glad you showed a clip from my Amazon show. That shows we're embracing the Internet. Well, first of all I think the bottom line is that religion makes people arrogant. One of the things I don't like about religion is I think it is arrogance...

KING: You're blaming religion?

MAHER: I think religion is usually, especially in this country, it's arrogance masquerading as humility. I think, you know, when Mel Gibson said, "I own Malibu" that doesn't surprise me because when you think you have absolutely certitude about what happens after you die and who God is that's awfully arrogant to me.

We can't get things right here on earth. We're always wrong about stuff, day-to-day stuff. And to think that you know what happens and who God is and that's where that all comes from.

And, I'm telling you something, Mel Gibson does not know what happens when you die and who God is. How do I know that, because I don't know and Mel Gibson does not have powers of perception that I do not have. When I hear Mel...

KING: He may have belief you don't have though.

MAHER: Yes, but it's more than belief. These people, please, it's a lot more than belief. That's what faith is. It's saying I know for sure 100 percent. And when I hear Mel Gibson say things like, "I love the Jews. I pray for them. I pray for them." In other words, the little darlings they're too benighted. They don't know what happens when we die. They don't know about Jesus, so I have to pray for them. You know what, you can -- CNN sorry, not HBO there (INAUDIBLE).

KING: What did you make of the whole Middle East thing about Hezbollah?

MAHER: Well, I wrote a -- we were just talking about Arianna in the back. I wrote a little blog for Arianna about that because it was her birthday, you know. I'm not a big blogger but when it's her birthday you can't turn her down. And I was saying that to me, you know, the world is Mel Gibson because the world is anti-Semitic.

KING: The world?

MAHER: Absolutely and the proof of that is that they ask Israel to maintain a level of restraint when they're attacked that no other country would ever be asked to uphold.

I mean can you imagine if there was a terrorist organization that took over the country on our northern border, which would be Canada, and they started shelling us in our northern cities and Minnesota and Bangor, Maine was being shelled, what do you think George Bush would do?

I think he would nuke them before breakfast. And, look, you know I don't like George Bush but he is the best president we've ever had on Israel because for some reason he gets that.

I think the reason he gets it is because he's a crazy evangelical Christian. He thinks the world is going to end in our lifetime, so Israel needs to be in the hands of the people who it was in the hands of when Jesus returns which would be the Jews. That's why the Christians do so.

KING: Did Hezbollah in a sense though PR wise win that?

MAHER: PR wise of course because the media always likes the underdog or what they perceive as the underdog, not that they're really the underdog at this point. Did you see those pictures of Hezbollah handing out cash?

I had Spike Lee on Friday night and I was saying, you know, when you see Katrina a year later these people can't get help. A day after the war ended there is Hezbollah handing out and peeling off hundred dollar bills, American, U.S. currency, hundred dollar bills.

KING: Where did it come from, Iran?

MAHER: Where did it come from? It came from U.S. consumers buying gasoline. I wish someone would do a little tape where they would morph that, morph the guy at the pump paying for his gasoline here in America into the Hezbollah guy peeling off those hundred dollar bills. Yes, we buy gasoline. It does to Iran because they sell us the oil. They get the money to Hezbollah. Hezbollah shells Israel. It's a continuum.

So, you know, I feel really bad for Lebanon. I'm sorry you got your country all bombed up. But, you know, when you let a terrorist organization take over your country that's what's going to happen. I'll tell you two Arab countries that never get bombed, Egypt and Jordan, because they made a peace treaty with Israel. Try it.

KING: Yes. All right, we're going to take a break, folks.

By the way, Bill will be doing a stand up performance at the Kiva Auditorium in Albuquerque Saturday.

MAHER: Kiva.

KING: Kiva.

MAHER: There are sacred Indians there. You can't mispronounce their name. You'll have bad spirits.

KING: You say tomato, I say tomato.

And next day, Sunday, he'll perform September 3rd at the Grove.

MAHER: In Anaheim.

KING: Can't mispronounce that, in Anaheim.

And we'll be back. We'll also have e-mails and some phone calls and lots of other subjects to cover with the omnipresent, always present, welcomingly present Bill Maher. Don't go away.


MAHER: Forget about the anti-Semitism. What about driving through Malibu at 90 miles an hour drunk? It is getting so bad on PCH Britney Spears doesn't feel safe leaving her baby on the curb anymore.



MAHER: We're aware that we cannot take certain liquids and gels anymore but there are some things that you cannot take on the plane, martyr sauce, come on, Dr. Scholl's shoe bomb inserts. I tell you right there, soap on a fuse, behead and shoulders. Arm & Hamas baking soda. Now, come on. Pray & wash. And of course, watch out for Pezbollah.


KING: That's funny. Bill Maher is our guest. Friday nights on HBO, "Real Time With Bill Maher" is back. The books are out, the DVD. What, you wanted to add something on that?

MAHER: I just wanted to say that the world can't have it both ways with the Jews. After World War II everybody said how could the Jews have gone to the slaughter? How could they just have let the Nazis line them up, they willing willingly took off their clothes, they got shot, they marched in to the gas chambers.

KING: Hannah Arendt (ph).

MAHER: Oh yes. The banality of evil she called it. OK, so they wanted the Jews to defend themselves? Well now they're defending themselves. You can't have it both ways. KING: We have an e-mail from Carla of Denver, Colorado. Question, who do you think would make a good Democratic candidate for president?

MAHER: Anyone who would get his testicles out of Al Gore's lock box, which is apparently where they left them at the last election. Nobody so far because no Democrat really steps forward and makes the case.

KING: Hillary?

MAHER: Of what should be the opposition party. Least of all Hillary.

KING: Least of all?

MAHER: Well, yes. Because we've talked about this before. She's in the John Kerry, Al Gore camp, which is to try to go after the Republican voter, that NASCAR-driving, beer-swilling, goose-hunting voter, instead of the 79 million people who didn't vote at all. How about somebody who was really angry? Because I think a lot of people in this country are really angry.

KING: Biden?

MAHER: Biden's good. I like Biden a lot. But --

KING: What about, are you still a McCain fan on the Republican side?

MAHER: He's losing me and a lot of people.

KING: Because?

MAHER: Well, did you see what he said today about Bob Jones University?

KING: No, what did he say?

MAHER: Well he said I might go to Bob Jones. This is the guy who in 2000 said George Bush went to Bob Jones, I would never go there, I would say to them, why don't you come out of the 16th century and come into the 21st century? Well, I don't think they've made up those 500 years since he last ran for president.

KING: James Carville says if Democrats can't win in this environment we have to question the whole premise of the party.

MAHER: Absolutely true.

KING: Connecticut Senate race. Joe Lieberman. What do you think?

MAHER: You know, Joe Lieberman is a selfish guy. He's proved that twice. Because in 2000 he could have helped the Democratic party and therefore I think the nation, by either choosing to run for the Senate or run for vice president. He said no, it's more important for me to still be around. And that's what he's saying this time. It's more important for me to run as an independent. I'm going to be the representative of Connecticut, whether the voters like it or not. This from the guy who criticized Bill Clinton for being immoral because he had sex in the Oval Office.

KING: He's ahead in the polls, though.

MAHER: Yes, he is. I'm sure he is. Because the Republicans are not even backing their own candidate. That's why. But this is always what happens with that Republican party. They are somehow able to conflate real morals and values with sex. Because they're Republicans, Larry. They're bad at sex. They're pasty, unattractive white people, and if you had to have sex with them it would be over in an excruciating three minutes. So what they always like to do is conflate sex with morals. You know, Joe Lieberman was so upset about Bill Clinton and his horrible morals. Well, Joe Lieberman should look at his own morals.

KING: The controversy over Virginia Senator George Allen, who used the word macaca when referring to one of his opponent's campaign volunteers.

MAHER: I thought macaca was something a kid said when they had to go to the bathroom. I've never heard this. This is like you remember the movie "Mean Streets?"

KING: Sure.

MAHER: Martin Scorsese's first movie and there's this fight in a bar because somebody called somebody a mook. And they have a big fight and then they go, what's a mook? Nobody had heard the word.

KING: Macaca apparently is a bad word for Indians, from India, not American Indians.

MAHER: Oh, I thought it was a bad term for blacks.

KING: No, a term for Indians.

MAHER: See, you don't even know what it means. We don't even know --

KING: But the kid who he said it about is an A student.

MAHER: The point is George Allen and we've had him on the show, he's a nice guy. But he's another guy cut in the mold of George Bush. In other words, dim. Sorry, Senator Allen. I know you probably won't be coming back on my show now, but that's the truth. He's not a bright guy. And his excuse, we can concentrate on what an idiot I am or we can look to the future.

I think at this point in our history, with the peril we're in in so many areas we really need a bright guy next time. How about a bright guy? How about an elitist? I know that's become a bad word but what if people just sat back and went, wait a second, elitist that means somebody who's elite, someone better than me, smarter than me? Because what are we trying now?

KING: Jefferson was an elitist, was he not?

MAHER: And he was a lot smarter. As opposed to this theory of go with the mediocratist.

KING: After the break, by the way, we'll include your phone calls and some more e-mails. It's the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

MAHER: After the break we'll include your hate mail.

KING: First anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Have we learned anything?

MAHER: I doubt it. Do we ever learn anything about anything?

KING: Usually after the fact hopefully we learn something.

MAHER: Well, I think what people learned down there is that you cannot count on government, certainly can't count on this government. What I learned ...

KING: How did they miss that? I mean, it was on television. No movie, it was on television.

MAHER: Right. What's really amazing is that George Bush is going to go down there and somehow spin it as a success. Half the population hasn't come back. I mean, the streets aren't even cleaned. It's so sad. You know, this country is, I've said this before, I'm going to keep saying it, it's a pitiful, helpless giant, in the phrase of Richard M. Nixon. And I know people hear that and they go, oh, Bill Maher, there you go hating America first. I don't hate America.

I want to love America because I want America to be what it used to be. And what it is is that country that we used to look at and go, oh, god, these poor people can't do anything. Why are they so listless and incapable of handling stuff? But now we're that country. We can't get off the oil. We can't do anything. We can't homeland security. We can't wear sheep at the airport. Whatever they try to do at the airport, that we somehow wind up, oh, now we have to check our liquids.

I said on the show Friday night, if someone put a bomb under their hat or in their big Afro, we'd all be shaving our heads at the airport, Larry. We're fighting the last war there. We're just a dummy. This country is dumb. It's like a muscle bound wrestler in high school that can't do anything except beat up a guy.

KING: Yet here you can go on television and attack us at the same time.

MAHER: Yes, that's right. We still have free speech.

KING: Thank god. We'll come right ...

MAHER: We'll see after the commercial. Once the hook comes out.

KING: If he's not here when we come back, we'll go to your calls and some e-mails right after this.


MAHER: A German publication did an interview with the president and asked Mr. Bush what was his best moment of his presidency, and he said it was the day that he caught a 7 1/2-pound perch. I couldn't make that up. Now, he leaves out the part that he was fishing in downtown New Orleans.



MAHER: If Latino immigrants want to be taken seriously, they have to stop wearing the giant hats. The civil rights marchers in the '50s didn't dress like Buckwheat and carry watermelons. You're a proud immigrant demanding his rights, not the Frito Bandido.


KING: Bill Maher's our guest. Watsonville, California. We're getting some calls, hello.

CALLER: Hello.


CALLER: Hi, Bill.


CALLER: I love you. You're one of my favorite people.

MAHER: Oh, thank you. You can come to the party.

CALLER: Thanks. Anyway, I'd like to say, I'd like your input on Schwarzenegger. I know that you've said a lot about him. But living in Watsonville, we have a problem -- we've had a problem with Maria Shriver coming and being ousted.

KING: Being ousted?


KING: What do you mean ousted?

CALLER: The Mexican-American people don't like her here, and I am Mexican-American. I am also Native American Indian. And I don't think Schwarzenegger is a really good guy.

KING: We'll see what Bill thinks. MAHER: If you're Mexican-American, you're going to love Pat Buchanan's new book. It's called "I Hate Brown People."

KING: It's almost called that.

MAHER: It's almost called that. And it's so funny because his premise is that by 2050, the white waspy people will be less than half the country and my God, they're running it so perfectly, how could we get rid of them? What we need is more waspy people like George Bush and his delinquent son.

Anyway, what was the question? Oh, Schwarzenegger. You know, I like Arnold Schwarzenegger, I do. I mean, I thought when he ran it was a ridiculous election. But he -- look, if he's the future of the Republican Party, he's done a great service to this country because he would move the Republican Party way toward the center. He's a lot more sensible about stuff than the hard right Evangelical Christians who've taken that party over.

I read in the paper today that he's considering a bill that would allow us to grow hemp -- hemp. I would put that in that long list of things that make us a pitiful, helpless giant, that we're so stupid that we can't even take advantage of this very valuable crop. Not another tree would have to be cut down if we could grow hemp. And we can't apparently grow hemp because it's a cousin of the evil drug marijuana, which should be legal, too. We won't go into that. But as I always say to people, if you think hemp is dangerous, try getting high on it.

KING: Let's go to an e-mail question from Josh of Lansing, Michigan. Do you think the administration will try and capitalize on its trusty fear tactics to advance its agenda for an Iran invasion?

MAHER: Yes, I do. It's the only card they can ever play. You know, it's funny. George Bush always talks about how evil the Iranian president is and he is. You know, like anybody who says that the Jews should be driven into the sea, not on the top of my list and I'm not even Jewish.

But I really don't like the president of Iran. But somehow George Bush doesn't understand that he's doing what George Bush does. He's talking to his base. George Bush doesn't really believe that gay marriage is evil, either. But he's rallying the base so he can win an election.

That's what the Iranian guy is doing. And could we at least have a debate on whether this is an impossibility, that Iran be allowed the nuclear weapon before we invade them? I mean, Pakistan is a Muslim country full of people who want to kill us. And they have a nuclear bomb. Somehow that's OK.

KING: Cortez, Colorado, hello.


KING: Hi. CALLER: I have a question. I would really like to see Bill have a special show and interview -- actually several special shows and interview political candidates. I am a big fan of "Real Time" but I think we need more exposure of the candidates.

KING: Bill?

MAHER: I do, too.

KING: Usually you do have candidates on. Well, you have elected people.

MAHER: Very rarely. Candidates don't want to talk to me for a very good reason. I'm not someone like the rest of the people they talk to in the media, who let them get away with lying. Period. So we don't usually have a lot of candidates. I mean, I would be polite to them. But I would ask them, you know, to clarify positions...

KING: You wouldn't have the democratic candidate in Connecticut?

MAHER: We've invited all of them.

KING: You mean Lamont won't come on?

MAHER: Well I don't know if we've invited him. Yes, he probably would. Some of them do. But in general, we do a lot better with people who have just left office. People who can be honest. You can't be honest when you're running.

KING: Bill Maher's our guest. And by the way, Bill's "New York Times" best-seller "New Rules: Polite Musings from a Timid Observer" will be available in paperback on September 5th. And the DVD "New Rules" is still available.


MAHER: New rule, the outside world is not your house. Is it me or will people wear just about anything to the supermarket? When you hear that announcement over the P.A., cleanup on aisle 7, they're talking to you.



MAHER: And you know that if you use an Apple computer, they are recalling the batteries because apparently they burst into flames. So if you're surfing the net and you feel a burning sensation in your lap, it's either your battery or that chick you met on MySpace.


KING: What'd you make of the Emmys?

MAHER: Well, you know, Larry, that was 12 years that I've been nominated without a victory, which I think is some sort of a record.

KING: You're becoming like the girl on the soap opera.

MAHER: Except that I actually do something for a living on television. I'm kidding. She was great. But I think that it's like in subway when you buy like 10 sandwiches they give you a card and you can turn that in for one free one. I think if you're nominated 12 times you should just get a free one.

KING: Were you there?

MAHER: Yes, but I think I'm going to have to give a rest. And look, I'm thrilled to be nominated. I say that.

KING: Who beat you last night?

MAHER: Jon Stewart and "The Daily Show." I think they won three years in a row.

KING: Good show.

MAHER: Yes, quality show, no doubt about it. But, you know, I just think at a certain point you've got to take a hint. And I'm thrilled for the nomination, but I don't think I can do it again.

KING: E-mail question. Daniel in Fort MacMurray, Alberta, Canada. who was your biggest influence growing up? Biggest influence now.

MAHER: Probably Johnny Carson. If you really want to talk about influence and what that world means. It's something I watched every night and absorbed. And when you show those clips of me doing a monologue, you can see Johnny Carson's rhythm in there.

KING: And now you don't need one now.

MAHER: Well, I'm 50 now. I should be giving influence.

KING: We have another e-mail from Mark in New Pauls, New York. "You often say people who have no personal experience with drugs aren't qualified to talk about drugs. At the same time you rail against marriage, having never been married yourself." Your thoughts?

MAHER: Well, marriage is -- you can -- if you've never done acid you really don't know what doing acid is like. But you don't have to be married officially with the piece of paper to know what being married is like. Anytime you're in a long-term relationship, living with someone, that's marriage. I've been there. I know exactly what marriage would be like. And I'm going to stick with doing acid.

KING: You've been in -- will you ever get married?

MAHER: You know, I would never say never.

KING: You don't have a thing against it, then? MAHER: I don't. And I know it works for a lot of people. They're called women. No. It does work for people. I know that. I'm just not the personality type, and I'm not going to purposely go into something I know is a mistake.

KING: Have you changed your thoughts since my little boy is here tonight?

MAHER: I heard the screaming and yelling backstage. I was trying to work. I felt like I was on a Southwest flight.

KING: Have you changed...

MAHER: But I heard you teaching him the old Jack Benny routine. It was so darling. Larry kept saying...

KING: Cannon does it great, your money or your life.

MAHER: But the line is not I'm thinking about it. The line is, I'm thinking.

KING: About it.


KING: About it.

MAHER: You want to bet? I said you want to bet? And Larry went I'm thinking.

KING: But he does it good.

What about children? Have you at all changed?

MAHER: No. That I have not changed on.

KING: At what age do you begin to accept them as part of the culture?

MAHER: When they're old enough to date.

KING: But you were a child once yourself.

MAHER: Stop saying that to me, Larry. Yes, I was a child once.

KING: So you hated yourself?

MAHER: I certainly did. I certainly didn't like pooping in my pants. I was like when can I get out of this age bracket?

king: We'll be back with our remaing moments with Bill Maher right after this. Don't go away.


MAHER: Keep Jesus out of strip clubs. A former dancer from Las Vegas has founded JC's Girls, a ministry that brings the healing power of the Lord directly to America's strip clubs and adult businesses.

Do you people have to ruin everything? You've got the White House, the Congress, the Supreme Court. Can't you leave us heathens a couple of titty bars out by the airport?



MAHER: CNN, to mark the fifth anniversary of 9/11 is going to be replaying their original coverage of that day. Let's just hope that President Bush doesn't tune in and go, oh, my God, they've done it again.


KING: By the way, just to set the record straight, CNN will re- air its coverage of 9/11 2001 on our Internet service, called Pipeline. So you'll see it front to back...

MAHER: I had that wrong. My apologies.

KING: On Pipeline. It's OK. But it was still...

MAHER: A funny joke.

KING: A funny line. 9/11. We have not had a terrorist attack since. We have foiled one in Britain. And in that area...

MAHER: What do you mean we foiled one in Britain. We didn't.

KING: The president gets high marks in the only area so far in the latest polls is in home security.

MAHER: Again, because it's a stupid country with stupid people who don't pay attention.

We didn't foil anything. The British did. If it was us, we probably would have blown that terrorist cell three months ago because we're so anxious to hold up anybody and say look how good we're doing in the war on terror.

And by the way, it just proves that what John Kerry said in 2004 is the right way to fight terror. With policework. I know that doesn't sound good to the musclebound American who wants to think we can win this by having the biggest, baddest army. But it's not a war you're going to win with an army, as Iraq proves.

John Kerry said this is a law enforcement problem. And that's exactly how they defeated those terrorists -- with good old-fashioned police work.

KING: And where's Iraq going? MAHER: Downhill, of course. And I think the key thing there is that obviously we have started the civil war, which was brewing before we got there, but we really ripped the lid off it. It's going to be a civil war between the entire Muslim world, between the Shias and the Sunnis. And what we have to figure out is how to take advantage of the civil war. You know, George Bush...

KING: What do you mean?

MAHER: Take advantage of it. Instead of saying we're fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here. How about they're fighting each other there so we don't have to fight them here? George Bush's plan is to unite our enemies. But you know, a wise man said many thousands of years ago, divide your enemies.

Well, our enemies are divided. We have to, now that we have started this civil war, find a way -- first of all, just get out. It's not going to get better while we're here. Just get out.

And this idea that people are making all sorts of predictions, if we leave then Iran will come in, Turkey -- you know what? I've never heard one prediction about Iraq that came true. Let's just get out and see what happens.

KING: Are we better off with Saddam gone?

MAHER: We are not better off. We were never better off because Saddam was actually a bulwark against terrorism. He would never have allowed al Qaeda in Iraq. And I know people say oh, yes, there was al Qaeda. Yes, there was a few al Qaeda in the northern part of the country, which he did not control.

KING: He didn't like bin Laden, right?

MAHER: He hated bin Laden. So the world certainly is not better off without Saddam. And I don't know if even Iraq is better off without Saddam.

You ask the people in Iraq now. Because you know, we're running out of things that Saddam did that we don't do like torture, rape. About the only one left is mass graves. So in a lot of ways we are Saddam except for one thing, he at least had control of his country.

KING: Always good to see you Bill.

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