The word that they're upset about. I never said on this show.What is he referring to? He did call Sarah Palin a "dumb twat" on the show. (See?)
It was in my standup act, which I consider the last bastion of free speech.The word, apparently, is "cunt," and he used it in his standup show. He tones it down a notch for HBO.
There's a reason people compare me to George Carlin — 'cause we're standup comedians.By the way, "twat" wasn't even on Carlin's original list of "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television." "Cunt" was. Later, Carlin expanded the list, and "twat" got on along with "fart" and "turd." It's like a late year in the history of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, when The Beatles and The Rolling Stones got in long ago, like 2002 and they're getting around to Gene Pitney and Brenda Lee. It's an analogy! I don't owe Brenda an apology. If people are too dumb to handle analogies, why do we even have democracy? Let's just make Obama king, stop talking about politics, and spend our lives dancing and singing.
Did you watch that Carlin clip? Astounding! Maher cites "people" who compare him to George Carlin. He doesn't dare claim the comparison sprang out of his own semi-bald dome. But I'll compare him to Carlin: Bill Maher is not at all as funny or perceptive as George Carlin. Now that's a comparison. What did those other people who compared Maher to Carlin say? I'd like to know, because I'd like to do a comparison comparison. I think mine is better.
Back to this quote from last night that I'm trying to analyze:
Rush Limbaugh likes to say he's a comedian.No, he doesn't! Rush's critics like to call him a comedian. When it suits their purposes. Other times they like to say he's the spokesman for the Republican Party. And that's what Rush likes to say. I listen to the show all the time, so I know what he likes to say. Unlike a lot of people who love to hate Rush and simply react to out-of-context quotes they've been fed.
But Rush uses humor. He likes to "use absurdity to illustrate the absurd."
You know what, Rush, when you can stand up in front of an audience of 3,000 people all the time like I do and make them spill their fuckin' guts out and laugh their asses off for 90 minutes, you're a comedian.Rush doesn't do theater shows — which tend to be scripted with crafted jokes told one after the other — and let's grant Maher that Rush would be bad at that. But Rush does sit down at a microphone 3 hours a day, 5 days a week and hold the attention of not 3,000 people but many millions. For 20 years. Maher could not do that. These are different activities. Both deploy humor as they talk about politics, but they do it in a different way. Maher's bragging that he's doing much more than Rush... it's as off as the implication that he's as good as Carlin.
But you're not a comedian. And when you do that, I say, my rule: You get a little extra leeway.Each humorist can decide for himself how much leeway he's going to take. And people will decide whether to give it to him. He can't dictate a rule, except as a joke. You don't get the leeway because you do standup comedy (or a radio show using absurdity to illustrate absurdity). You get what people feel like giving you. And what we feel is a response to what you do. It's a mystery why we feel the way we do. We're not following any rules. It's a personal relationship, like love.
But if I offended women, I'm sorry. I don't have a problem saying I'm sorry.Oh, but you do, Bill. Because that is not an apology. It's easy to say "I'm sorry" in the sorry-if-you-are-offended form, i.e., a nonapology.
I don't know why women would want to align themselves with Sarah Palin. I don't know why an insult to her is an insult to all women, but if it is, I'm sorry.If... and obviously, you don't think it is. The joke — not a terribly good one, not anything that's going to make us spill our "fuckin' guts" out over— is that women shouldn't see Sarah Palin as one of the women who count. If we can isolate her over there with the bad people, we can call her a name that is specific to women: a "cunt." Is the use of a woman-specific insult something that switches the subject to all women? That is, is "cunt" like a racist epithet? If one black person is called the n-word, the topic ceases to be whether that one black person is a bad guy. Or is "cunt" like "dick"? If one guy is called a "dick," we stay on topic: the way that one guy is a "dick." I wrote "cunt," "dick," and "n-word," so you can see what my answer is. I'm for sexual equality... and abandoning the famously hurtful racial epithet.
So let humorists of all kinds select the language they want to use. Let them be gentle or cutting. There are all sorts of things you can do with words. There are no rules. There are no 7 dirty words for TV or extra leeway for extracting puke from 3,000 theater-ticket buyers. There is a mystery to using words to reach other human beings, and you're all on your own.