There are just some words you never want to hear coming from a person’s mouth on television in a non-fictional situation. For instance, you never want to hear someone say “dingleberry,” because that’s just a disgusting word. You never want to hear the phrase “I, Kim Kardashian, take you, [next husband]…” ever again. And you never want to hear a television host use the n-word in a joking manner.
Well, Bill Maher doesn’t care what you want! He’ll attempt to use the n-bomb in a jokey way and you’ll like it! Television rebel Bill went there on his Real Time show last night.
Variety reports that Bill was interviewing Senator Ben Sasse (Republican from Minnesota) when he went there. Is Senator Sasse’s name pronounced “Sassy?” If so, I would have found a way to vote for him if he hadn’t laughed at Bill’s joke. (And that’s what i’m going to call him from now on.) Senator Sassy asked if Bill wanted “to come work in the field with us?”
Maher responded, “Work in the fields? Senator, I am a house n—.”
The comment drew laughs and groans from the audience, but Sasse laughed along.
He followed that up by saying it was just a joke. Because that always works when a white guy makes jokes about slavery.
As you can imagine, this did not go over well with the majority. Bill isn’t known for saving his bigotry bon mots for the bunker of secret racism that most guys like him build in their basements, so as to blend smoothly into society. People have been calling for his firing online, like Black Lives Matter leader Deray McKesson (who was helpful enough to include video):
— deray mckesson (@deray) June 3, 2017
He then added a follow-up tweet: “And why did the audience think it was okay to laugh? And Ben Sasse doesn’t even flinch. What is happening in the world?”
And Orange Is The New Black favorite Danielle Brooks (Taystee):
Unacceptable. And the audience applauds!?! So hurtful. https://t.co/V5yAk9C9ON
— Danielle Brooks (@thedanieb) June 3, 2017
Senator Sassy, noticing his future political ambitions leaping out the 15th-floor window, went into a shame spiral on Twitter.
“I’m a 1st Amendment absolutist. Comedians get latitude to cross hard lines. But free speech comes with a responsibility to speak up when folks use that word. Me just cringing last night wasn’t good enough.”
“Here’s what I wish I’d been quick enough to say in the moment. Hold up, why would you think it’s OK to use that word? The history of the n-word is an attack on universal human dignity. It’s therefore an attack on the American Creed. Don’t use it.”
And in L.A. this morning, Kathy Griffin’s “Career: Over” tears of sorrow transmogrified into “Thank you, Bill Maher!” tears of joy.