Bill Maher: Be More Cynical (review)

Get new reviews in your email in-box or in an app by becoming a paid Substack subscriber or Patreon patron.

It’s hard to believe that this could be a kinder, gentler Bill Maher than we’ve seen of late, but this HBO comedy special was taped in 2000, before Maher ran afoul of the new post-9/11 miasma created by the new political correctness bumping up against a contraction of personal freedom, before he got real crotchety. Provocative and angry — but perhaps not quite so bitter as he’s justifiably become recently — Maher here rails against the confluence of politics and advertising, the dumbing down of our culture to “protect the children,” and the senseless double standards that influence the behavior of men and women across gender lines. As pop-culture literate as Dennis Miller but without the thick coating of smarm and smug superiority — “We don’t have two [political] parties in this country,” he notes, “we have identical cousins played by Patty Duke” — Maher is a smart, witty crank who effortlessly skewers hypocrisy, groupthink, and dogma while never losing sight of the fact that his primary job here is to entertain.

share and enjoy