Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Politically Incorrect was a late-night political talk show hosted by Bill Maher first on Comedy Central and later on ABC, which cancelled it in 2002. Maher would interview four guests simultaneously who sat around him in front of a studio audience. The show was pioneering in mixing politicians and entertainers. For example, a politician might be seated next to an actor, and a pundit might be seated next to a comedian. Maher tried to air all points of view, especially controversial ones.
The demise of the show came after Maher made the following "politically incorrect" comment about the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center: "We have been the cowards lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly." Advertisers and sponsors pulled out and essentially brought on the cancellation of the show.
Ironically, Maher argued that he, of all people, couldn't be considered insensitive to the September 11 attacks. Conservative commentator Barbara Olson was a frequent guest on the show; she was on her way to a taping of it aboard American Airlines Flight 77 when she was killed. For about a month afterwards, Maher left one guest chair empty in her honor.
Maher now hosts Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO which is longer with no censorship of language, and no commercial breaks. Many complained that Politically Incorrect was to short, being only a half hour long with commercial breaks. Real Time is roughly similar to Politically Incorrect but is expanded in certain ways. Maher has made many jokes referencing back to Politically Incorrect. His jokes seem to indicate that he is resentful towards ABC for canceling the show, but that he prefers to be on HBO where he does not have to "whore" himself.
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