Bill Maher Addresses N-Word Gaffe on Real Time: 'Thank You for Letting a Sinner In Your Midst'

Bill Maher wasted no time tackling the elephant in the room on Friday’s Real Time.

Quick refresh: Maher incurred widespread wrath last week when, midway through his Real Time interview with junior senator Ben Sasse, he uttered the N-word. (Watch video of the gaffe by clicking here.) The following morning, HBO released a strongly worded statement condemning the former Politically Incorrect host’s crack, which was soon followed by Maher’s own mea culpa.

Friday nights are always my worst night of sleep because I’m up reflecting on the things I should or shouldn’t have said on my live show,” Maher said at the time. “Last night was a particularly long night as I regret the word I used in the banter of a live moment. The word was offensive and I regret saying it and am very sorry.”

On Friday’s Real Time, Maher kicked off the live broadcast by telling the enthusiastic studio audience, “Thank you for letting a sinner in your midst.” He then quickly segued to current events, specifically Thursday’s James Comey hearing. “There’s someone who had a worse week than me…” Maher said, referring to President Donald Trump.

Maher’s first guest on Friday’s show was Georgetown University professor and author Michael Eric Dyson, who stepped in for Al Franken after the senator cancelled his appearance in the wake of the N-word dustup. “I did a bad thing,” Maher conceded to Dyson. “For black folks, that word has caused pain. I’m not here to do that. That’s why I apologized freely, and why I reiterated it tonight.”

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  1. Rocky says:

    No apologies necessary Bill, gone are the days where I’m offended by anyone’s ignorance. I’m African American and we need to set an example for ourselves as well for using the word in everyday conversations and music videos. I was never offended and I’m still a fan of yours.

    • DryHeat says:

      It was a teachable moment, though…what Dyson, Sanders & Cube said are things that a lot of people need to hear, IMO. ;-)

    • nuschler12 says:

      You aren’t black. Don’t be apologizing if you’re white.

      • Dysturbed says:

        What makes you convinced that he isn’t black? Is it the fact that he happens to have an opinion that goes against what you believe he should have? I’m not suggesting that’s absolutely your rationality because maybe I’m interpreting your post wrong, but am curious if that’s what it is.

  2. Kevin Tran says:

    Maher is a “sinner” after his use of a race word on last Friday’s show. If Bill himself not only that he should lose his job but what about the future of his show Real Time.

  3. mary says:

    Too funny! The self proclaimed atheist calls himself a “sinner”. I couldn’t care less that he used the word. When the double standard, and prevalence in rap music is removed, then let’s have this conversation. I’m Irish…should I be outraged if someone calls me a “Mick” or my Italian heritage husband “Wop”? Nope, don’t care.

    • Linda H. says:

      Totally agreed friend. Having been the child of an Italian father and French mother born in the 40s, I was exposed to the “Dago” word through the first half of my life. I didn’t expect people to be fired over it. I considered the source and let it ride. If anything, it taught me not everyone liked me and I didn’t need to like them. Period.

  4. larry says:

    Sorry, for a guy who makes a living criticizing others, he has no leeway. It’s called HYPOCRISY and it’s in a liberal’s DNA. They play by an elitist type set of rules. Any behavior that that is outrageous can simply be explained by saying “I’m sorry”. Maher, Bee and Griffin have all done or said things that conservatives would be vilified for, and yet they say “I’m sorry” and all is forgiven and forgotten. That is total crap! PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!

  5. Tom Dyer says:

    Why does Bill Maher get a pass on this? Is it because he’s so witty? Is because we’re supposed to know he was only joking? I was watching this on HBO, I was shocked that anyone with his education would ever use that term, and he’s always poking fun at others, what they say, inferring that only a lack of education could cause such out-dated thinking. He’s a hypocrite of the worst kind, it makes me wonder what he says off air, and what kind of jokes he tells his friends. HBO should drop him, I’ve watched his program for the last time. Where is the indignation from the press, organizations that have fought these kind of things for years, and a public out cry for more than “I’m sorry”. Do you think he really means it? I wonder. I think he’d say anything, because he wants to keep his job, and still cross boundaries off limits to common folks…….

  6. Mike K says:

    It’s amazing how double standards are applied in this country. Paula Dean admits she used the “N” word 10 years prior and apologizes and regrets it. Calls are made for her cooking show to be cancelled, sponsors to drop her, books cancelled and the works. Bill Maher says the “N” word on live TV, in response to a question about working in the fields, and “YAWN” from all his liberal supporters. The double standard is hypocritical at best and outrageous at worst. I’m sure Bill Maher will be writing out a huge hush money check to “Rev” Al Sharpton/”Rev” Jesse Jackson to make sure he is in their good graces…..absolutely, utterly disgraceful………..

  7. Virginia Gonzalez-Watson says:

    I think that anyone who uses the N word is ignorant black or whit, why would you want to use a word invented to degrade and belittle be used by anyone like I told my kids, we are Hispanic by the way, would you like to hear “hey, my spic, what up ?! I don’t think so. These words should be removed from our language. But also the fact that American Africans, that’s right not African American I think that’s backwards, I call myself an American Puerto Rican. I am American of Puerto Rican Decent so the American should come first. Well anyways the fact that American Africans throw the N word around so easily, makes other people of other backgrounds think it’s o.k. to use it too.!!!!! All this crap and indignance hey these are comedians and their human, they make mistakes we shouldn’t go over board firing them and what not, such as, Kathie Griffith, o.k. you should never joke about killing anyone but hell look at the idiot we have in the white house and all the insulting things he’s done and said, and yet there he still is!

  8. Maureen says:

    Really? We “all” make mistakes and no-one has the right to preach or judge anyone!
    Respect each other is key.Apology was stated endlessly….Too much to be concerned with the endless lecture of Bills’ guests Friday with the state of everyones’ affairs of OUR AMERICA!!
    R E S P E C T!

  9. Maureen says:

    Really? We “all” make mistakes and no-one has the right to preach or judge anyone!
    Respect each other is key.Apology was stated endlessly….Too much to be concerned with the endless lecture of Bills’ guests Friday with the state of everyones’ affairs of OUR AMERICA!!
    R E S P E C T!

  10. G. C. says:

    I know that there was no malice with what Bill said. Entertainers and the like are all very spontaneous and that sort of thing happens all the time. Knowing it won’t happen again. We all love Bill and can all let this go…finally.

  11. Captain Morton S. Levin, USMCR (Ret) says:

    As a white Marine Corps officer in 1950’s. I had an all black platoon and heard the “n” word and “mother——” constantly from my troops but it was understood that it was ok from the inside but not from the outside. I never did and never would use that language. My platoon was filled with great marines.