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Originally published June 21, 2013 at 5:31 AM | Page modified June 21, 2013 at 9:57 AM

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Bill Maher’s politics of humor

Throwing comedic digs at both the right and the left, Bill Maher comes to the Paramount Theatre Saturday, June 22.

Special to The Seattle Times

Comedy Preview

Bill Maher

7 p.m. Saturday, Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle; $31.25-$81.25 (877-784-4849 or

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Whether it’s on his HBO talk show, on Twitter or in his stand-up comedy, Bill Maher’s untethered tongue roils folks on both the left and the right of the political spectrum.

Maher’s fiery brand of political humor has made him enemies in Donald Trump, comedian Wayne Brady and ex-Gov. Sarah Palin, who tweeted: “I’m in your neck of the woods this weekend, little Bill. Care to meet so I can tell you how I really feel?” This came after Maher made an offensive and insensitive joke about Palin’s special-needs son.

The comedian and political commentator, who plays the Paramount on Saturday, spoke over the phone recently about his brand of comedy and the thinness of people’s skin when it comes to humor.

“Stand-up comedy is certainly driven by what’s gonna get the biggest laugh,” Maher said. “People ask me, why are you so hard on the Republicans? Because they are stupider.”

The “Real Time” host is not short on reasons why he thinks that.

“Democrats don’t claim that we don’t have to worry about global warming because God promised Noah in the Bible that he wouldn’t try to wipe out the world again,” Maher said.

If that’s the kind of raw meat that Maher’s liberal audience is looking for, they’ll get it, but not before Maher gives them a dose of their own.

“The fight I have with liberals is that lately they do not understand when I talk about problems with religion, especially Islam, they conflate it with some sort of bigotry or racism when it’s only about incompatible beliefs,” Maher said.

Maher, who says he’s not a registered Democrat, made headlines in the 2012 election when he donated $1 million to President Obama’s campaign. Despite that investment, Maher says he still finds plenty to criticize the president for.

“I’ve often had to tell my liberal audience, he’s not your boyfriend, he’s the president,” Maher said.

On who has a thicker skin, Maher gives credit to conservatives and Republican guests on his show.

“They’re happy warriors. They are always smiling. I feel like half the time they know that they’re playing a weak hand in whatever nonsense they’re there to justify or defend,” Maher said.

His prediction for the 2016 presidential race? A matchup of Hillary Clinton vs. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

“I think Hillary will win. I think this country wants the first woman president, and she’s obviously the one who has paid her dues to get it,” Maher predicted.

Maher’s stand-up act pushes people’s buttons and generates as much outrage as it does laughter. Audiences should prepare for both.

Jeff Albertson: 206-464-2304 or

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