A few weeks later, Maher would answer a joke by Nebraska senator Ben Sasse with a similarly tone-deaf response.When Sasse extended an invitation to come work in Nebraska's fields, Maher playacted surprise and said, "I'm a house nigger." Whereas the Pocahontas remark prompted another round of an ancient Internet dispute—whether Maher is a misogynist, a dick, or a fearless political savant—the comment to Sasse sparked universal outrage.We looked at each other with a nervous curiosity that soon turned to actual alarm.Maher put down a binder of jokes and turned to Mark Monto, his gray-haired security guy, who is also a former pilot."We're going to be okay, right?"Then it was back to the airport for a flight to Texas.
At the regal Chicago Theatre, Maher stepped onstage in front of more than three thousand fans.
After noting that some people were disappointed with the president's lack of accomplishments, he paused before his punchline. In 2013, he mocked Trump's birtherism by offering million if Trump could prove that he wasn't the love child of an orange-haired orangutan.
The future president, determined to prove himself a thin-skinned primate by other means, sued over the joke, allowing Maher to carry on, in his words, "a three-month national debate over whether his mother fucked an ape." The week after his Putin joke, Maher would pantomime Ivanka Trump jerking off her father to keep him calm.
He finished his routine by urging a standing ovation for Maher, who blew a kiss to the audience as he moved toward his mark on the stage.'s format is a throwback to a seventies talk show—with a monologue, an interview, a panel discussion, some jokes, and a closing argument—but here everything is done without the benefit of breath-catching commercial breaks.
This setup sometimes leads to what can feel, in the moment, like a random car wreck, but Maher's been doing comedy for forty years.