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Maher brings laughter to UH

Bill Maher | Alberto Tolot/HBO

The Cullen Performance Hall was rocking with applause and laughter on Saturday night for the stand-up comedian Bill Maher. He talked and joked about a range of issues including Sarah Palin, President Obama, the health care debate and the infamous Snuggie.

Maher began his performance by talking about the U.S. economy and how it doesn’t produce much of anything anymore. He said all this country makes now are the TV products Snuggie and ShamWow. His opening commentary primed the audience for a night of laughs and expletive ridden jokes.

Maher started his career as a stand-up comedian in 1979. Since then he has appeared in several movies and won several awards for his TV shows.

His last movie Religulous, released in 2008, won the New Visions Award at the Catalonian International Film Festival for non-fiction motion picture, according to

“I think Bill Maher is a very insightful political comedian,” Eamon Briggs, UH Law student said.  “I really appreciated the work he did on his show and some of his movies since then, such as Religulous and I am happy to finally see him in person. I’m looking to laugh, but what also makes him great is that he can make you think along the way.”

This was Briggs’ first time to see Maher live. At the end of the performance Briggs said that UH students could have gained a lot from coming to Maher’s show.  Briggs said he would absolutely attend another performance by Maher.

Maher spoke about the economy and the state of America. “There is no doubt that Obama has inherited a bigger mess than anybody,” Maher said. “He is definitely the maid after Led Zeppelin has been in the room.” This joke drew loud applause from the crowd, possibly the largest of his performance.

Talk of conservatives in America comprised much of the show.  Maher said, “I don’t wish America was stupid, but it is.” He also went on to say that he didn’t hate America and pointed out famous American historical figures like Thomas Jefferson, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mark Twain and Miles Davis. He then took a dig at former Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin, saying that she had never heard of these people.

In one of his more controversial moments of the show, Maher said the right wing loves the troops.

“Are you kidding me? The right wing loves the troops like Mike Vick loves dogs,” he said.

He also complained that the political right is just giving the troops and the rest of America lip service.

The Iraq War and oil was another topic that Maher tackled. He said the next time the U.S. goes to war for oil, we should make sure we get the oil.

In a recent article in the San Antonio Express-News, Maher had this to say about stand-up comedy.

“Stand-up comedy is the kind of thing where you don’t want to screw around with people. You want to make them laugh really hard,” Maher said. “You want to make their face hurt. You want to make them jump out of their chairs at the end of the show and go, ‘Wow! That guy really brung it.’ ”

In Houston, Maher brought it. He had the crowd laughing and the audience wasn’t at all tentative to his moves on stage, including a moonwalk he performed after his Michael Jackson skit.

The show probably wasn’t aimed at a conservative minded audience, since most of Maher’s jokes were directed at that group. But if you came to laugh and your political ideology leaned to the left, then you would have undoubtedly had a good time.

Maher’s show lasted approximately 80 minutes and was greeted by a standing ovation when he arrived and departed from the stage. According to a Cullen Performance Hall official, there were approximately 1,400 people in attendance.

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