The Centre for the Performing Arts in Vancouver
An Evening with Bill Maher

Date: 6 March, 2004, 8pm
:The Centre for the Performing Arts in Vancouver

Reviewer: Patricia Fleming




Not having seen Bill Maher on TV, but having read about him, it was a treat to spend a couple of hours listening to his stand up comedy routine on Saturday, (March 6) at the Centre, which was packed with a mixed crowd, some of whom had traveled fair distances (I talked to people from Chilliwack and Seattle) to catch his act.

He was very relaxed and we all laughed - a lot. He didn’t plug his book, or his new HBO show, and he talked non-stop for two hours, stopping only occasionally to drink water and look at his material prompter (notes on a music stand). Part political commentator, part comedian, there was definitely something to offend everyone. His repertoire was a mix of Bush, politics, religion, sex, state of the USA, drugs, East versus West, more Bush.. His remark that “The only person who got fired over 911 was me!” met with a great response (the right wing objected to comments Maher made that they thought were sympathetic to the terrorists) and this Emmy Award winning TV talk Show host lost his show.

A lot of Bush jokes, and they were well received “Bush is punishing world leaders like Jacques Chirac by not inviting them to his Texas Ranch and Jacques (who lives in Paris) is really upset made us chuckle.

Maher’s cryptic comments about his own country: It’s fear based and it has been feminized. Sensitivity is more important than truth and safety is more important than fun. Everyone eats way too much. Food is killing people and the Internet and moronic Reality TV shows keep everyone distancing themselves from each other. Marijuana is outlawed but the pharmaceutical companies have a hold on the populace. Nothing we haven’t heard before but good to hear it all said with his brand of biting humour.





Bill Maher

He is a single guy, by choice, and had a few brittle comments to make about women and their love of diamonds. Men screw around on women as they want to experience the new over the old (and he used Liz Hurley as the example – Hugh Grant just wanted to try something new). He talked a fair bit about their women in Burkas versus our Western teens (who tease you to death with their dress code) and read a sanitized version of some Hip Hop lyrics to make his point to parents that you just don’t know what your kids are up to.
He didn’t tailor his remarks to a Canadian audience, which I liked. References to Baghdad as The Galleria at Halliburton Square (Galleria being the USA shopping mall franchise and Halliburton the company Dick Cheney is involved with) and his references to Strom Thurmond, the long-time Southern politician, and Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing Radio commentator, who has admitted to a drug addiction, may also have been lost on some people.

After two hours, we wanted more, and he came back for an encore but said he had nothing more to say. Audience members wanted his take on Martha Stewart, Haiti, and Michael Jackson, amongst other requests. He though Michael Jackson was “a good black” as he isn’t bending to the authorities and telling them what they want to hear.

A great two hours. If I had HBO I would definitely watch his show.

2004, Patricia Fleming