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Bill Maher

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William Maher, Jr., (pronounced: /mɑɹ/) (born January 20, 1956) is an American comedian, actor, writer, and producer. He hosted the late-night television talk show Politically Incorrect on Comedy Central and ABC, and is currently the star of Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO. On June 1, 2006, he also began hosting an Internet-exclusive talk show on Amazon.com entitled Amazon Fishbowl.

Maher has a substantial career as a stand-up comedian and still occasionally tours. He was host of the New York City comedy club Catch a Rising Star in 1979. Thanks to Steve Allen, he began appearing on Johnny Carson's and David Letterman's shows in 1982. He has also appeared in several films, usually in a comic role. His feature film debut was in D.C. Cab (1983), and he has also appeared in Ratboy (1986), Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death (1988), and Pizza Man (1991).

While discussing FEMA's failure regarding Hurricane Katrina, Maher suggested it was a failure of "federal responsibility," and faulted President Bush with negligence.

Maher has said many times that religion works under the guise of morality but that its tenets generally have nothing to do with morality, that religious prohibitions are being confused with moral law. In Maher's view, just because a religion prohibits abortion or decries homosexuality, that does not mean that having an abortion or being homosexual are immoral acts. Instead, Maher argues that an immoral person is one who harms others through activities such as murder or rape.

Maher opposes religious monuments, such as The Ten Commandments, being placed in or near court houses, saying that this would violate the separation of church and state. He has countered the assertion of conservative Christians who claim that American law is based on the Ten Commandments by saying that of the ten, only two (the prohibitions on murder and theft) apply to American law. The other commandments, he argues, such as honoring no god before the Judeo-Christian God, keeping the Sabbath holy, or honoring thy mother and thy father, are not American laws at all. In answer to the suggestion that a divine moral authority is necessary, he suggests "Couldn't we just get together and agree on the few basic Commandments that are laws? Like 'I won't slaughter you, and don't take my shit.'"

Maher then explained that certainty in one's religious belief is absurd, using the example of Scientology: "You , like all religious people, have a neurological disorder. And the only reason why people think it's sane is because so many other people believe the same thing. It's insanity by consensus."

On August 15, 2007, on Larry King Live, he stated that it was impossible to know what happened after death. He compared Christian promises of an afterlife with the promises made by politicians trying to get elected.

Most recently, Maher has declared himself an apatheist instead of an agnostic on Scarborough Country on April 24th 2007.

On June 1, 2006, Maher began hosting amazon.com's Amazon Fishbowl, the first ever episodic program on a major internet website. The show's first guests included Dean Koontz and Dixie Chicks. The show ran a preview episode earlier in the year from the Sundance Film Festival featuring guests Stephen King and Rob Thomas. Maher also produces and writes the show, which aired through August 17, eight days before the season premiere of Real Time.


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