Thursday, March 6, 2008

Do Comics Owe Us Corrections, Too?

I've been busy focusing on the mainstream media a lot this week, but I wondered if Bill Maher owes us a correction. I just heard the podcast edition of his Feb. 29 episode of "Real Time with Bill Maher" on HBO. Here's what he said:

"I know we're fighting them over there so they can't get us here, but today in Las Vegas they found a vial of deadly ricin gas. Sure, it could be terrorism. They say it may be terrorism, it may not be terrorism but it's Vegas, they don't like to judge. Yeah, they found this gas at a motel. There were eight people passed out on the floor. Well, seven from the ricin and then there was David Hasselhoff, he was just eating a hamburger."

It apparently takes a LOT of important factual errors -- it was ricin powder and nobody was found passed out -- to mold one really unfunny punchline.

Do comedians owe it to anybody to get it right?


ira said...


Bill Maher has yet to be introduced to the facts. Doesn't want to get too close. He will say ANYTHING to try to get a laugh.


Brian said...

I'd prefer a blanket apology from Maher for sucking.

Todd said...

It was a joke!

Ryan said...

As a rule, no, but Maher may be an exception. The last time I watched his show, he purports to have real dialog on the issues. Accordingly, his ability to play loose with the facts is curtailed by the representation of the serious discussion. Maher used to be good when he started and was a open to actually discuss other viewpoints. Once he became a bigger deal, he started to just shout down anyone who disagreed with him rather than actually debate.


I understand it was a joke, Todd. But it also included some significant misinformation. And if the information were correct, there would be no joke. I'm just asking the question, especially because Maher's show *IS* one part comedy and two parts serious discussion of current events.

gregoryzephyr said...

Comedians are not held to the same standard of accuracy. (After all, David Hasselhoff wasn't there either.) Anyone who takes seriously what a comic says is pretty naive. There would be a lot fewer punchlines if all jokes had to rely on just the facts.