Bill Maher returns to the Ryman on Aug. 15. Photo by John Russo for HBO

Bill Maher Returns to The Ryman Aug. 15

As fans of Bill Maher know, he doesn’t shy away from stepping into the breach. While loathed by the far-right — Donald Trump tweeted last August: “He’s totally SHOT, looks terrible, exhausted, gaunt, and weak.” — Maher consistently frays nerves on the Left as well. When asked in a recent phone interview with The East Nashvillian:

Despite the insanity of his first term, the polling suggests that, had it not been for his inept handling of the pandemic, Trump was on a path to victory in 2020 and, even though he lost, the GOP scored gains up and down the ticket while holding on to enough seats in the Senate to thwart much of Biden’s policy agenda. What does this say about the Democrats’ ability to control the narrative and get out the vote?

Maher’s pointed response was: “It’s on life support.”

Asked to elaborate, the legendary comedian of acerbic wit and no-two-fucks-to-give said, “The Democrats are always complaining that people didn’t get the message. Yes, they did, and what they hear is no common sense. Trump said, ‘I know I’m crazy, but you got no choice.’ They [Democrats] could win easily, but there’s so much goofy on the left. The message they send is, ‘Our party never stands up to the fringe on the left.’”

Regular viewers of his hit HBO series “Real Time with Bill Maher” will recognize a point to which Maher sometimes pivots in summing up how he views the Progressive left undermining the Democrats‘ messaging with center-left and independent voters: “James Cliburn [Rep. D-S.C] said, ‘Defund the police is killing the party.’”

It’s obvious you’ll need to look elsewhere if you seek it’s-all-Trump’s-fault corroboration for the nation’s plight. This isn’t to say Maher is only about poking the Progressive hornet’s nest. While he pleads for the Democrats to “prioritize common sense,” a well of disgust is reserved for Republicans.

“Now they support not just a crazy person but an idiot,” said Maher with regards to the GOP’s continued fealty to former president Trump. “They’re playing with fire. January 6 will go down in history alongside December 7 and 9/11. The Republican party has become a one-issue party — against voting. They don’t believe in the government they serve in. It’s fifth column stuff.”

In case you’re wondering, Encyclopaedia Britannica defines the phrase ‘fifth column’ as a clandestine group or faction of subversive agents who attempt to undermine a nation’s solidarity by any means at their disposal. Heady stuff, to be sure.

Moving on to the news of the day, when asked how he sees the pandemic playing out, Maher — who acknowledged having received the vaccination — replied, “It’s played out. There’s always gonna be a variant… the people at risk who don’t want to get vaxxed are gonna have to find out the hard way. Maybe then they’ll realize all the conspiracy theories are wrong. Like Bill Gates wants to track you with a microchip — as if anyone would want to track your fat ass to the Piggly Wiggly.”

But what about weed? What’s the holdup with legalizing marijuana at the federal level? Maher deftly redirected the question:

“What’s the status in Tennessee?”

Illegal.

“Recreational and medicinal?”

Yes.

“Well, I’d better get stoned before I leave the house!”

Bill Maher returns to the Ryman on Sunday, Aug. 15 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available here.