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Despite that caterwauling, Maher hasn’t betrayed the Left. He’s the same liberal he was during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama years. Leftists are actually the ones who changed between 2016 and 2020, though Maher failed to notice because he focused so intently on mocking Donald Trump. After Trump left the White House, Maher had to dig deeper and write jokes without a one-track mind. Once he did so, Maher saw how offended, miserable, ungrateful, and devious the current iteration of the Left is.
Maher now opens and closes his HBO program questioning the “logic” of cancel culture and equity, a far cry from his monologues one year ago. As a result, Maher is now performing to a different kind of audience than he did in earlier years.
“For the first time in my life, I am playing to a mixed audience,” Maher said on The Joe Scarborough Podcast. (Joe Scarborough has a podcast?)
“I was in Nashville about a month ago, and the audience was about 60-40 liberal to conservative. That never used to happen, never. And I think it’s because 10 years ago, in my opinion anyway, the Left did not have a crazy section. There was no such thing as woke, and now they do have a crazy section, which I call out as a liberal. I think I’m kind of one of the only people doing that, so there’s a hunger to hear that.”
So what changed? Donald Trump. Liberals changed after Trump defeated them in 2016. Democrat voters still haven’t gotten over that stunning election. Through the help of social media, the angriest group of Leftists grew even bigger, and they then moved even farther Left. Now, a liberal like Maher can’t even relate to them.
“I think traditional liberals have had it with the far Left of their own party, and they enjoy this too,” Maher goes on. “To be able to play to a crowd like I did in Nashville that’s almost split even, that just never happened before. The audience was almost all completely liberal, but things have changed.”
Maher has said previously that he now prefers performing stand-up comedy in red states to blue states. Maher joked with Jimmy Kimmel in September that even when he says something innocuous such as that he is having a good day, the Left will blame it on his “white privilege.”
Maher is one of the few political pundits who has elevated his reach since Trump left office. While CNN, MSNBC, and late-night TV have lost their purpose, Maher now generates more headlines and digital views per show than ever. Maher’s competitors are aching for content, while he is capitalizing on the market demand for someone who will scold both sides.
Bill Maher has never been better. Drawing a mixed crowd in 2021 demonstrates that. Who else can get conservatives and liberals laughing in the same room?