For nearly 90 minutes on stage at Phoenix's Comerica Theatre on Sunday night, comedian/commentator Bill Maher ripped into Republicans, religion, Islam, the Catholic Church, and male sexual hypocrisy, but he saved special venom for presidential contender Donald Trump and his followers.
Calling Trump "that douchebag from Queens," the host of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher derided The Donald as a moron with supporters to match, saying Trump's rallies resemble a cross between a tractor-pull and a real-estate seminar, full of angry whites who need someone to blame for being such losers in the game of life.
Which is why illegal immigrants top the list of fave scapegoats for Trump-lovers, even though, as Maher points out, immigration from Mexico is at a net zero, and has been for some time.
"You don't have to build a wall," Maher said of Trump's proposal for one. "No one's trying to get into your shitty disco anymore."
Maher also blasted Trump for hating immigrants, though Trump "married two," meaning the current and one former Mrs. Trump.
"I've just got to say," continued Maher with a wry smile, "that somewhere there's got to be a Guatemalan woman in the back of the chicken truck, sneaking across the border, thinking, 'At least I didn't have to blow Donald Trump.'"
That crack got him one of the bigger laughs of the night from the near-capacity crowd at the 5,000-seat venue. At times, it seemed like every liberal in Phoenix was on hand to hear Maher berate Republicans in this uber-red state.
Maher proceeded to illustrate the "reverse evolution" of the GOP, arguing that with Republicans, "it always gets worse," going from President Richard Nixon to a far-worse Ronald Reagan to an even-more imbecilic George W. Bush, and finally, to the current front-runners for the GOP primary nod, Trump and Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.
"The Republicans got what they deserved," he said of the current possible nominees. "They started with 17 candidates and, by their own votes, ended with Joe McCarthy and Benito Mussolini."
What about the Democrats? Sure, they're no prize, Maher argued, "but at least you don't have to teach them the names of the continents."
The worst thing Maher could say about Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders is that he always acts like a guy who works in an office with no window, where the ceiling leaks, and who would probably have to move boxes around in the Oval Office to make room for the Queen if she stopped by for a visit. Whereas, he said Bernie's rival, Hillary Clinton, is like a flu shot, maybe necessary, but not fun. Still, he ordered the Millennials on hand, who love Sanders so much and loathe Hillary as if she were the spawn of Satan, to give it a rest when it came to Mrs. Clinton.
He agreed that HRC was too close to some corporate interests and "too hawkish for my tastes," but the Millennials should consider the alternative.
"Gimme a fuckin' break," Maher spat at one point. "Sit out the election, and the next time you need an abortion, you'll have to go to London ... Our next two Supreme Court Justices will be Paula Deen and Joe the Plumber."
Maher shared that he recently had breakfast with President Obama at a fundraiser in Hollywood; he praised Obama for his second term, for the Iran nuclear deal, and for opening things up with Cuba.
The comedian said he advised Obama that in the last few months of his presidency he should really mess with the Republicans, by "growing his hair out" into an Afro and advocating for the legalization of pot. America "likes token blacks" not "blacks tokin'," he joked.
He derided GOPers for saying Obama doesn't love America "in the right way," leaving Maher to wonder if it was okay to "love America from behind?"
Religion was on Maher's hit parade, as well, and he slapped around Muslims, Catholics, and even New Age-y religions with gusto.
"I kid Islam, it's a religion of peace," he cracked. "There's a piece of you over there ... over there ... over there."
He said he doesn't apologize for that joke and others aimed at Islam, because in America, every subgroup gets made fun of for something that isn't completely true: "You gotta own it,"
Maher then went on to take shots at all religions, like Catholics for the pedophile priest scandal, Mormons for offering followers a planet in the afterlife, and Islam for promising its male martyrs sex with virgins in paradise.
What about Eastern religions?
"Sorry," Maher told the audience, "slap an organic label on it and it's all the same bullshit."
Basically, said Maher, religion is about trying to convince humans that death is not real, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
"I just think there's something better in the next life," Maher said people tell him occasionally.
To which he replies: "If you believe that, then why don't you go ahead and hang yourself now?"
Some of Maher's best material was him imagining dialogues between God and Jesus or God and Noah, which he compared to an Abbott and Costello routine. They're impossible to reproduce here.
Which perhaps gives fans who missed him this time something to look forward to during his next Phoenix gig, whenever that will be.
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