It’s the salutatorian season right now and Donald J. Trump is still in the White House, factors which make this weekend the ideal comedy window for early electoral college puns. And that is precisely what Bill Maher commenced not long after tonight’s edition of Real Time with Bill Maher got underway on HBO.
With tasseled sarcasm, Maher (Cornell, Class of 1978) addressed both the Class of 2019 and the Classless of 2019, as well. The comedy success was hit-or-miss but, really, who would ever complain about Bill Maher wearing a gown? Some of the gags:
On the Class of 2019: “You don’t need to get a sheepskin you need to get a thick skin. This year marks the first graduating class of Generation Z, the first generation to grow up on cellphones and iPads, devices which many have said parents have used as pacifiers. Now, in another era, parents used actual pacifiers and when one fell on the floor they’d pick it up and stick it right back in your mouth. I’m no doctor so I don’t know what that does to a kid’s immune system but I do know this: We didn’t all have peanut allergies.”
On the future: “It is my job as your graduation speaker to tell you that you’re a very special group of young people. I’m supposed to tell you the future belongs to you. But let’s not kid ourselves. You’re not that special and the future belongs to China and our robot overseers.”
On education today: “Thanks to that photography degree you have you’re going to change the world.”
On modern parenting: “The results of your parenting have been incredible for the pharmaceutical industry because these kids are f—-d-up and need drugs. Oh yeah, they need drugs for the crushing levels of anxiety they have brought on by the knowledge that after the way you pampered and spoiled them life is going to crush them like the white kid in the spelling bee.”
On fairness: “The truth is, the world is not fair. It’s not like college. It’s like the electoral college.”
And, just to cement his reputation for sunny sensitivity, Maher hopped on a trollish trolley: “Kids I have some very bad news for you: Mr Rogers is dead.”
So this is what happens when Maher’s guest list is thin.
Earlier, in his monologue, Maher sounded genuinely close to being actually upset — or perhaps even outraged? It was a string of connected topics that stirred up the emotional response: Donald Trump’s boarish behavior and how it represents America abroad; the elaborate snobbery and obsolescence of the British Royal Family; and the disrespectful display of ignorance and pandering during D-Day observances (most notably as exhibited by the Leader of the Free World).
“I am the son of two veterans who were both in the European campaign – a soldier and an Army nurse – so when I see this powdered clown over there, it makes me angry.”
The host uncorked an F-bomb barrage about the Queen of England that would have turned heads in Piccadilly Circus and raised pints in Dublin. Maher finds the Queen such a Royal pain that he finally found a reason to agree with Trump. “He mistook the Queen for Stonehenge,” the comedian explained.
Best joke delivery of the night was a nifty Biden zinger about the Democrat’s tap dancing on abortion principles: “Joe’s old-school, he believes conception begins when a guy smells a woman’s hair.”
Notable quotes along the way: Rep. Katie Porter of Orange County, California: “Gun violence prevention is the right thing to do and I will trade off winning an election for saving a life any day..”
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who has some pragmatic strategies about the best way to position himself (literally) at the upcoming candidate debate: “I have an 8% chance of standing next to Joe Biden and that’s the plan, because I want America to Google ‘Asian man standing next to Joe Biden’ when they turn on the debate.”
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