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William Maher, Jr., (pronounced: /mɑɹ/) (born January 20, 1956) is an American comedian, actor, writer, and producer. He hosted the late-night television talk show Politically Incorrect on Comedy Central and ABC, and is currently the star of Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO. On June 1, 2006, he also began hosting an Internet-exclusive talk show on Amazon.com entitled Amazon Fishbowl.
Maher is known for his political satire and sociopolitical commentary. His commentaries target a wide swath of topics, from the right-wing to the left-wing, bureaucracies of many kinds, political correctness, Hollywood, the mass media, and persons in positions of high political and social power, among many others. He supports the legalization of cannabis and gay marriage. Maher is number 38 on Comedy Central’s 100 greatest stand-ups of all time.
For the last twenty years, Bill Maher has set the boundaries of where funny, political talk can go on American television. First on “Politically Incorrect” (Comedy Central, ABC, 1993-2002), and for the last nine years on HBO’s “Real Time,” Maher’s combination of unflinching honesty and big laughs have garnered him twenty-nine Emmy nominations. In October of 2008, this same combination was on display in Maher’s uproarious and unprecedented swipe at organized religion, “Religulous,” directed by Larry Charles (“Borat”). The documentary has gone on to become the 8th Highest Grossing Documentary ever.
In addition to his television program – which has featured such regular visitors as John Edwards, Ben Affleck, Robin Williams, Arianna Huffington, Alec Baldwin and Michael Moore – Maher has written five bestsellers: “True Story,” “Does Anybody Have a Problem with That? Politically Incorrect’s Greatest Hits,” “When You Ride Alone, You Ride with Bin Laden,” “New Rules: Polite Musings from a Timid Observer,” and most recently, “The New New Rules: A Funny Look at How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass.”
Maher started his career as a stand-up comedian in 1979, and still performs at least fifty dates a year in Las Vegas and in sold out theaters all across the country. Three of his nine stand-up specials for HBO – 2007’s “The Decider,” 2005’s “I’m Swiss,” as well as his most recent, the hilarious, “Bill Maher … But I’m Not Wrong,” – have been nominated for Emmy awards.
Maher was born in New York City, raised in River Vale, N.J. and went to Cornell University. He now resides in Los Angeles.