Boulder really, really loves Bill Maher. If you love Bill Maher and his lefty leanings, then you would have had a great time at his show on Saturday night at Macky Auditorium on the CU campus. Smart and smug, Maher was in fine form and drew lots of laughs from the loose crowd…who were “very, very high,” as he noted, crowds in Colorado tend to be.
Maher dropped a few pot jokes early on; he suggested that the Democrats might find more success if they took on the legalization of marijuana as a “wedge issue,” the way the right has chosen abortion and gay marriage as issues to fire up their base. Still, Maher had nearly as much criticism (though not as much contempt) for today’s Democratic party as he did for the Republicans and their “inbred country cousins, the Tea-Baggers.” The Democratic symbol is a D, he explained, because that’s the grade you get when you’re barely passing.
There was a segment in the middle of the show where Maher shared a list of surprising facts and statistics. A 2010 report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) finds that the United States ranks 10th among nations in the world in terms of social and economic mobility. To put that simply, Maher explained, “We’re coming in 10th in the American dream.” He also discussed the recent budget crisis and the debt, questioning why no Democrats are aggressively pursuing cuts in our bloated defense budget. Maher explained to the audience that he, too, is concerned about the 14.26 trillion dollar American debt. “Let me illustrate for you how much 14.26 trillion dollars really is,” said Maher; “take the value of your house, and add 14.26 trillion dollars.”
Maher saved his most controversial material — his anti-religion rant — for the end of the show. He noted that’s a conscious choice on his part — because then the people who walk out will have gotten most of their money’s worth. No sect was spared in his diatribe; when it comes to religion, he’s an equal opportunity offender. Most of his audience on Saturday must have known what they were getting into, because the full house stayed in their seats through the hour and 45 minute set, until Maher exited, stage-left, to a standing ovation, from the left.
Amy McGrath is a Denver-based writer and regular contributor to Reverb.