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One-On-One With Bill Maher; Bill Maher Takes On Cancel Culture; Maher Defends Dave Chappelle Over Netflix Controversy; Maher On Trump's Plans For 2024; Maher: Democrats Will Get Thumped In Midterms. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 20, 2021 - 20:00   ET



PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: And that she'll be vaccinated as soon as she recovers. What a story that is.

Well, I'm Pamela Brown. I will see you again tomorrow night starting at 6:00 eastern. Outspoken NBA star, Enes Kanter, will join me.

A special "PRIME TIME," with special guest, Bill Maher, starts now.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Hey, everybody. I'm Chris Cuomo. Welcome to a special edition of PRIME TIME.

Bill Maher is our guest for the full hour.

The world's different, right, since we last got together in 2019. Maher is a voice that does what we need. He challenges conventional wisdom, regardless of who is in power.

It's about 40 years since he began performing at comedy clubs, quickly becoming a late-night TV fixture through the decades due to his unique perspective.

He start an HBO special. Anyone who has watched him knows it's usually about more than laughs, OK?

He is perhaps best known for "Real Time with Bill Maher," 19th season on HBO, which, like CNN, as you know, is owned by Warner Media.

He continues with comedy shows across the country, with good reason.

In his first appearance on TV, in the days after the 9/11 attacks, Bill Maher asked the question: "Can we change?" I think that question is hovering over our nation more than ever.

It's a pleasure to welcome you back to "PRIME TIME." It's good to see you.


CUOMO: Thank you very much. I didn't write it but I read it like a champ.

MAHER: You did. You didn't say what they usually say about what I said about 9/11, saying that I got canceled.

CUOMO: That was precanceled.

MAHER: Right. That was a much more interesting question that I asked, that you cited: "Can we change?"

CUOMO: That's what you were getting at. I believe giving people the benefit of context. And I lived through what happened with what you talked about after 9/11.

And of course, someone who echoed and greatly upped the ante of what you were saying about the United States military was Donald Trump. And it worked out just fine for him.

Remember him with Bill O'Reilly, when O'Reilly was talking to him about Putin and said, this guy's a murderer. He goes, what about us, we're so good?

Now, that was an order of magnitude different than what you had said.

The question about can we change, I remember it as an appeal of you saying, we've done things in a way that has provoked animus, can we do better.

We're now doing things in a way that provoked animus. Do you think we can change?

MAHER: The evidence is not really good for that. I don't think we're on a great trajectory.

I keep trying to preach on my show that the thing we have to do long- range is stop the hate that goes on in this country.

The two sides hate each other to such a degree I don't think anybody's hearing each other. When people hate each other it doesn't matter what the policies are.

You know, Democrats I think keep thinking they can somehow break through to the people who hate them and don't vote for them, would not vote for a Democrat. Anyone with a "D" next to their name is just completely toxic.

If they just tinker with the policies, we'll give your health care, some things that absolutely seem to benefit the people they're talking to.

They constantly ask that question: Why do Republicans vote against their economic interests? Because they hate you. Because they really hate you.

Look at the election we just had in Virginia. I mean, the Democrats lost some of those rural counties by 80 percent. We don't do 80 percent, or we never used to in America.

You know, a landslide was a guy got 58 percent of the vote. That's what made us great. And you saw in other countries, oh, Castro got 99 percent of the vote,

we would laugh. I don't doubt Republicans were getting 80 percent of the vote in some of those counties.

I think in 45 of them they got over 70 percent of the vote. That is beyond policy.

And until we figure that out -- until you figure out why they hate us so much -- and obviously, it comes back the other way. When people hate you, you tend to hate them -- we're never going to fix any of the problems in this country.

CUOMO: Let's question the premise for a second and then continue the discussion. Has it always been this way?

They win exurbs, which we now call rural. The Democrats win urban, and the fight comes over the suburbs.

Is it really any different than the typical notion of a third are for you, a third are against you and you fight for that other third?

Have things changed?

MAHER: Yes, I do. Things have changed.

First of all, you look at the electoral map over the decade, some states have flipped back and forth and more states were in play.

Now the whole election is run in about 12 different states. That's about the maximum. Those are the battleground states.

CUOMO: Probably 30 counties across the country decide a presidential election.

MAHER: Right. We never see anybody running for high office in California because we're in the bag already. Probably here in New York, too.


It's not -- you only see people come out to Wisconsin and wherever North Carolina, wherever Arizona now. I mean, these are -- Georgia is in play now. The upper Midwest is usually where it's decided.

But as far as is it as bad as it ever was? I think it was worse. I don't know. I wasn't around at the beginning of the republic.

I know there was a lot of vitriol between the people who founded the fathers. I don't think people had this idea in so much of the country that, you know, the Democrats write off right away that these people would never vote for you, we would never vote for a Democrat.

I once cited this on my show. I talked to a guy in the Midwest once. Could have been anywhere.

And he was telling me about how he's coming out of the store and trying to get his car out of the lot, and the car next to him had a Hillary bumper sticker on it.

And the child, a little 4- or 5-year-old child who was screaming at the mother, screaming. And the mother was apologizing to the child. And this is the car with the Hillary bumper sticker.

And he said to me, I just can't let people like that take over this country.

You see, it wasn't about policy. It was about that. He sees people who have no common sense, who are letting a different -- each side sees the other side as an existential threat.

Now, I think the Republicans are doing is an existential threat. I mean, they are playing with the kind of fire we have never seen anyone play before in this country, talking about elections that don't matter, votes that don't count.

Whatever happens, we're just going to say we won. That is the greater threat.

CUOMO: Slow moving coup, you called it.


CUOMO: What is it a slow-moving coup for you?

MAHER: That was a phrase I was using before Trump was even elected.

CUOMO: So it's really slow.

MAHER: It is slow. Last time, I said he's never going to concede the election. I was interviewing many Democrats, the ones you talked to on this show as well. And they would laugh at me, you smoke too much pot.

I would say no, I smoke just the right amount of pot and we'll see who right. And it turned out he still hasn't conceded the election. So it took a little longer.

What he hoped is that Republicans would be on his side. He was hoping that people like that guy in Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, who he called up and said. I hope you can find me some more votes. Can you imagine that? I mean that alone, how is that not a crime?

And Mr. Raffensperger and some other Republicans with integrity around the country who work on elections said, no, we can't do that. This is America. We can't find votes.

But what he's doing now is, behind the scenes, he's spent all his time since he's lost putting people in place who will find the votes.

That's what's so disturbing because, next time that happens, I think they are going to find the votes.

He is purging the Republican Party of people like that, people who -- I think only 10 Republicans voted for his impeachment. Two of them are already gone because they see that they cannot win an election. He will primary them. He will destroy their reputations.

And by the time we have the next election I bet you none of them are running. Liz Cheney certainly is not going to win that election in Wyoming.

And so the Republican Party, as much as I keep hearing about, oh, Trump he's not as relevant anymore, trust me, he's going to run. Absolutely. He's going to get the nomination. And I certainly wouldn't be surprised if he just won the election.

But even if he doesn't win the election, he will say he won the election. There's no doubt that he will say he won no matter what the numbers. It doesn't matter how much you run up the score.

That's what Democrats would always tell me. We've got to win big.

It doesn't matter. If they don't believe in the election and the integrity, what does it matter what the number is. They're just going to say it was rigged.

They think the last one was rigged. Two-thirds to three-quarters of Republicans think he won the last election. That is different from other times in our history.

CUOMO: So the question now becomes, why it's different, why Trump, comma, still, question mark? Right, because he was supposed to fade. You're saying you don't buy it.


Let's take a break, come back. Why you don't buy it, why it's still him and what that means. Bill Maher. There's more.


CUOMO: Bill Maher is back.

We discussed all through the commercia. And I'll let you in on what we were talking about. It's a rare opportunity. Not to flatter. You know me better than that.

But you have a gift for thinking through things in a way that the group is missing. And more than anything else, I would have done this off TV just for the benefit of analysis.

Trump, things are different. The animus is harnessed in a way that you haven't seen before. Trump, you believe is a clear and present threat to the democracy.

He will run again. He will be the nominee. And you believe he will give the Democrats all they can handle.

Why Trump, still?

MAHER: Well, he talks to people in a way that doesn't sound like a politician. People were choking on and still are on political correctness.

I did a whole show about it some years ago.

CUOMO: I was on it.

MAHER: Right. That's right. And it's only gotten worse.

When you think about the kind of people who vote for him, they could not be less like him.

You know, here's this New Yorker with the accent, Billionaire, you know, five kids by three different wives. Everything that the Republican Party used to stand against.


But he doesn't talk like a politician. You know, we make fun of him because of his limited vocabulary. To a lot of people, that's how people talk.

And he never backs down, even when he's completely wrong and done something horrible.

But in a world where everyone is always apologizing for everything, that comes off as refreshing.

CUOMO: They also don't believe he's really guilty of anything, that they don't think about the rest of the political class anyway.

MAHER: Maybe. I think -- oh, please -- I think they're not united to the idea he has done things nobody ever has done.

I mean porn stars -- messing with porn stars when your wife is pregnant. No, I don't think Bob Dole did that.

And I don't think they think anyone else did that either. I don't think they think anyone else made fun of handicapped people or cheated students at his fake university or robbed charities.

I mean, he is everything wrong that you could stuff inside of one man.


CUOMO: But they believe that political insiders and the media made that stuff up. And they don't watch us or read us, so they don't know what the proof is behind it.

And his people or his outlets either don't talk about it or say that stuff is true about Biden or Clinton or Harris or fill in the blank.

MAHER: Some of it, yes. Someone like Hunter Biden -- I mean, if don, Jr Had done what Hunter Biden had done, it would be every night all night on MSNBC.

But the fact that it's Hunter Biden and Joe is on the blue team, see that's the problem in America. Everything is so binary. Everything that the red team doesn't like goes in the blue bin and vice versa.

So, you know, every Democratic politician has to wear on his sleeve every silly, stupid woke thing that the fringe left does.

And the red team has to wear kids in cages and, you know, "lock her up" and all that kind of stuff but --

CUOMO: A quick question. Woke. The response from the people that you put it on will say, no. Woke is aware and inclusive. And there's no cancel culture. It's just accountability. These are not bad things. They are good things.


MAHER: Well, woke, yes. I don't remember the day the term was born. Although, I hear AOC says only old people use it now. Well, you gave it to us five years ago so sorry we didn't get the memo.

Right away it's such a high school thing, we're not using that anymore. We all wear pink on Wednesdays.

OK, whatever term you want. I don't care. Again, I just got used to this one.

Yes, in its best sense we're talking about being aware of things we should have been aware of more, reckonings we've had with sexual malfeasance and racial justice, those are good things.

But there's a reason why term woke has come to signify going too far and doing things that don't make sense.

I keep saying this to the Democratic Party. The reason why you're so toxic is because you have become the party of no common sense.

And people see this on their news feeds. I mean, you were saying to me in the break people mostly go on with their lives. They do.

But they see things on their phone or their Facebook page. People pass things around. And it's a constant drip, drip, drip of, oh, these people are nuts.

In a way, yes, they're not oblivious to the fact Trump is nuts. When he ran one of his big selling points was you got no choice.

He was saying, yes, I know I'm nuts, you know I'm nuts, but they're nuts in a very different way that's closer to home to you.

It's that guy in the parking lot. I can't let people like that take over the country, people who regard children as just shorter adults, who should have an equal say.


CUOMO: I get it. But why would anybody embrace if they want normal a group of people/Slash party who want to destroy all of the institutions that secure our normalcy? MAHER: They don't care about institutions. They don't even know about

institutions a lot of people.

CUOMO: So they don't care about the election is rigged, let's lie about all these different ways and make it --


MAHER: No. Some people trust. Some people do.

I've seen surveys. Ask how many people in this country know that there are three forms of government. How can you defend the government and the institutions that people don't know government is made up of?

Why is it important -- they might ask -- that we have checks and balances? What are those three branches of government?


That's the essence of what made this country great is that the founding fathers, who have been canceled by a lot of people -- which, again strikes a lot of people as crazy -- that was their genius is that we check each other.

And so, you know, that kind of person is not going to care as much about that as something that is much closer to what happens in my home.

If my kid comes home from school and tells me, they're telling me I'm a racist, what does that word mean, mommy?

As a kid, is a young kid old enough to process that or, you know, comes home and says I think I'm a girl now.

And the school says that, I think in California, you have to go by that, if the child wants to change his name to a girl's name.

That stuff is right in your home. That's at your kitchen table.

That is the kind of stuff that is going to get people who go, oh, you know, what he was doing, Trump, in Ukraine, it was wrong as much as I read about it.

But Ukraine is a long way away and this is my house and these are my children.

CUOMO: Now, the proof of that was the race in Virginia. And I want to talk to you about it because Youngkin went heavy on the school issue.

And it was plastered for him because Terry McAuliffe, who was obviously running against him said, let them teach, you shouldn't have a say in what they do. And that resonated as deplorable.

Let's come back and talk about the new state of play with Bill Maher. Who knows better? Certainly, not me. Right after this.



CUOMO: Three words is the perfect sell: More Bill Maher.

It's good to have you.

It's good for people to hear this. It's kind of a resetting of the palate, there's a fancy word for that in restaurants. That's what you are.

We were talking about schools, and boy, did that resonate as an issue in Virginia. The Democrats didn't see it coming.

You can explain it away as ignorance of what CRT is. Here's my problem with it, and I want to get your take. CRT means nothing to anybody. They don't know what the acronym stands for. It's really not taught anymore.

MAHER: You're not even saying what the stands for and people are already going CRT --

CUOMO: I don't like it. I don't want it.

MAHER: But they don't say what those words are.

CUOMO: Critical race theory.


CUOMO: And the people on the left will mock the ignorance. They're too stupid to know.

Here's the problem. They still get to vote. And feel overwhelms facts all the time in elections. That's nothing new. People vote on feel.

MAHER: And it's not a phantom either to see something going on in the schools that never went on before.

Now, I'm not in schools, no interaction with children whatsoever. But I do understand this issue because I read accounts from parents, from educators, from -- and this is all over the country.

If, when you say critical race theory -- again, this is the binary situation we always find ourselves in this country.

If you say that on MSNBC, people think that's a great thing because they're finally teaching on honest history of racism in this country, which I know no one who is against that.

I'm certainly not against that. I remember what my education was with American history. We learned about the Civil War. I mean, they mentioned racism. We understood slavery and Lincoln and blah, blah, blah.

But they didn't really go into it any more than "Gone With the Wind" goes into it. It was there, but you didn't feel it viscerally.

And now we're doing that. And I think that's a good thing. People should understand that.

That's different than teaching that racism is the essence of America. That's what people got upset about.

Or involving children who are probably not old enough or sophisticated enough to understand this very complicated issue with a very complicated history.

CUOMO: So it's that you have families and we saw this resonate in Virginia. And I have people on all the time that reject this premise. But it just played out, so it must be real to a lot of people.

Which is you want to make white kids feel badly for what happened before them and that their lives should be a function of making up for it. And I don't want that put on my kid.

MAHER: Yes. Kids are taught and sometimes separated into groups, oppressor and oppressed. Again, does a kid even know what those words mean? Would they gravitate toward that if you hadn't told them?

I mean you're taking something that was getting better, race relations in America, and we -- I think, everyone recognizes that still a lot of work needs to be done. Remedial efforts need to be taken still. Racism is part of America.

But I did a thing one night about progressive phobia, which is a term Steven Pinker coined, which means, somehow liberals got afraid to acknowledge progress.

It's two thoughts in your head at the same time. You can acknowledge we have made great progress on all the social issues, and yet there's still more work to be done.

We're not saying mission accomplished. We're just saying let's live in the year we're living in.

You can't come up with good solutions unless you're realistic about what the problem is.

I mean, it was only like 10 or 20 years ago that no state in America would vote for gay marriage. I mean, it was on the ballot like 35 times. Now it's the law of the land, and no one is against it.

I mean, when I was a kid, I grew up in New Jersey, which is not a southern state. And it was a completely white town.


Now a vast majority of Americans want to live in a racially diverse neighborhood. That is a sea change just in my lifetime. Again, not mission accomplished. But can we just acknowledge how far we've come and where we are right now? CUOMO: And the pushback becomes, well, it's just the truth. We're just telling them the truth, is that racism continues. It's systemic, it's just going around us. But you have to be taught where it is everywhere, because that's how we remedy it. And otherwise, you're just hiding from the truth.

MAHER: That's nuts. It's just -- it's just silly. It's just virtue signaling. I mean --

CUOMO: Now, here's the problem. You say that all the time, why aren't you concerned that whether it's HBO or whoever owns them in that minute, or your audience or some groom comes and says, Maher said too much. He's got to go. Why aren't you afraid?

MAHER: I do it every week? When I take the show Friday, that's all Tuesday. Yes, exactly, a Friday night and Saturday, some people who haven't seen the show say to me, how did the show go? I always say, if I haven't been canceled today, it went fantastic. Then it was a giant success.

CUOMO: But you don't change.

MAHER: No. They come after me every week for something. I mean, both sides, which I think is great.

CUOMO: Maybe that's what saves you. You have both sides coming after you.

MAHER: You know, and that's fairly new, because not because I changed. My politics have not changed. I'm an old school liberal. It's -- and we're talking about the race issue. They changed, not me. I was -- I was the old -- we are -- should be moving toward a colorblind society where we don't see race. That's the old way to look at it. I think that's still a good way to look at it. That's how we win, when it doesn't matter what your race is, the quality of your character, not the color of your skin.

That's not wokeism. Wokeism, we have to see it everywhere all the time. That's different. I don't know if that makes it better. But I am, for the first time, when I'm on the road now, playing to very often a politically mixed audience. That never happened, ever. And I don't think it happens really hardly anywhere else in America.

CUOMO: Why? Do you think there's an increasing separation between the real people and the people who are in power over them?

MAHER: I think there's a lot of old school liberals like me who don't like what's going on, on the far or the left. I always keep saying, when you're doing something that sounds like a headline in the onion, that's when you've gone too far, you know. Land of Lincoln cancels Lincoln. That really happened, you know, they tore down Lincoln. Lincoln isn't good enough for them.

Seattle, the City Council voted to decriminalize crime. This is an onion headline. You know, I saw one very recently, maybe babies should vote for I mean, about the party of no common sense. CUOMO: New York City. They took down Thomas Jefferson from in front of City Hall.

MAHER: Yes. You know, ACLU official advocates banning a book. These are onion headlines. And, yet, this is where this party is, or I don't think that's where the party is. It's where the faction that gets all the headlines. And, again, it goes in the blue bin, and the act or average voter sees that and attaches it.

You know, there was a -- I think it was Tommy Tuberville, the Republican senator from Alabama, wanted to catch the Democrats and he put the funding the police up for a vote. It lost in the Senate 99 to nothing. No democrat voted for it. But if you ask the average person, are the Democrats for defunding the police? Oh, yes, that's the disconnect that the Democrats really better address.

CUOMO: Dave Chappelle and Senator Josh Hawley are two very different men who are in the mix of what I think is the defining concern, culturally, about how we handle what we don't like.

Let's take a break. I want to go through both of them with you and see what you see is the same, different, and if God helps us, there is a solution. I know you're not looking up, but it's just lights for you. Bill Maher right after this.



CUOMO: Where we are is a function of where we will or will not be very soon. Maybe not even a full election cycle away. Let's discuss it with Bill Maher.

Dave Chappelle and Josh Hawley. Dave Chappelle, two guys who are in the crosshairs of helping culture reconcile what is and is not acceptable. Chappelle has a long history of going after trans people, not really LGBTQ, a little bit, a little bit, but the homophobia is not as much of a push against him as what he says about trans people.

He does a special and he says, it's going to be my last one for a while. It's called The Closer and he says he's been canceled because he's made jokes about that group. What's your take on it?

MAHER: Well, I defended him.

CUOMO: I know.

MAHER: I'm Team Dave.


MAHER: And free speech? Well, first of all, I -- you say going after, and use terms like homophobia. I was speaking recently about phobia that there's a -- there's a word that's traveled quite a bit from its original meaning. But a mission creep on that word phobia. It's become really just a way people -- word they used to say, I don't like something.

CUOMO: That's right. It's not a phobia.

MAHER: Phobia means an irrational fear, you know, spiders, arachnophobia. You know, you have an irrational fear. OK. Germophobia. I see all the hand sanitizers here to me, that would be germophobia.

CUOMO: But those are only for shaking hands with me.

MAHER: I see, which I never was worried about, and still I'm not. But he's not afraid of homosexual.


CUOMO: Right.

MAHER: Or it's not transphobic. It's that this trans stuff is very new. I don't think he or myself or any other, again, right-thinking person thinks there aren't such things in the world as people who are trans, who are born in a body that doesn't align with what their brain is telling them. That's OK.

But now, we're talking about children. It's interesting. Someone I know a woman in her 40s said to me somewhat recently at a dinner party that when she was a kid, she was what they used to call a tomboy. Said I never was interested in wearing a dress. I only wore pants until I was like 14 or 15. She said, if I was around today, they would have made me into a boy here in California.

That's what we're talking about. This is new. So don't put it into this category of, this is settled science. We've been -- we -- anything that deviates from the one true opinion on this means you're some horrible bigot and transphobic. That's not what's going on here. And I don't think Dave Chappelle is transphobic.

I mean, a lot of that specialist talking about his opening act.

CUOMO: Right.

MAHER: Who's trans? OK. It's just like, can we take a breath? Maybe we are going too far with the children part of this. You know, kids should not be really making decisions about their gender. I mean, Mario Lopez was almost canceled, for suggesting that maybe 3 year olds shouldn't decide their gender. This is that crazy stuff that makes you a bigot.

CUOMO: But having the opinion, obviously, has to be protected. His choice to make jokes about them. Now, this is the argument. The luxury for me is I just have to present the argument that's out there. It's -- it doesn't matter whether I ascribe to it or not. But the argument that was made that I don't think he handled well, OK, we'll say that.

You're punching down at this group. This is a discrete minority. They've got a lot of problems of being targeted and hurt. You are a powerful voice. And you making fun of them, empowers the people who want to hurt them, whether you know that or not. Now, that we've told you that, stop doing it. Is that a bad suggestion?

MAHER: I don't know. I don't know what's in Dave's head. I mean, I'll admit he --

CUOMO: For you.

MAHER: He is a little obsessed with this one issue.

CUOMO: Made him a lot of money.

MAHER: Well, I don't think he's doing it for the money.

CUOMO: I'm not saying he is, but made him a lot of money for a guy that was canceled out.

MAHER: This is just -- it's not canceled.

CUOMO: I know, but he certainly has lost some things. I mean, that movie he's now taking around like door to door should have been available in different forms, but we see that happened to a lot of people. But I think what's going on, I guess surmising I've been talking to David in a long time. But I think as a black man in America, he sees that there are other groups. So you're right, that trans people have been targeted.

Nothing -- nobody in America, except the Indians, have had it anywhere near like the black folks have had it in America.

CUOMO: A hundred percent.

MAHER: So, I can see why that would get under the skin.

CUOMO: And he did that very eloquently, and I think opened a lot of eyes that, you know, he put it in the context of a jealousy, you know, that look how far you guys have come in so quickly.

MAHER: Right.

CUOMO: And we're still struggling. And if you made these kinds of jokes about us, the situation is nothing like if you go after the trans community or the gay community. I get it. I just wonder if his fix for it made things better. Or is that the point of comedy?

MAHER: Before we get to that, what is this had to do with Josh Hawley?

CUOMO: Josh Hawley --

MAHER: I'm wondering that for about 15 minutes.

CUOMO: Here's why. So, Dave gets attacked for making those jokes. And that's about what's OK or not OK. Josh Hawley is on the other end of the spectrum of weaponizing what is OK and not OK as a way -- so Dave is doing it as a way of let's approach our freedom, and let's talk about what we can talk about here. He's doing the same thing, Hawley, on like, you know, the opposite spectrum. Here's the piece of sound that I'm talking about that I think spells it out.


SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): The left wing attack on manhood says to men, you're part of the problem. It says that your masculinity is inherently problematic. As conservatives, we've got to call men back to responsibility. We've got to say that spending your time not working, and we have more and more men who are not working. Spending your time on video games, spending your time watching porn online while doing nothing is not good for you, your family or this country.


CUOMO: Interestingly, the second part of that -- that's old school republicanism, you know what I mean? It's just value speaking, virtue signaling. It's fine. Put it to the side. The first part coming after you because you're white. White's no good anymore. They're blaming you for everything.

MAHER: Toxic.

CUOMO: Toxic. And it's not just a man, it's really white men. Look at the commercials, you won't even see any guys like you that often. And that is a very dangerous thing, same category. What can we talk about? What's OK? What isn't? Hawley is doing that also, but he's creating a weapon that I think the left in the media don't see coming.


MAHER: Right. I think you're right about.

CUOMO: That's why I put in there.

MAHER: Yes. And there is a sense that just being male is toxic or just being white is toxic, you know, your whiteness, and it's like, what are you talking about? You know, I've always tried to be an ally. That's what a lot of people are saying. And now you're coming after me?

You know, this whole idea of like, you have two choices. You're either a racist or you're a racist, and you don't know it. You know, people who have lived a right thinking life their whole life, that's not -- that there's a white coming after me. You know, have I turned my life over to this issue? No, but I can't, I have a job, and kids and a wife, and stuff to do. You know, I can't do that.

Now, Josh Hawley is a dangerous guy. Let's get to the essence of Josh Hawley. He's not wrong about this particular issue, but it's minor to someone who does not acknowledge what happened on January 6. My bigger question is, what do you do when there are people in our government who don't believe in our form of government? And he is one of them.

CUOMO: He'll say, no, no, no, I believe that. January 6 was bad and wrong, said and settled. You guys are only upset about it because you get to use it as a cudgel. But you didn't care about the black people and their allies running around burning down all those cities that summer before?

MAHER: Well, it's a false comparison, and it wasn't the Capitol. And they -- and they weren't trying to stop a duly elected officer at the highest level of government from taking office. I mean, it's a pretty sobering thought that the Republican with the most backbone was Mike Pence.

CUOMO: But for pence, it could have been a very different scenario, by the way.

MAHER: I mean, when I mentioned Liz Cheney now and the audience claps, I'm like, oh, we love her now. Isn't that interesting?

CUOMO: It depends.

MAHER: And I see why.

CUOMO: Let's see if she goes after Biden a couple more times. But then again, who knows how long she's around --

MAHER: That's Ok. That's her job to go after Biden. That's what Republicans do. They go after them. We did that forever. Republicans and Democrats were cats and dogs and they fought. But also Tip O'Neill and Reagan could have a drink after work. They could work together. I don't know how we're ever going to work together.

How do you -- we have how many QAnon members of Congress now? QAnon --

CUOMO: Well, I think that you're right. You got an --

MAHER: How do you negotiate with people who think the Democrats eat babies?

CUOMO: That's right.

MAHER: Where does that negotiate?

CUOMO: That's an obvious problem. I think the bigger problem, and I'll take a break and then we'll discuss about this, is what goes unsaid that people won't stand up. I believe the pandemic, for us, was a low point on a lot of different levels. We made ourselves sick on purpose. And then we kept ourselves there. I want to talk to you because you have a very interesting take on the whole situation.

One more break. When we come back, Bill Maher on where we are.



CUOMO: Last topic, we made ourselves sick. That's what the pandemics about. What does Bill Maher think about it? We made ourselves sick, literally and figuratively. Pandemic comes, people tell us, OK, it's going to be here, there are going to be a lot of cases, let's prepare, top echelon -- the top echelon of government or president says, no, no, no. It's not going to be that bad, we'll be fine. It will disappear in a few cases, of course it doesn't.

But it created a line where now we see it almost exclusively on the basis of politics, who buys into things about COVID and the treatment in the facts, who doesn't? How do you see it?

MAHER: Well, he said we made ourselves sick. The bigger issue that has never discussed is that we were sick. You know, before you get sick, you are sick. This is a very sick country, still is. I don't mean mentally, although that too, but physically.

And why don't -- why don't you talk about that? I mean, there is -- let's say -- let's call it factor x. If there was a factor that was responsible for 78 percent of the COVID deaths and hospitalizations, wouldn't you have to really journalistically report that?

CUOMO: The comorbidities.

MAHER: I'm talking about obesity. People in the media, people in the government are afraid to even mention it. Again, seventy-eight percent, eighty-eight percent of worldwide deaths are in high obesity countries. Forty-percent of COVID deaths are people with diabetes. And yet, no one will mention it. I do, but they hate me for it.

CUOMO: I talk about it, but you're right. It's not the prevailing narrative.

MAHER: It's -- you cannot -- people have got to participate in their health. I said this before the pandemic. I said, we will never get health care right in this country. I don't care if you take Bernie Sanders health care plan, Elizabeth Warren's health care plan, Joe Biden's. It -- nothing is going to work and it wasn't working.

Unless people understand that they have some skin in the game. They have to participate in their own health. You can't expect just vaccines and pills or whatever else they have to do the job. And we never do that in this country. The last person who tried was Michelle Obama. And it did not go over well.

CUOMO: When we talk again, eight months from today. Hopefully we'll talk a lot before that. Eight months from today, do you think things are better or worse?

MAHER: Well, they're not going better for Biden than the Democrats. And I think that's getting -- eight months is going to be close to the -- to the midterm election. I think they're going to get thumped in the elect -- I mean, that usually happens in midterm elections. But, you know, I mean, Joe, look, I'm glad he's there, but he is not exactly stuck the landing on a lot of the issues that he was dealing with.

The time I'm worried about, and I keep talking about is Election Day 2024 until January 20th, 2025, Inauguration Day, because again, if Trump loses, he will not say he lost, that will never happen. He will never concede, as I said last time. But this time, it's not going to be like last time. I mean he almost pulled it off last time and this time, he's had four years to get those people in place.


So, what happens on January 20th, 2025 when he shows up for the inauguration? And Joe Biden or whoever the Democrat is shows up to that inauguration? What happens then? That's when I want to be, you know, on vacation in London.

CUOMO: So now, my hardest situation, how do I say until the next time? Do we shake hands? Do you want to fist bump? What do you want? What do you want?

MAHER: Like when you came out? Come on. Let's get back to normal.

CUOMO: Good. I'll take it.


CUOMO: Listen, if normal is talking to you --


CUOMO: I'll take normal all day long.

Bill Maher, thank you very much. Appreciate you as a gift to the audience.

MAHER: I appreciate that.

CUOMO: Thank you for watching. Stay tuned, because you know what continues on CNN, the news, next.