In the first new “Real Time” since the coronavirus shutdown began, Bill Maher spruced up the monologue he pre-taped from his house (because like you all, he’s self-quarantining) with a fake live audience — you know, so it’ll feel like a normal show.
Since the shutdown began, late-night hosts have tried different ways of doing their shows from home while still capturing at least the feel of the normal version. Samantha Bee, for instance, taped from her woody backyard, which lets her stand the whole time as she does normally.
Maher’s trick was to use canned laughter, provided via vintage film footage from the 1930s, while he delivered a monologue from his backyard.
“We’re gonna be doing something a little different today, we’re gonna be taping the show from my backyard where I have a bar,” Maher, who was wearing a suit too, began. “What did you expect? It’s my house, I have a bar. What did you expect to see here, a child’s playpen?”
Complaining about having to film using an iPhone, Maher joked, “I feel like an entree at the Cheesecake Factory. I mean, I want to go out but [Los Angeles Mayor] Gavin Newsom says I’m grounded. And I am grounded and I have the blue balls to prove it. But I’m telling you. I am practicing every safe directive they say I should. I make sure I use disinfectant on every surface that has at least 60% alcohol, like judge Jeanine Pirro.”
“I stay six feet away from strangers,” Maher continued. “Eight from Charlie Sheen. I’d say this is not a bad idea, this staying six feet away from people. I say next we try it with cars.”
Maher complained that, at least for L.A. residents, “the worst part of this is seeing that the highways are completely empty, but there’s nowhere to go. I mean, some people are looking at porn at home. I’m looking at photos of the 405 with no cars.”
After joking that “the highlight of my day was wiping down the mailman” and that his “stalker was working from home,” he noted that he’s not suffering from any coronavirus symptoms, “unless you count s—-ing my pants every time Trump talks.”
“I’ll tell you I am starting to wonder if he’s really a doctor,” Maher joked, bringing up how Trump recently made a grossly inaccurate statement about the population of Seoul, South Korea — he claimed more than 38 million people live there — in a failed attempt to show up a reporter.
“Okay, there’s ten million people in Seoul, South Korea. If Trump played ‘Celebrity Jeopardy,’ cancer would go bankrupt,” Maher said. “And then he does this thing every day where he’s bragging about his ratings. I have better ratings than ‘Monday Night Football,’ ‘The Bachelor’–‘ Yes, because your viewers aren’t allowed to leave the house! What else are they gonna do, read?”
“Anything less than a hundred share means people hate you more than they love life,” Maher continued.
“So look, we’re going to get through this, we are,” Maher said. “And stress, it’s the worst thing for your immune system, so try to think a little positive. Think about all the celebrities who have this, that we know have this, that are doing okay: Prince Charles. Tom Hanks. Jackson Browne Chris Cuomo Kevin Durant. Anybody who’s anybody is getting it.”
“And you know Tom Tom Hanks, of course, was so classy when he got it. He said it’s an honor just to be contaminated. And in the movie, the person who cures Tom Hanks will be played by Tom Hanks,” Maher concluded.
All of these jokes, of course, were punctuated with scenes of that audience laughing.