Bill Maher responded to an effort to get his show taken off the air as payback for the cancellation of “Roseanne” earlier in the week — with a segment he calls “explaining jokes to idiots.”
ABC canceled “Roseanne” after star Roseanne Barr compared former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to the apes from “Planet of the Apes.” She later apologized.
But some conservative social media users, noting that Maher once compared Donald Trump to an orangutan, claimed that a double standard was at play and called for HBO to cancel “Real Time.”
So it was that during his opening “Real Time” monologue Friday, Maher introduced the “explaining jokes to idiots” segment.
“One, Trump is an orangutan,” Maher joked. “Two, white people have not been subjected to a racist trope comparing them to apes for hundreds of years.”
“Three, my offering trump 5 million dollars to produce his birth certificate in 2013 to prove he’s not half an ape… was itself a response to his birtherism racist bulls—,” Maher said.
Maher’s Trump-orangutan comparison came in 2012, after Trump said he would give $5 million to a charity chosen by President Obama if Obama would publicly release his college transcripts and his passport records. (Trump was at the time a vocal proponent of the discredited conspiracy theory that Obama was not born in the United States and therefore was ineligible to be president.)
Maher joked at the time that he would donate $5 million to the charity of Trump‘s choice if Trump could prove he is not “the spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan.” Trump later sued Bill Maher for the full amount, but dropped the lawsuit two months later.
Maher ended “explaining jokes to idiots” with a final jab at his critics — “And four: I’ve already been fired by ABC.” That joke referred to the cancellation of his ABC show “Politically Incorrect,” in 2002, a move widely believed to be a response to comments Maher made about the 9/11 attacks several months earlier.