Bill Maher flipped the tone of his HBO show “Real Time” from satirical to serious faster than you can say “nuclear proliferation is no laughing matter” Friday night.
It should come as no surprise that Donald Trump’s “fire and fury” threat to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was the most talked-about topic on the political talker. At first Maher just joked about the report that North Korea possesses a miniaturized warhead that could fit on top of one of its intercontinental ballistic missiles that could make its way to the mainland.
“Kim Jong-un, if you’re tuning in late, Dennis Rodman does live here,” Maher said, in a humorous attempt to keep Los Angeles safe. “You’d kill your only friend.”
Then, the comedian got serious. “Let me come out of left field,” he said. “Trump is a madman; he says crazy things. What if it works? What if madman versus madman… we’ve had no good policy towards this problem for 20 years, through many administrations of both parties.”
Either Trump was bluffing. Or not. “I don’t know which is worse,” guest panelist Fareed Zakaria said.
Maher admitted that he was afraid of North Korea and what the revved up rhetoric may lead to. But Maher had other fears he was contending with. “I must tell you, my bigger fear,” he said, “is that we’re becoming North Korea.”
He laid out all the examples, from Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ press conference about media leaks (“It was a press conference for one person, Donald Trump,”) to the reported “flattery folders” Trump gets twice a day full of positive news about himself (“It’s like a Snickers for the ego.”).
But the coup de grace for Maher was a Fox News story about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the president titled “Would You Even Care If He Was Guilty?”
Maher worries that this is what this nation has come to: “Is it such a crime to commit a crime? This is what I worry about. What I call a slow-moving coup.”