Give Thanks for Bill Maher, Your 'Cranky Uncle'

Salon columnist: His 'passion seems to be coming from a real place'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2011 12:14 PM CST
Bill Maher participates in a press conference for the film "Religulous" during the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008.   (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

(Newser) – The right loves to hate Bill Maher—and sometimes the left hates to love him. With his “prickly-pear” personality and his tendency to rile his audience—and not care in the slightest—“Maher is American punditry’s cranky uncle,” writes Matt Zoller Seitz on Salon. The crankiness was on full display when he appeared on the Tonight Show this week, calling the audience “morons” at one point. (He also made waves on his HBO show last night by telling the Tea Party that the "Founding Fathers would have hated your guts," notes Mediaite.) Maher, in short, “takes the provocateur role to vertigo-inducing heights.”

Yes, “he often comes off as a pompous bastard, and his reasoning doesn't always make sense,” Zoller Seitz writes, acknowledging that his own affinity for Maher flip-flops, particularly when he lets “traces of piggishness” slip through while talking about women or gay men. But “I’m glad Maher exists,” he concludes. “It's nice to know there's a genuinely political personality on TV who's not hosting a show on all-news cable, who really means it when he says he enjoys disagreement, and who projects stubborn integrity no matter what.” Click for all the reasons Zoller Seitz appreciates Maher, or to see a Tonight Show clip.

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