Bill Maher Interrupted on Real Time on HBO, Helps Security Remove 911 Conspiracy Hecklers

Graphic Language: Bill Maher helps security remove 911 conspiracy demonstrators during a live show of Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO.

Partial transcript:
Sometimes here at CBS I wish the sound wasn’t working.

Hey do we have some f—ing security in this building. Or do I have to come and kick this guy’s ass.

Out, out, out, out [as he helps push, the heckler out of the building].

Is it that hard to throw someone out of a building?

A female voice yells back toward the stage that Bill’s act was cowardice after asking, ‘What about Building 7, Bill.  Maher replies, “I’ll kick your ass outa here to!” Get her the f— out!”[as he walks toward the source].

Chris Matthew asks what the issue of the hecklers is.

Bill Maher shouts, “Hey, this isn’t the Iowa caucus.”

It’s not a debate … it’s a debate between us. You’re in the audience. ‘Audience’ comes from the Latin ‘to listen.’

A male audience member yells, “Tell us what happened to Building 7, Bill.” Maher replies, “this is the problem with live television … Of all the things I’ve said … the one that they protest out her [points to outside the studio] is the people who think that the World Trade Center was a controlled explosion. You see, in that instance I’m actually defending President Bush. I don’t think President Bush brought down the Trade Center. [Heckler responds by oooooohing loudly]. Maher replies, “and cows disagree with me [laughter and applause].

Heckling continues and Maher asks, “How come I don’t fire my audience department is really the question that’s running through my mind right now? … Yeah, don’t be gentle with him [as security removes another heckler].”

FLASHBACK: September 2007 commentary by Bill Maher criticizing ‘truthers’ and conspiracy theorists claiming the World Trade Center buildings were brought down by the U.S. government, “Stop asking me to raise this ridiculous topic on this show and start asking your doctor if Paxil is right for you.”

William Maher, Jr. (born January 20, 1956) is an American comedian, actor, writer, and producer. He hosted the late-night television talk show Politically Incorrect (1993 to 2002) on Comedy Central and ABC.

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, U.S. President George W. Bush said that the terrorists responsible were cowards. On Politically Incorrect’s September 17 show, Maher’s guest Dinesh D’Souza disputed Bush’s label, saying the terrorists were warriors. Maher agreed, and according to a transcript replied “We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That’s cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it’s not cowardly.”

While similar comments had been made in other media, Maher’s comments became a major controversy. Some advertisers withdrew their support, and some ABC affiliates stopped airing the show temporarily. White House press secretary Ari Fleischer denounced Maher, warning that “people have to watch what they say and watch what they do.”

Maher almost immediately apologized, and explained that he had been criticizing U.S. military policy, not American soldiers. He pointed out that whether the attacks were cowardly was irrelevant to whether they were morally right or wrong. Many found his remarks deplorable nonetheless, and the controversy was considered to be a key element contributing to the show’s cancellation.

The show was canceled the following June, which Maher and many others saw as a result of the controversy, although ABC denied that the controversy was a factor, and said the program was canceled due to declining ratings. Maher said that the show struggled for advertisers in its final months.

Maher now hosts the hour-long program Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, which follows a similar format, but has no censorship of language and no commercial breaks. On June 1, 2006, he also began hosting an Internet-exclusive talk show on entitled Amazon Fishbowl.

Maher describes himself as a libertarian and a liberal and is a reliable proponent of the Minarchist school of libertarian thought, claiming, “government is really there to do the things that people absolutely can’t do for themselves.”