June 16th, 2009
10:07 PM ET
5 years ago

Maher backs Letterman in Palin joke controversy

(CNN) – After days of being criticized for an off-color joke about the daughter of Alaska's Republican Gov. Sarah Palin, late night TV talk show David Letterman got a vote of support from a fellow comedian.

Bill Maher, host of HBO's "Real Time," called the apology that Letterman issued Monday "a real shame."

Related: Letterman apologizes to Palins over 'coarse joke'

"David Letterman should not have had to apologize," Maher told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room. "I've known David Letterman a long time."

"He's a very fundamentally decent Midwesterner. It's just not in his DNA to have said something that they're accusing him of saying," Maher added.

"It was an easy and obvious joke to make. It was funny. It was not offensive in any way," the HBO host said after detailing his take on the circumstances leading up to Letterman's controversial joke. "And they made it sound like he said something completely different. So he's apologizing for something he never meant, never thought, and never said."

Related: Palin accepts Letterman's apology

"I've been through this," Maher told Blitzer. "It stinks."

Maher's show appears on HBO, a sister network of CNN that also is owned by Time Warner.


Filed under: David Letterman • Extra • Popular Posts • Sarah Palin • The Situation Room
soundoff (123 Responses)
  1. Mary-Ann

    Palin has already shown that she is willing to exploit her children for her own gain - this just smacks of more of the same. Those poor kids must just wish their mom would be quiet and quit dragging them into public. That woman makes me positively ill.

    June 16, 2009 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  2. Jeff in PA

    But Bill, he DID say it. And now he has apologized. It was a classless thing he did, and now he has regained some class with his apology.

    Too bad you can't hang your hat on that.

    June 16, 2009 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  3. MH

    Totally agree with Bill Maher. Palin tries to grab anything she can to be relevant. She is such an evil.

    June 16, 2009 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  4. Mike

    Watch this....all the libs that were just calling Maher all kinds of names for speaking out against Obama will now start singing his praises....3...2....1 let the love fest begin.

    June 16, 2009 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  5. Cheryl

    No, Maher and Letterman stink!

    June 16, 2009 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  6. Doug

    And we look to Bill Maher to give us an opinion on what is and what is not offensive? Come on .. that's a riduculous as asking Hugo Chavez how should a head of state conduct himself...

    June 16, 2009 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  7. Southern Colonel

    I have little regard for Bill Maher. I totally disagree with him. Letterman's "joke" was off base and in poor taste. He apologized and Palin accepted his apology. Case closed. Move on. Maher is so left wing that he cannot see the truth.

    June 16, 2009 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  8. Gary

    Bill Maher is right. Letterman should not have to apologise to palin. Palins just trying to keep her name in the press. She condemned obama for everything, and never said she was sorry or wrong. What she saidwas far worse then what letterman said. Good god shut up Sarah and go home to your front porch and stay there.

    June 16, 2009 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  9. Bill

    Bill Maher is an idiot. His statement that "Letterman never meant, never thought, and never said" is rediculous. He said it!

    June 16, 2009 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  10. lance-huffman

    as always bill tells it like it is. wish more people could be brutelly honest but then who would like you , at least they would know where you stand and are given another opinion other than theirs.
    he has a good understanding of who he is and is not out to impress anyone. he has taken many chances in the past and paid for it for expressing his opinion.i don't have hbo or any other premium channels but try to watch him through the snow on the scrambled channel. comes in good sometimes ,can hear him sometimes.
    the talking heads would probably have a heart attack if he were on commercial tv. would love to see,bill's seans,karl,newt,ann coulter and glenns reaction in a one on one with no over talk{am i wrong}

    June 16, 2009 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  11. Lone Wolf

    Bravo Maher! I was waiting for someone to say exactly what I have been thinking since this whole ordeal happend. My girlfriend and I are on complete opposites sides when it comes to politics but we both agreed that Palin is an idiot and just looking for any kind of attention she can get. Imagine that – two females that have been through enough of our own anguish throughout our years and never found offense with Letterman's comments!! Unfortunately the only thing Letterman did that was wrong was provide her another media meal ticket fom the very group that she supposedly despises! She is so two-faced...she hates the media until she decides SHE has something to say then she can't get enough of them. Palin = Woman Who Speaks with Forked Tongue

    June 16, 2009 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  12. chuckie

    Bill's career went down hill when he sided with the terrorist of 9/11.

    June 16, 2009 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  13. Pfft

    Of course Bill Mayer doesn't think Letterman needs to apologize. Bill Mayer is a bigger jerk than Rush. Okay, maybe they're tied for the hate they spew.

    June 16, 2009 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  14. Liberal loons

    I Plan to cancel my HBO now!

    June 16, 2009 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  15. RJ

    12 executive orders in the first months, and he is not doing things without asking?

    June 16, 2009 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  16. Tom McCarey

    I agree with Maher. Far be it from the extended Palin clan from sensationalizing the joke or dragging their offspring into the glare of kleig lights... Oh, that is what she did and is doing again to put some petrol in the tank of her political career. Shame on Palin and the extremist right who wave the flag on her behalf.

    June 16, 2009 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  17. cappicola

    Uh, exactly who put Bill Maher in charge of defining what IS a joke vis-a-vis offensive to another? As I see it, this is between Sarah Palin, David Letterman AND CBS – the folks who sign David's checks. Perhaps we can throw in a paying sponsor or two as well.

    Seems to me that Maher may have crossed the line a few too many times to be considered legitimately funny as is evidenced by the sharp falloff in his ratings in recent years. Even Bush-bashing and Republican-bashing gets pretty boring and stale when that's the only material a "comic" has to offer, night after night.

    Someone should do the right thing here and show Bill where the rocks are before he drowns altogether. Maybe he can salvage what's left of his "career", post-Bush.

    June 17, 2009 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  18. Dan

    Poor Bill didn't like watching Dave issue a mea culpa.

    Funny how Bill only comes to the defense of decent Liberal Midwesterners.

    June 17, 2009 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  19. Byron in Minneapolis

    Bill Maher pretty much ALWAYS tells it like it is, and hit the nail on the head yet again. Letterman is a comedian, and he can say whatever he wants to about anyone, no apologies needed. If Palin wants her family off limits, then keep them that way. Don't send them cross country on Abstinence Only Sex Ed tours and float them out for interviews with the big networks. You don't see Sasha and Malia doing interviews and tours where they are the center of attention like Bristol Palin is. If you want your family off limits, then keep them out!

    June 17, 2009 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  20. strokerace

    Maher's comments should really help Letterman's case...

    June 17, 2009 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  21. Hawkeye

    Thank you for coming out and saying that Maher, especially totally screw job being put on Letterman by the starved for attention Palin camp. I'm thinking that 99% of the people following the Letterman "story" can see straight through Palin and hopefully with Dave's apology, she'll fade away back to Alaska again and out of all of our memories. Couldn't agree with you more on all those issues.

    June 17, 2009 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  22. Steve in Denver

    Glad to hear someone tell it like it is. The joke wasn't the best, but the indignation of governor family values who practices nothing of the sort is more than nauseating. Palin is so self serving, hypocritical, and dishonest.

    June 17, 2009 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  23. palin is pathetic

    I agree with Bill. Palin just wanted more face time. She supposedly hates the media, yet won't stay out of the spotlight. The one who should apologize is HER for ever accepting McCain's offer for the VP candidate. She's a waste breath and time.

    June 17, 2009 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  24. bdr529

    Letterman may have gone over the line but Palin paraded her white trash family around (including her knocked up under aged daughter) during the campaign and expected them NOT to be a target? No mother should subject her kids to that.

    June 17, 2009 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  25. drew

    i get more and more sick of bill maher every day. its absurd to say that the left is not adequately represented in America. its overwhelmingly prevalent in the media and the government itself. just because maher represents the far far left does not mean that it's the standard for the rest of the country. maher is arrogant and ignorant and i find it sad that he has such a following in this country that he still has his own show.

    June 17, 2009 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
1 2 3 4 5