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. Mike in San Antonio

    Wow...never meant, thought, or said...I guess it was another David Letterman that siad those sexist, tastless, boorish, demeaning, and totally uncalled for remarks. Bill, you, Sir, are an idiot.

    June 17, 2009 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  2. CT_Buda

    Sarah Palin is not credible political material. She was a novelty during the election. That's it. The Republicans can do much better if they just look around within their own party.

    June 17, 2009 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  3. Melanie W

    Thank you Bill Maher for having to balls to stick up for David Letterman... I applaud you for you see it as it is.. so many have turned this into a circus - including the Palins... they are just looking for a spotlight, as usual. David Letterman is the best talk show host there is.. his joke was that.. a joke. Shame on those that take a stand against him.. shame.. shame.. shame.... losers.

    June 17, 2009 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  4. Brian

    I'm shocked! I mean after all this time, i had no idea Maher was a comedian. I thought he was just a guy who rips on religion, and tries to piss people off, but now that i know it is all his shtick... he's still not very funny.

    June 17, 2009 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  5. Wayne

    Had the same comment been made by a conservative comedian against a liberal target, Maher would have been up in arms. Two standards, two standards...

    June 17, 2009 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  6. Clark

    Bill Maher is not qualified to judge whether or not Letterman's apology was justified. If a comment 'hurts' someone, then an apology is in order, regardless of the intent. Maher's comment would have been entirely different had the issue been about a conservative's comment involving a liberal. Hypocrisy is the norm in Maher's circles.

    June 17, 2009 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  7. Dallas Joe

    Enough – let's move on. Tired of it. He made a bad joke, he apologized, Palin is milking it... let's move one.

    June 17, 2009 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  8. Ricardo

    I never drew the comparisons between Bristol and the younger kid. It was wrong to go after David. Still I hate Conan and love Jay, so if this brings him back to NBC it will be a blessing. Conan is a worthless loser who could never compete with Jay or David. We NEED JAY BACK!

    June 17, 2009 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  9. not surprised

    I'm not suprised by Maher's comments, he's a pig as well. Its so funny how if this were a conservative person, the liberal press (including Bill Maher) would be calling for their heads. Such a hypocrite... just like the pack of wolves to stick together though... so no real suprises with Maher making the statement... and for him to say the comment was funny shows just how little tact and class he himself has... maybe if a few advertisers pulled their funding from HBO, Bill Maher would find it in his pocketbook... i mean heart to issue a not so heart felt apology as well... I wonder if they would have the same sentiment if the joke was made about their children...what has happened to the integrity and morality in this country.

    June 17, 2009 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  10. Joe

    From one low life to another!

    June 17, 2009 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  11. James BP

    BIll Rocks.

    June 17, 2009 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  12. Mario In Miramar

    I think the big picture that people are missing is the fact that the left wing media and hollywood cannot stop aiming attacks on Palin and her family.

    There is some deep psycological meaning to this hatred and I really wonder if it is fear of her and what she represents.

    June 17, 2009 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  13. maripil

    The right wing gooks (republicans) should pause this time and look at themselves in the mirror and stop lambasting Dave Letterman, as there is another republican espousing family values, none other than a current senator of Nevada, Sen. Ensign, admitting to having an affair with the wife of a close friend. This is outright unacceptable! Yeah, a lawmaker and a lawbreaker!! How about that??? Sarah Palin and her cohorts should shut their stinking mouths for something so petty since this was just a joke made by a comedian! What is unacceptable is a senator suppose to uphold the constitution yet involved in such an immoral behavior!

    June 17, 2009 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  14. Jeff

    The fact that Bill Maher doesn't fiind it offensive simply proves his utter lack of decency, and that is not news..

    June 17, 2009 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  15. Mike the Mugato

    Bill Maher is a loser. Naturally he sides with sicko Letterman, Maher is a commie liberal as well.

    June 17, 2009 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  16. Carol

    bill maher wouldn't know a coarse joke if it smacked him in the face. I could expect him to make that kind of insensitive comment (it was NOT a joke), but was surprised by David Letterman delivering a scripted remark of that nature. Being scripted it could have been edited out or Letterman could have made his voice heard and said it was out of line. I can assure you, the way it was said and the fact that Willow was the one WITH Gov. Palin AT THE GAME, the insinuation was that it was about her. Well, I think he CROSSED the line and I've made up my mind. I won't be watching him any more. Maybe it is time for him to go.

    June 17, 2009 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  17. steve b in (CA)

    I'm sorry this guy "Maher" does not get it.
    I am curious if other people in the comedy business all think the same.
    It appears if you are a comic and make a joke you get a free pass.
    That is just crazy.
    Don't make sexual jokes about young women. ... period

    June 17, 2009 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  18. Crock

    I agree...Letterman should NOT apologize, their own mother has harmed them more than anyone else could....

    June 17, 2009 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  19. Kev

    Who give a sheet about that idiot Palin and her offspring? David letterman should have held his ground and let the chips fall where they may......It was a freekin joke.........Kinda like the whole Republican party.......LOL

    June 17, 2009 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  20. Jason

    See, this is why I love Bill Maher. Why should Letterman have to apologize? He is not a politician and does not answer to Sarah Palin. Sarah needs to go back to her wealthy oil rich state and resume trying to see Russia from her house.

    June 17, 2009 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  21. Louisiana Man

    Maher seems to have his "wires" crossed on this one, but then, he can be so distasteful ... that he no longers would be a fair judge of what's appropriate or inappropriate.

    He hates Palin, and ... that's the reason I haven't watched his show for the past 8 months. (I even cancelled HBO.) He became so unfair .... and mean in his reporting .... to be point that it seemed evil.

    June 17, 2009 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  22. Louisiana Man

    Maher seems to have his "wires" crossed on this one, but then, he can be so distasteful ... that he no longers would be a fair judge of what's appropriate or inappropriate.

    He hates Palin, and ... that's the reason I haven't watched his show for the past 8 months. (I even cancelled HBO.) He became so unfair .... and mean in his reporting .... to the point that it seemed evil.

    June 17, 2009 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  23. Aaron P

    I agree with Bill 100%

    June 17, 2009 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  24. Scott

    Sheesh. Bill Maher shows us once again what a total piece of sewage he is. Maher, Kathy Griffin, Sandra Bernhart – these people are disgusting. Bring back Jeff Foxworthy, for cryin' out oud!

    June 17, 2009 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  25. Conan

    What do you expect from the liberal cleric, a republican hating comic. Just because freedom of speech exists, you should expect that others have equal right to criticize what you preach.

    June 17, 2009 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
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