Bill Maher Calls out Casting Police: 'Typical of so Much Wokeness That Doesn’t Build on Liberalism, It Undoes It'

(Janet Van Ham/HBO via AP)

Bill Maher seems fed up with the “casting police.” He did not hold back on Friday’s “Real Time With Bill Maher.”

Maher began his monologue by saying that the apologies and calling on others to apologize for doing their job, which in this case, is acting, must stop. Maher said:

“A lot of people lately are either apologizing for or calling on others to apologize for playing roles. They call it appropriation … Appropriating sounds like an unforgivable sin until you remember that’s what acting is. That’s why acting jobs are called roles.”

Bill Maher ripped John Leguizamo, who is one of the most preeminent critics of James Franco playing Fidel Castro. Maher pointed out that Leguizamo has been in roles as a Colombian American, a Venetian, a French little man, and an Italian plumber. Maher added:

“But he played them … because he’s an actor! Why the hell do you think people become actors? Because they want to spend their life not being who they are.”

Typical hypocrisy from actors like Leguizamo. He did exactly what James Franco was asked to do, except Leguizamo did it several times. Maher is right; that is what acting is all about, and casting directors should stop listening to the “casting police.”

Bill Maher went on to mention that Sean Penn won an Oscar for playing gay rights activist Harvey Milk.

“At the time, it was considered a courageous act of solidarity for a straight, male movie star to play a homosexual. Now, it’s the opposite.”

He noted that Eddie Redmayne played a transgender woman in The Danish Girl but has since called the part “‘a mistake’ because ‘many people don’t have a chair at the table.’” Maher said:

“Well, actually in movies now, they do. And what does that have to do with playing trans? Does it then work the other way? Can trans actors only play trans characters? Because that’s not going to be a good deal for them … And isn’t the best acting always about making us feel our common humanity beyond separate identities?

“A Black George Washington in Hamilton? Of course. But Ryan Gosling as Frederick Douglas? Yes, that would be problematic. Ditto Shia LaBeouf as Shaft. Why don’t we just go by merit and let the best actor win?”

Maher showed a photo of Amber Heard during her trial, and he asked: “Should she only play bed s—-ers now?” He also spoke about Ana de Armas’ upcoming role as Marylin Monroe in Netflix’s “Blonde.” He suggested:

“Maybe she should play Fidel Castro and James Franco can play Marilyn Monroe and then we can all stay in our lanes. Is that what diversity and inclusion look like now? Everybody staying in their lane? Lawrence of Arabia was gay, Peter O’Toole wasn’t. I can live with that because he was so cool, it almost made me gay.”

He continued, saying the criticism is “typical of so much wokeness that doesn’t build on liberalism, it undoes it.”

Maher concluded, saying:

“Empathy — putting yourself in someone else’s place so you can understand them better — used to be the very heart of liberalism. Now, it’s considered offensive because, ‘Don’t-even-try-to-put-yourself-in-my-shoes-because-you-could-never-know.’

“What a bunch of bulls— that always was. Of course no one can ever know exactly what another person’s struggle is, but we try.”

Here is the monologue on YouTube:

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