Free Speech Means Sometimes Explaining Jokes to Idiots, Like Bill Maher Just Did

(Janet Van Ham/HBO via AP)

When it comes to Free Speech and the freedom to speak your mind, Bill Maher gets it.

Now, let me set this out before I get to the main point of this article about idiots not getting jokes. Maher is NOT a conservative, and I have written about that previously with this post called, Don’t Put Classic Liberals Like Bill Maher on a Pedestal, but Appreciate Their Honesty. This is exactly what I’m doing here.


A lot of my colleagues here also have written about Maher and his speaking common sense in their posts; here are just a few.

Watch: Fired-up Bill Maher Backs Truckers, Rips Trudeau’s ‘Hitler’ Tactics

Bill Maher Brilliantly Bridges the Oscars Incident and Woke America’s Outrage Epidemic

Bill Maher Busts the Media and Doesn’t Mince Words About Hunter Biden Cover-up.

As my colleague Nick Arama writes in her piece above…

There is no doubt that comedian Bill Maher is a liberal. But one of the things that makes him interesting is that he can see the hypocrisy on the left, and he’s not shy about calling them out when he sees it.

While the media covered what Maher said on Friday about the infamous “slap” by Will Smith and his wife’s alopecia, there was another subject that he covered that didn’t get as much attention from the media — and it’s obvious why. It was because he spoke about the Hunter Biden scandal. Not just everything Hunter did and the question of influence peddling, but the scandal of the media trying to cover it up. They didn’t want that out there before the election, because it didn’t help the narrative they were trying to push about Joe Biden.

The liberal media were all-in, trying to promote the image of nice, old Joe Biden, who’s going to bring back “norms” after President Donald Trump had so offended them with his mean tweets. So, they wanted to suppress anything that could shoot down that fiction. Videos of a son smoking crack, emails about “10 percent for the big guy,” and talking about possible blackmail from Russians with a prostitute could certainly destroy that image.


So as you can see, if you are speaking common sense, people can come together — regardless of whether or not they agree on if the Federal Government should be bigger or smaller. If you are right on any issue, then support the issue by backing anyone speaking to it, no matter if you agree with them on anything else.

This now brings me to the current topic at hand: the need to explain attempts at humor to people who act like idiots. Maher tackled this subject last night at the end of his show, “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO. Here is the clip, which is well worth watching just for the breakdown of his Zapruder film riff on Will and Jada’s reaction right after the Chris Rock joke.

Maher does a good job of breaking down how a joke works and what exactly Chris Rock did that night — and how non-offensive it really was. I loved how he set up the premise that the war on jokes that might hurt your feelings needs to be ended.

We’re all sick of talking about the slap but I’m sorry, one more thing needs to be said. Comedians have been under attack for quite some time, and I need to stick up from my tribe. This war on jokes must end.


His argument against cancel culture is spot-on. Yet, you have to keep in mind this does go both ways, no matter what your political beliefs are.

You might think that Kathy Griffin holding up a fake severed head of Donald Trump while he was President was bad. Universally among Trump supporters, this was looked at to be over the line and it very well might have been. Yet Griffin should not have been canceled, just like Roseanne Barr, who was a Trump supporter, should not have been canceled when tweets of hers — that were jokes, also in bad taste — were used to hammer her into submission until she lost her show.

Attempts at humor can sometimes be offensive, and words sometimes can sting. Yet the movement to eliminate anyone who does not think and talk in the approved hive mentality of the time is a dangerous precedent we do not want to live with.

Near the end of his segment, Maher made this observation.

The thing is the people who can’t take a joke now are not old ladies in the Bible Belt but are the Gen Z crowd at elite colleges, where comedy goes to die. Kids used to go to college and lose their virginity, now, they go to lose their sense of humor.

Nailed it.

I don’t need to agree with Bill Maher on very many things to recognize that he is spot-on with calling out the nonsense of wokeness and cancel culture. This is a fight worth having because it is a war over whether or not ideas can be expressed in a number of different ways — no matter anyone’s feelings over it.


I’ll stand with Bill Maher all day, every day on this issue.



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