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Toronto: 'Religulous' premiere, protests, Palin and more

September 7, 2008 | 12:01 pm

Religuloustoronto1

A small group of protesters paraded outside the world premiere of "Religulous," the comedic inquiry of religious faith directed by Larry Charles and starring Bill Maher, Saturday night at the Ryerson. Waving placards with the slogans "Pray For Bill," "Don't Mock My Religion" and "Hate + Fear + Religulous," the dozen or so protesters marched in a small circle near -- but at a safe remove from -- the front doors of the auditorium both before and after the screening.

Inside, the film was met with a standing ovation. Among the first questions during the post-screening Q&A was whether the filmmakers had hired the protesters. "It wouldn't have been so lame if I had hired them," came Maher's withering response.

Maher continued to say he'd been protested by all sorts of groups, including those who believe President Bush was involved in the destruction of the World Trade Center.

"Which I prove is not true because it worked," he added.

After Maher noted that he is also reviled by Australians for a Halloween costume he was photographed wearing which poked fun at the death of "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, a decidedly Aussie-sounding voice shouted from the crowd, "I love you though, mate!"

Maher made a few jokes about Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin both before and after the film. During the Q&A he looked upward and added, "Thank you, God, for that woman."

When asked if their movie, which opens Oct. 3, was intentionally being timed to come out just before the presidential election, Charles noted dryly, "It's a miracle."

-- Mark Olsen

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