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About (Late) Last Night: On 'Tonight Show,' Bill Maher attacks NRA, Arizona ... and audience [video]


Bill Maher can always be counted on for a little controversy, and on last night's "Tonight Show," he surely delivered ... and then some. 

After a segment in which Maher poked fun of Christine O'Donnell and the new speaker of the House, John Boehner, Leno opened up the conversation: What were Maher's thoughts about the shootings this weekend in Arizona?

Over the ensuing four minutes, Maher certainly made his feelings clear.

"The NRA should change their name to the Assassin's Lobby, because that's what they are," he began. "Nobody needs a gun that fires 31 rounds."

Maher then criticized Arizona's permissive gun laws, which allow citizens to carry concealed weapons in many public places.  "These guys always think that it's great to have a gun because if some bad stuff goes down, I'll be able to stop the bad guy."  Dismissing this idea as a "fantasy," Maher claimed "You would never be able to do that. People have to be trained for months and months at a time."

Maher condemned the Democrats for abandoning the issue of gun control, a point which fell flat with Leno's audience. "There should be one party that sticks up for this issue," he said, garnering little reaction. "I'm not expecting it from this crowd."  Cue the nervous laughter.

When Leno brought up the hot-button issue of violent rhetoric in politics, Maher let loose, going after Newt Gingrich and a number of other Republicans, whose "go-to rhetoric," he claimed, suggests: "Wouldn't it be fun to kill people we disagree with?"

Some audience loudly disagreed with this point.  Maher responded, "Really, then, do you read?"  

As a rule, insulting someone's literacy is not the best way to win an argument, and it certainly wasn't in this case. Maher did get a more positive response from his comments on the patriotism of bringing home the troops home, expanding healthcare and paying taxes, but it was probably too late. When Leno awkwardly wrapped up the segment with a hasty plug for one of Maher's upcoming appearances, you could practically hear him sighing with relief.

Even for those who agree with him politically -- and surely there were more than a few in the "Tonight Show" audience -- Maher's abrasive tone isn't always easy to like.  

-- Meredith Blake




Comments () | Archives (65)

what's wrong with bill maher expressing his opinion? nothing. Palin, Beck, Limbaugh and all the others express theirs and I guess its OK because their're still doing so. The only difference they are in re-load mode. Bill Maher keep doing what you're doing you have every right too. Where do these fools thinks freedom of speech is only for the right-wing? You democrates and independents need to start exercising your constitution rights too. Bill Maher,thank-you for making some excellent point of views. It was well recieved by many. Millions are fed up with these one sided conversations. MSNBC PLEASE STOP promoting Faux News and palin we don't give a damn. I guess the real adults went to lunch.

Bill Maher's only funny to his followers. He's not going to win converts from the Leno audience. He's a snarky punk whose lifelong ambition was probably to get invited to the Playboy Mansion.

Wow, What happened to how funny Maher is suppose to be? On his HBO show everyone laughs so hard. I guess the Tonight show didn't have their LAUGH AND CLAP NOW signs working last night. Maher showed just what an idiot he is. He had to go it on his own and and didn't have his writers with him. Maybe if someone close by in Arizona would have had a gun with them, they could have shot the SHOOTER before he killed nine people. If a robber or killer goes into a store to rob it, do you think he is going to stop and think a little more about it if he sees other people have guns strapped to their side. I think he is going to turn around and leave. Most likely thinking, what has this world come to? It dangerous out there. He laughs about the congress man cutting 5% off expenses saying that's only 25 million dollars of a trillion dollar deficit. He you got to start somewhere. How about cutting aide to foreign countries. Feed you own family, before you worry about the neighbors.
The mans an idiot and about as funny as truck driver with a boil on his ass.

Nobody needs a gun. Violcence begets violence. Anger begets anger. Hate begets hate. Just stop the cycle. I have a brother who hates me. I have a sister I barely talk to because of her hate. It's all over guns and religion. Ironic that the two topics go together so often. They cling to their guns and their religion. I prefer to live unafraid and unparanoid, but alert.

Schizophrenia was the cause in Tucson, fueled by hateful "Christians". No different than what happened in Pakistan. I like Bill Maher except when he starts talking about the weed and sex. Otherwise, I think's he is spot-on.

Even with a gun, that kid couldn't have been stopped by your gun.

first and formost, "im sick of hearing about the 2nd amendment and the constitution." where the hell do you think you are mahr, this is the united states of america the constittuion is the supreme law of the land. if you dont like it or your sick of hearing about it how about you exercise your god given right to get the hell the country and dont let the door hit you in the ass on the way out...
heres a thought see if you can keep up...i spent most of my adult life in service to this country, now im retired and own several firearms, including some with 30 rd mags. as well as a couple bolt guns, but just where do you get off telling me i cant take those to the range? what have you done for out country that gives you the right to tell me i cant enjoy keeping up my shooting skills? that is of course except run your mouth so you can make a buck saying things that in countries that have a system of government that you seem to want here would only get you thrown in a cell?

I love the way he disparages the 2nd Amendment so casually. While we’re at it, let’s get rid of the rest of them too, they are silly really. Who cares about Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Unreasonable Searches and Seizures? You may not like the 2nd Amendment Mr. Maher, but they are a set, you do not get to pick and choose which should apply. Thank the Founding Fathers for that.

I, like some of the commenter’s here, cannot listen to Bill Maher for very long before the barf reflex starts. He is a spineless punk who has the same shtick as Rosy and Joy. Without his over-the-top rhetoric he'd be a mouth breathing loser who couldn't keep a job because the bosses and co-workers would hate him.

Bill Maher has alway struck me as pretty much a bag of wind. He is however intitled to his opinion.
I do not agree with his remarks and support the 2nd ammendent. He apparently does not believe in the founding documnents of the USA. I always figured all the ammendmends were to be enforced, not just the ones I liked.

Larry Williamson

Put a sign in your lawn "This is a gun free home", c'mon put your money where your mouth is.

250:1, is the ratio of crimes prevented:committed due to guns.

I had never heard of Bill Maher until now. What a jerk he is.

An armed society is a polite society. Clearly Bill is not part of our society.

Bill maher is a leftist idiot. The tragedy in Arizona wasn't due to a lack of gun laws, it was a failure of the mental health systems of checks and balances in our country. This gy had already thrown up a lot of "flags", yet he still wasn't "picked up" by the systems in place. No one seems to be asking that question....why?

People don't realize that mean people and criminals will have guns. People are stupid to think disarming Law Abiding citizens will make this a safer country. Criminals will always get guns for crimes illegally or make their own.

Leno and Maher are rich idiots. They have money but they did not do their homework before this show.

Google "Jeanne Assam Colorado Life Church"

This woman prevented a Mass Homicide. She had a CCW permit and worked as a police officer prior to the shooting.

There are many cases where people use firearms to defend themselves every day. Just google "Firearm self defense"

It's a shame to see these men hold a national audience yet fail to provide their fans with accurate information.

Bill Mahr is a blathering idiot. I am a graduate of the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy and a former police officer and I can tell you now that most cops support concealed carry. Sorry Bill but it doesnt take months of training to take down a bad guy. The weapons and tactical training in most police academies is only about 16 hours. Hundreds of times a year citezens use guns to protect thier homes, families, and those around them. Let us not forget one of the men who took down Jared Laughner was a conceasled carry permit holder. The use of guns to protect never gets reported though and when it does the focus us always on the poor criminal who got shot. Hmmmmmm bad guys getting shot instead of good people now there;s a concept that Mr. Bill could rail on for hours.

Left wingers are always preaching inclusiveness yet they are the most intolerant people on earth. True HATERS!! If you don't think like them then you're bad and a law needs to be made against you. Hypocrits!!

Bill Maher as usual misses the mark. I'm sure I'm not alone as a licensed gun carrier in wanting to protect myself. I don't care that the grocery store I happen to be gets robbed. I do care if the robber or any other person wants to do me or my family harm. In that case I want the ability to stop his threat and remove myself and family from danger. I have a feeling, that like most antigun celebrities, Bill Maher employs armed "body guards". People like him seem to think that only the rich and somewhat famous have a right to personal protection. Instead of addressing the problem of a seriously deranged person being ignored because we don't want to be politically incorrect and point out the obvious. People like Mr. Maher prefer to take the easy rout and paint gun owners from enjoying our right to protect ourselves. This reminds me of the "1%" biker idea. Of all people who ride motorcycles it is said that only 1% are outlaws. Of course the 1% literally wear it as a badge of honor. Yet we don't want to ban motorcycles. It just makes me wonder.

Bill Maher addresses his area of ignorance. Many more assaults are stopped by armed Americans than persons being killed by firearms. Just because Bill can not think of a good reason to own a gun, does not mean there is not one. On the Second Amendment, it is in the Bill of Rights. Smoking, drinking, fighting, and driving automobiles are not mentioned in any of the Amendments, nor the Constitution. The NRA membership is not made up of assassins and I take your statement as offensive. Jay Leno, when are we going to see a guest with an opposing view on your show? The Arizona assailant was an undiagnosed, mentally unstable person. He had not been adjudicated to remove his right to own a firearm, nor was he a felon. If the concerned citizens who observed him were aware of the laws in our country, perhaps one of them might have proceeded to have the assailant evaluated. As both of you gentlemen exercise your rights to free speech as limited by the FCC, I exercise my right to not watch your programming. I do hear bits and pieces of your rhetoric which I most often disagree. You both choose to live and work in weapon restrictive states and cities--is crime lower there than in the less restrictive cities and states?

I do agree with not having a magazine that holds 31 bullets but, the average law abidding citizen does have a right to protect himself and his or her family. The problem is this mental person should have been reported to the authorities on put on file that he should not be able to purchase a weapon or ammunition. This is the responsibility of the parents, family members, friends and doctors to report a person of his mental status. Stricter guns laws really only hurt the law abiiding citizens. If you outlaw guns, the outlaws will still have guns because of the black market sales of weapons. Do more to break up the gangs and criminals. I rather have a gun and hope I never need it than to need it and not have one. Redpectfully. Robert A. Lofendo Sr.

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