Late Night: Bill Maher on 'stupid' Mormonism, Mitt Romney bullying
If you've ever thought to yourself, "Gee, I wonder if Bill Maher would rather have been bullied as a kid, or molested by Michael Jackson?" well then you, my friend, are in luck.
In a Tuesday night appearance on "Conan," the always-incendiary comedian responded to recent allegations Mitt Romney was something of a bully during his prep school days.
Initially, Maher expressed indifference to the stories about Romney's adolescent antics. "When this issue first arose I thought, 'Well, you know what, I never hold anybody responsible for things they did as teenagers,'" he said. But Maher drew a distinction between "doing something stupid that hurts yourself" and "doing something that hurts somebody else."
It was at this point that Maher, for some reason, brought up Michael Jackson. "When I was 12 years old, I was beaten on the playground, just like the Mitt Romney thing, I was held down and somebody just punched me in the face while other kids watched," he recalled. "If I could go back to 1968 and trade that experience for being gently masturbated by a pop star, I would do it in a second." We'll take your word for it, Bill!
A strident atheist, Maher also used his appearance to take a shot at Romney's Mormon faith. He suggested the candidate's defense of "traditional marriage" is especially ironic, given that his ancestors practiced polygamy. "Of all the people to be making this claim, a Mormon?" he sneered. "This is a religion that is so stupid that Tom Cruise would not join it."
Conan O'Brien is not generally inclined to intellectual debates on his show, but he took issue with Maher's attack on Mormonism. "Who am I to throw stones when you eat a cookie and you turn into Jesus?" O'Brien asked in reference to his own Catholic faith.
Thus, in the space of a single interview, Maher -- with an assist from O'Brien -- managed to offend Mormons, Scientologists, Catholics and Michael Jackson fans. Could this be an all-time record?
(Fair warning: The above clip contains some late-night language.)
— Meredith Blake