[This post has been corrected. Please see note at bottom for details]
Bill Maher chose an unusual way to mark the announcement of his deal with HBO for two more seasons of "Real Time With Bill Maher." He went back to school.
Maher made a "surprise" visit to an American politics class at UCLA on Tuesday, delighting students in a packed lecture hall with his brand of edgy political wit while also expressing his concerns about the upcoming presidential election. The session wasn't exactly impromptu: The appearence was arranged and taped by mtvU, MTV's 24-hour college network.
The broadcast of Maher's "class" on May 7 will launch the season premiere of the series on mtvU to more than 750 college campuses and on demand at mtvU.com.
Many in the class whooped and cheered when Maher walked in about 15 minutes after professor Tom Schwartz started the Introduction to American Politics afternoon session.
"How many here are for Obama?" Maher asked. Several students raised their hands. Several others raised their hands when asked who was a Mitt Romney supporter. Quipped Maher, "You kids can go to USC."
The comedian seemed generally impressed by the questions asked by the students, which included what effect Romney's Mormonism would have on voters and the impact of the Supreme Court's upcoming decision on the Obama administration's healthcare initiative.
He predicted that the election would be "hard fought" and that Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, would have to make a pivot to the center in order to gain wider appeal.
Maher blasted the "super PACs" ("This is terrible for American democracy") and said that Obama's biggest challenge will be the economy.
After about 15 minutes, Schwartz asked if Maher had any final thoughts. The comedian raised his fist in the air, declaring, "Go Obama!"
[For the Record, 7:20 p.m. An earlier version of this post said the episode was the premiere instead of the season premiere.]
— Greg Braxton
Photo: Bill Maher. Photo credit: Janet Van Ham/HBO.