Comedian Bill Maher drew the ire of critics this week after making a “joke” about Popeyes fried chicken during a recent episode of his HBO show.
It was during a Friday edition of “Real Time with Bill Maher” when the political commentator invoked the racist fried chicken stereotype while interviewing Rep. Will Hurd, a Black GOP congressman from Texas. Their discussion began when Maher questioned Hurd about being a member of the Republican party.
“I’m just asking why you’re Republican,” the comedian began. “Because they’re not good at the debt, that was their big thing. You said limited government, they don’t do that. They’re not good at national defense; the president’s a traitor. So, what’s in it for you? What is in the Republican Party for you? You were in the CIA!”
Speaking on his intelligence background, Hurd replied, “I was in the CIA for almost a decade. I was the dude in the back alleys at 4 o’clock in the morning collecting intelligence on threats to the homeland …”
“That’s where they collect them, huh?” said Maher, cutting in. “Wow. By the Popeyes Chicken.”
The audience let out a brief chuckle then a groan, and it wasn’t long before folks at home caught wind of the moment and let Maher have it.
“If you’re a fan of Real Time w/ Bill Maher, I hope you enjoyed the series finale tonight,” one critic tweeted. “#whatanidiot.”
“The usually-game crowd elicited a groan, and Maher flashed an embarrassed look, as if he knew he’d screwed up… yet again… on the first day of Black History Month,” another critic chimed in.
“He did it again, folks. How long is
@HBO going to be cool with a guy being unabashedly racist on their network under the guise of just being outrageous?,” another opined.
Black historian and educator Jelani Cobb, who made previous appearances on Maher’s show, said there was “no way I would again.”
“At this point people have to start declining invitations to go on @RealTimeHBO,” he added.
This isn’t the first tie Maher has come under fire for making racist remarks. During a 2017 interview with Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, the comedian used the N-word after Sasse joked that he should visit Nebraska to work in the fields.
“Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n—-r,” Maher replied. The audience groaned, after which he insisted, “It’s a joke.”
The comedian later apologized for the slur.