If We Weren’t Laughing We’d Be Crying – The Night I Met Bill Maher

by gradycarter

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That’s me on the right, and Bill Maher on the left. He shook my hand, and I thanked him for being the King of Nuance, to which he laughed.

Last night (April 14th, 2013), I got to shake hands with one of the people who has been on my bucket list to meet for a long time, Bill Maher. I ended up getting to sit on the second row in the middle of the stage, and it felt like he was looking at me several times. As a kid I was scared of Bill, and I thought that he was the absolute epitome of all that was wrong in the world, I’d never heard anyone talk or act as he did on national television, several times a week. Skipping a few steps in my story, I decided in my early adult life that there really was no such thing as a bad question, so started listening to videos and clips of people who I adamantly disagreed with, so that I could figure out how others could possibly believe things so different from what I believed. This list of people who I’ve listened to due to my disagreements on politics, religion, philosophy, and the weather has grown and changed several times, but Bill remains a part of that list. The funny thing is that I’ve found myself agreeing with much of his sentiment, but not always the snark. I have truly grown to appreciate his honesty, even when it hurts. I could talk about Bill Maher for a long time because of what it has meant to me to listen to his standup routines and panels and challenge myself to never stop asking questions, and to not get my feelings hurt so easily when someone disagrees with me or even calls me a name. Bill is guilty of the name calling, and he could tone that down – but I will also say that if he hadn’t called me names I wouldn’t have been challenged enough to ask the tough questions that I’ve needed to ask myself on several occasions.

I’ve decided in this post to include a couple more pictures and a few of his standup routines, but mostly I want to include the first episode of his new show (of which he is the head producer), that follows his show on Friday nights now. It’s called VICE, and it is Very challenging to watch… I must warn you it is very graphic, and you should not watch it at work, unless if you work at home, or actually want to get any work done for the rest of today. As I understand it they decided to start this show because of the disappointing lack of journalism in the Middle East being broadcasted in the United States, and as HBO and Bill are both tips of the spear for progression this show is incredibly well done.

So, thank you Bill for your candor and sincerity. If we weren’t laughing about some of the absurdity in the world we would be crying. However, if you watch this premiere of VICE it is likely that you’ll cry regardless.

I don’t agree with Bill on everything, especially his approach to faith (although I appreciate him forcing people to ask questions that they might not otherwise), and If you would like to know about my faith feel free to click on this recent post “And Then the Conference Uninvited Me To Speak”.

I’m sorry if your feelings are hurt by me saying anything warm about Bill Maher, but he has challenged me, and for that I’m grateful. When I shook his hand last night I thanked him for being the king of nuance, to which he laughed. Playing the “devil’s advocate” (poor term in my opinion) / asking questions even when it is unpopular or personally challenging is something that I intend to do for the rest of my life, so if I stop friends, family and strangers please remind me to start again.

-Grady

VICE Series Premiere

Thanks for reading, please feel free to give me some feedback.

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Here are just a couple of his standup routines, and I would like to remind you that posting this does not mean I approve of everything that he says, in particular about religion. But I do appreciate him making space for me to ask questions, which has been very liberating in my spiritual journey believe it or not…:

I’m Swiss (2005):

Crazy Stupid Politics (2012):