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Friday, June 28, 2002


End of an Era Special Fold-out Section

Bill Maher Tapes Last Talk Show

The last installment of Politically Incorrect, beloved talk show and celebrity-ignorance forum, will air tonight. I've been watching this show since it started on Comedy Central in 1994. I tune in for at least a part of the show every night before switching over to Conan and laughing my ass off for a sold late-night hour.

One of the reasons that PI holds a special place in my heart is that it gave America's celebrities a place to express their personal and political opinions to millions of viewers and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt how vacant and uninformed the vast majority of them are. It was often a cocktail party nightmare--Star A would mouth off across the brim of his lemon-drop martini, but instead of some starstruck actress/model/waitress waiting to do a line of blow off his inner thigh, it was the Republican Congressman from Georgia ready to dismantle his worldview. Of course, Star A smiled, America sighed, and the politician blinked as he fired a blank over the celebrity's shoulder. But for one moment you could detect a droplet of sweat straining to break through the epidermal layer of pancake makeup, and in that instant you could see that Star A knew we knew he was full of shit. If you looked away for an instant, you missed it, and $9.50 was automatically debited from your checking account and into the weekend gross of My Three Sons, The Motion Picture. But it happened, I swear it did. I saw it.

Not that Bill Maher is any kind of visionary. Mostly his emcee seat required that he sit back and allow the spectacle to rage in front of him, occasionally interjecting scripted, somwhat-controversial observations to keep the bloodsport churning and sponsors fleeing [note to Bill--they pay your salary, don't chase them all off]. But I'll miss the guy. And I'll miss the nightly comfort of getting to feel superior to people with three personal assistants and fifteen cars as they totally miss the point of anything more consequential than Monday's box office numbers.

Not that I'm not full of shit. But I don't get to go on TV and show the world my eyes are brown.

About this site

This is the internet home of Mark Lisanti, a Los Angeles writer sometimes known as Bunsen. He is the founding editor of Defamer, a weblog about Hollywood, where he now serves in the nebulous capacity of "editor-at-large."
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