Bill Maher was in a good mood when he appeared on Real Time, and he used the opportunity to celebrate the news that all federal offenders with a simple possession conviction would be pardoned by the Biden administration.
In other words, “Joe doesn’t know anything about pot,” as Maher put it. He identifies THC as the channel that broadcasts classic films. Still, it was consistent with a recurring theme this season: Joe Biden has accomplished more than many give him credit for.
Maher returned to one of his season’s recurring themes, namely that it was heartening to see President Biden and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis able to work together on disaster relief and recovery efforts, and the war between Ukraine and Russia was also discussed.
Even so, that doesn’t mean Maher didn’t make jokes about both men at different points in his monologue. This included the joke about Biden and THC that was previously mentioned, as well as remarks about the boots that DeSantis opted to wear.
Maher kicked off the evening with former Fox News host Chris Wallace, who is now the host of shows on CNN and HBO Max. Chris Wallace has spent his entire life in the broadcast news industry, so he and Maher talked about that for a while. Earlier in his career, Wallace had worked for Walter Cronkite, whom Maher noted was likely the last news figure to enjoy near-universal trust.
Because of the growth of partisan media, “it has gotten so siloed,” Wallace said. While Bill Maher rebutted by saying that many Americans simply don’t care about the news at all. Maher reflected on the past and suggested that the news industry’s shift in focus was due, in part, to the fact that it was once considered a “loss leader.”
In their discussions with their respective audiences, the two men were surprisingly open and honest. Although Maher acknowledged the loss of some “Woke” viewers and expressed hope that they would return, he refused to accommodate their demands by altering his show’s content. Wallace made passing reference to his departure from Fox News but refrained from criticizing the network’s current direction, instead focusing on his current program.
In this regard, Maher was somewhat critical. Wallace remarked near the end that the segment seemed to have flown by. If you don’t ask any questions, it goes by quickly,” Maher said.
Maher was joined on the evening’s panel by journalist Katty Kay and ex-New Jersey governor Chris Christie. Christie reflected on his experiences helping out in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and made comparisons to the relief efforts made by Biden and DeSantis in the wake of Hurricane Ian.
In light of this, people began to speculate about whether or not DeSantis would challenge Trump for the Republican nomination in 2024, or even try to become his running mate. Initially, Christie had doubts. Neither of them can stay in the same room or travel on the same ticket, he explained.
From there, Maher moved on to the news that new civil war rumors have been popping up online. Kay mentioned a few of the people she’d talked to who shared this view, including an elderly couple who appeared to have made a number of prescient plans for their later years.
Maher eventually circled back to marijuana, questioning Christie on his stance against legalization while he was governor of New Jersey. Christie held his ground to an extent and argued for rescheduling marijuana from Schedule 1. This led to a more extensive discussion of the problems with the current system, in which fentanyl is effectively less dangerous than weed. Maher later told Christie, “Someday, I’m going to get you high, and you’re going to thank me.”
Maher mentioned the case of dismissed NYU organic chemistry professor Maitland Jones Jr. and the student effort to have him dismissed, bringing up a recurrent theme. So, “the inmates have taken over the asylum,” as Maher put it, and he went back to venting his ongoing frustration with the current state of universities. According to Kay, this is the responsibility of both students and their parents.
Throughout New Rules, Maher made observations on a wide range of current events, from Scooby Doo to Aaron Judge. Most of the segment focused on Maher’s thoughts on the strange and concerning trend of people running for elected office who don’t have faith in the democratic process.
One of the night’s best lines came from Maher in response, to a candidate in Arizona who claimed never to have met a Biden voter. Despite his lack of BTS concert experience, he declared, “I believe K-pop exists.” This brought up another of Maher’s repeated themes, which is that more people need to interact with those outside their own ideological group.
For the Overtime segment, Wallace made his return. When Bill Maher asked Christie if he thought he could win a primary, Christie said he wouldn’t rule out another run for the Republican nomination. Kay talked about the death of the Queen, which sparked a larger discussion about whether or not the United States should have its own royal family.
The segment concluded with a discussion of Russia, Ukraine, and the possible use of nuclear weapons, all of which contributed to the tense atmosphere. It was a foreboding ending to a night of political analysis, including occasional analysis of the state of political analysis. That sort of situation occurred.