Bill Maher is best known for hosting the irreverent, often wickedly funny late-night talk show, Politically Incorrect, in which Maher leads a wide variety of celebrities in a discussion of politics and modern issues. The New Jersey-native began as a standup comic (it still remains his first love) and in 1979 worked as a host at the Catch-a-Rising-Star comedy club in New York. In 1982, he was discovered by comedian Steve Allen and this led to Maher's appearances on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show and on David Letterman's late-night talk show. Maher also tried his hand at acting, appearing as a guest star on television series in the late '80s, including Newhart, Roseanne, and Married With Children. He made his feature-film debut in D.C. Cab (1983) and went on to appear in such films as Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death (1988) and Pizza Man (1991). He began hosting and writing for Politically Incorrect in 1994. The show would run until 2002, and Maher would pick up where he left off the next year, with Real Time with Bill Maher.
Biography by Sandra Brennan
- Began his career as a stand-up and was host at New York's top comedy club, Catch a Rising Star, which led to gigs on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show.
- Received the L.A. Press Club's President's Award for championing free speech shortly after his Emmy-nominated Politically Incorrect was canceled by ABC.
- Penned When You Ride Alone You Ride with Bin Laden: What the Government Should Be Telling Us to Help Fight the War on Terrorism in 2002.
- In 2004, on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher, both he and Fahrenheit 9/11 filmmaker Michael Moore got on their knees to beg Ralph Nader to drop out of the presidential race. (It didn't work.)
- A board member of PETA, he is a fan of the animal-rights organization's sometimes outrageous publicity tactics, asking USA Today, "If you don't cross the line somehow, how do you know where it is?"
- Comedy Central ranks him No. 38 among its top 100 stand-up acts.