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Bill Maher (born January 20, 1956) is an American comedian, actor, writer and producer. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Cornell University in 1978.

He is most notable as the former host of Politically Incorrect, which aired on the Comedy Central television network and later ABC. Maher is also the host of the HBO talk show Real Time With Bill Maher.

Maher resigned as host of PI in 2002 after making a controversial on-air remark, in which he objected to the President and others calling the September 11 terorrists cowardly: "We have been the cowards lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly."

In the sensitive aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the remark was deemed too controversial for some financial supporters. Although some Liberal and Conservative pundits supported Maher, pointing out the distinction between physical and moral cowardice, companies including FedEx and Sears Roebuck pulled their advertisements from the show, quickly causing the show to cost more than it returned. The show was subsequently cancelled on June 16, 2002.

On June 22, six days after the cancellation of Politically Incorrect, Maher received the President's Award (for championing free speech) from the Los Angeles Press Club.

In 2003, Maher became the host of Real Time with Bill Maher, a debate show somewhat similar to PI.

Maher has been an outspoken advocate of several political positions, but no notable overall ideology. Although he is a self-described libertarian, he has often been accused of being a liberal (particularly given his support of the public school system and government-sponsored environmental projects) and occasionally a conservative (he supports the death penalty). Some of his other stances, including privatizing social security and ending the War on Drugs, are distinctively libertarian. He is also outspoken about his pro-choice stance on abortion.

Article text released under CC-BY-SA. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Bill Maher" (16-Jun-2004)


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