Friday, June 14, 2013

What Happens in Vegas: Bill Maher Tells Joke, Right Wing World Goes Insane

Bill Maher appeared at The Palms here in Las Vegas this past weekend. During his set, he told a joke about Sarah Palin. Or Trig Palin. Or both of them. In any event, he used the word "retarded" or "retard" along the way (no one seems to have nailed that part down). A former local sportscaster, a conservative, was at the show on free passes. He heckled Maher over the joke, and was ejected from the auditorium. Those are the facts, such as they are, as far as I know them.

Bill Maher, from Wikipedia
Now, I realize that over the past decade or two, the "r" word as it is often called, has slid further and further out of acceptable use, and I'm all for that. I excised it from my own syntax a long time ago (though will cop to having used "celebutard" and other mashups, but I've cut that out too). Comedians still use it. I'm sure if you did an exhaustive search, you'd find many, many of them having used it either in their written material or an ad lib. I'm sure if you tried just a little, you could find examples of prominent conservatives using it too (but good luck finding a conservative comic, they're apparently an endangered species).

On Wednesday, Ron Futrell, the heckler, appeared on Live and Local with Kevin Wall on KXNT, one of several right-wing Vegas radio stations (there are no liberal ones). He related the story to Wall, both of them having a whale of a time telling it, but it was very short on details. Since then, I haven't been able to glean much more, with every source saying pretty much the same thing. And, since then, Palin predictably fired back via Twitter. And since it's Palin--a right-wing hero for reasons utterly lost on me--the right-wing blogosphere is enraged at Bill Maher.

Ron Futrell, ex-sportscaster, Mormon, heckler.
Image from Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Ironically, their commentary toward him is several shades beyond calling Palin (either or both of them) "retard." Twitter, Facebook, blogs and message boards are filled with venom toward Maher, or I guess I should say, more than usual. But here's the really weird part: unless I've missed it, nobody has relayed the joke. All of this outrage is a) based on Futrell's sketchy story, b) assuming Futrell's side of the story is accurate, and c) assumes that the joke/punchline/"r" word was directed at Trig Palin, rather than Sarah Palin.

I'll admit, I'm a Bill Maher fan. I watch Real Time on HBO every week, and usually run his Over Time web-only clips on my blog. I'm nearly 100% on board with his religious beliefs as he's expressed them, and probably 75%-80% with him on political topics. But sometimes, I think he misses the point of a story, focusing on the wrong aspect. Sometimes I think he can be a dick, if the audience isn't going his way. And sometimes--like a lot of edgy, adult comics--he can cross a line. He's been known to ruffle feathers, it's kind of his thing.

This column isn't a defense of what he said at The Palms this weekend. Because I don't know what he said. Who does know? Bill Maher does. His audience that night does. Ron Futrell might, but it sounds like he was spoiling for a fight, and was heckling Maher for more than just that joke. But again, unless I missed it, I've yet to see the actual wording of the joke. Until I do, I find all of this hyperventilating from Right Wing World to be ridiculous. To be pissed off about what he said, don't you have to know what he said?

But you know, for a group that likes to throw around the term "libtard," I'm not sure there's a lot of room for them to talk anyway.

And Sarah Palin has never uttered an offensive word. . .
Image from source, Huffington Post.


Sarah Palin Hopes Bill Maher's 'White Wimpy A#*' Gets Flattened After Trig Palin Slur

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin blasted comedian Bill Maher on Twitter Wednesday after learning of a slur he directed at her special needs son, Trig Palin. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post


Ex-sports anchor chides Bill Maher

Former Las Vegas TV personality Ron Futrell was escorted out of liberal comedian Bill Maher’s show at the Palms on Saturday after a heckling incident. . .

Read more at: Las Vegas Review-Journal

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