Bill Maher says he has no idea how classic late-night talk shows have survived this long and doesn’t expect them to last much longer.
Some in the entertainment industry believe that traditional late-night talk shows on television are on their way out.
Bill Maher, who runs his own late-night show on HBO’s Real Time, addressed the topic with actor and comedian Jim Gaffigan on the latest episode of the Club Random podcast. Gaffigan anticipated that the industry strikes will “kill the late-night show that we grew up on,” making reference to shows such as The Tonight Show and The Late Show. Maher concurred, adding that he’s not sure how those series are still on the air in 2023, considering how much the television landscape has changed with the rise of streaming.
“Now, this is, again, no knock on the guys who do it, but I don’t know how this art form has survived up until now,”
stated Maher, pointing out some differences between Real Time and broadcast TV talk shows.
“I understand why I’m on because I’m on HBO. It’s an hour without commercials. Sorry, it’s just a lot more entertaining, it’s a lot more edgy, it’s a lot more unpredictable, and it’s true talk. I get that.”
Maher went on to say,
“What I don’t get is this era of watching what sponsors are sponsoring a show that’s on after most people go to bed in an era when you can do anything at any time. You can watch anything. You get into bed, you can watch Netflix, you can watch HBO, you can watch YouTube, you can watch anything that was ever made or do video games. Even if you wanted to watch this late-night stuff, wouldn’t you watch it sometime when you could zip through the commercials or just see the stuff you like? It just seems so anachronistic. I don’t know how it survives until now.”
Bill Maher Isn’t Buying Late-Night Talk Show Hosts’ “Takes”
Gaffigan chimed in to give the late-night hosts some credit. The Linoleum star stated that audiences “develop a relationship” with personalities such as Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert, leaving them anticipating “Colbert’s take” on certain events. However, Maher disagrees, claiming that the viewpoints voiced on those shows aren’t actual “takes,” but rather merely reiterating what their networks want them to say.
“It’s not a take,” as put by Maher,
“Those guys don’t have takes. I have takes. I have a take on things. What they do is say exactly what a liberal audience wants them to say about that. That’s not a take. I’m not saying it’s not sincere, I guess it is on their part, but even if it wasn’t, that’s what they would do. There’s never a moment where you don’t know exactly, oh, this is the correct point of view on that. The strike is a perfect example. Those guys would never go back. This strike could go on till the 24th century, they would stay out.”
The late-night talk shows will remain on hiatus as long as the WGA strike lasts; whether they will eventually end, as Gaffigan and Maher anticipate, remains to be known.
Bill Maher and Jim Gaffigan get together on Club Random Podcast to talk about how late-night talk shows have managed to ‘survive’ through the whole WGA strike situation while maintaining an overall light-hearted and comic atmosphere: