As with most people forced to exist in the same world as it, our general policy in recent years has been to try to avoid looking too directly at HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher. Maher—despite his once considerable comedy chops—has, after all, long embraced his status as a political gadfly, a devoted follower of the “I speak truth (and the occasional racial slur) to power” set, in a way that defies “leftist” and “rightist” dogma in favor of landing firmly in the realm of Comfortably Smug. Still, there are times when his bookers do the devil’s work of actually forcing us to pay attention to his HBO series, by bringing on guests with actual impact on our day-to-day lives—guests like Speaker Of The House Nancy Pelosi, who’s set to appear on the show’s 18th season premiere next Friday night.
Credit where it’s due: It’s a big get, especially since that same week is expected to see the California rep. deliver articles of impeachment to the Senate in the national case against Donald Trump. Which is exactly the sort of complicated political situation that Maher’s show makes a specialty of processing down into a slurry of bickering and memes, as is the house style, and which will likely regurgitate up some tepid clips on Saturday morning of Pelosi smiling boredly while Maher cracks the appearance of a joke. Similarly feeding himself into the blender next Friday night: Democratic hopeful Andrew Yang, who will presumably field a series of perfectly basic questions about his political platform, presented in the voice of someone deeply annoyed that everyone else hasn’t already solved the Rubik’s Cube of political ideology like he has, c’mon, people, why don’t you just think?!
Real Time premieres its 18th-season premiere next Friday night; Donald Trump’s subsequent tweets about the appearance will presumably premiere shortly after, i.e., whenever his morning bathroom urges force him to awaken, phone already in hand, the following day.