(Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty Images)

Bill Maher—a man who seems to consider himself a pioneer in the field of smugly crossing the lines of America’s few remaining taboos—blew past another one tonight, casually dropping a racial slur in the middle of a televised conversation with Nebraska Republican senator Ben Sasse. Sasse was on Maher’s HBO program, Real Time, to promote his new book, and engaged in a bit in which he encouraged Maher to come visit his state and work in its fields. Maher responded, apparently off the cuff, with, “Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house nigga.”

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Perhaps Maher thought it would be good for ratings, as the controversies he inevitably drops on himself—attacking Muslims, denouncing vaccinations, serving as a platform for bleached assholes—usually are. In any case, the crowd in the studio clapped, while Sasse just smiled along, with the tortured face of a man who just realized he’s about to become a headline yet again.

Maher’s parent network, HBO, has not yet responded to his use of the slur.

[via The Root, which, like The A.V. Club, is owned by Univision Communications]

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