Bill Maher: Major League Irony as
Tommy Smothers Appears on Politically Incorrect
September 28, 2001
Earlier this week there was
major league irony on the Bill Maher show Politically Incorrect.
The show took place at the
height of the controversy over Maher's comments that "we" were
"cowards" for fighting terrorists in the past by "lobbing
cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away." While at first seemingly
deliberately misinterpreted by some as an attack on the military by Maher,
what Maher meant, and what was later generally accepted as his meaning, was
that the politicians were cowards for not allowing the military to
"do its job" for fear of causalities that could hurt the
On the show, and introduced
with a great deal of respect and affection by Bill Maher, was Tommy Smothers
of The Smothers Brothers comedy act. Smothers expressed empathy with
what Maher was going through.
Bill Maher, Tommy Smothers
and the Vietnam War
The Smothers Brothers program
on CBS was canceled at the height of the Vietnam War because of their
outspoken opposition to the U.S. intervention in Indochina.
As noted elsewhere, Bill Maher has stated
over and over again on his program his support of the Vietnam War.
So here we had one comedian
-- Tommy Smothers-- who was fired for opposing a U.S. war, speaking in
solidarity with another comedian --Bill Maher -- who not only is a vehement
supporter of the war Smothers opposed, but was facing the loss of his
program for making comments that were meant to call for more, not less, U.S.
I wonder if Tommy Smothers
knows of Maher's enthusiastic support for the Vietnam War. I thought
we might see some fireworks over that, but when Smothers mentioned how he
had felt it necessary to oppose the "sickness" back then, Maher
Maybe Bill Maher remained
silent out of respect for the legendary Smothers, or maybe they've agreed to
disagree privately but not in public. Maybe from Smothers'
perspective, it's a case of regardless of the position being taken,
defending the right to speak out.
In any event, it must be said
that Bill Maher does deserve credit for letting dissident voices be heard
this week who oppose any massive U.S. military
strike on Afghanistan, and advocate alternative means of protecting
ourselves and bringing bin Laden et al to justice.