In 1978, Bill Maher received his Bachelor in Arts in English and History from Cornell University and while he attended this college, Bill Maher made his first steps in stand up comedy, by trying stand up at Catch a Rising Star night club in New York. Bill Maher end up being the host of the New York City Catch a Rising Star in 1979.
Bill Maher was there noticed as a talented comedian and began appearing on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. Funny and talented, by 1982, the comedian Bill Maher was very often invited back on Johnny Carsons's Tonight Show and also David Letterman's show. In the 1980's, Bill Maher had many tv appearances and also in several films, in comic roles, being also the writer on the sitcom Roseanne.
Bill Maher's movie debut was in 1983, in D.C. Cab and his comedian movie career continued with his appearance in 1986 Ratboy, 1988 Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death and 1991 Pizza Man. In 1989, Bill Maher's stand up career evolved with his HBO special One Night Stand.
Bill Maher's One Night stand HBO special was repeated by the comedian in 1992. In 1990, Bill Maher was the host of Midnight Hour, a short-lived CBS series and in 1992 the comedian got a solo gig on the cable station HBO's One Night Stand series.
Even though the comedian made many appearances in Tonight show with Johnny Carson and in David Letterman's show, Bill Maher was unhappy with the show's rules , where every comedian material was filtred in a way that no political commentary offended anyone. In 1995, Bill Maher continues his stand up career with the one hour HBO comedy Stuff that Struck Me Funny and with 1997 The Golden Goose Special.
So, in 1993, Bill Maher made his debut with a format show that fited his talent and wish: Politically Incorrect. Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect was aired on Comedy Central and it had a format where Bill Maher and his guests discussed political topic of the day, with a libertarian sense of humour.
Bill Maher Politically Incorrect first episode featured Jerry Seinfeld and Howard Stern , Robin Quivers, Republican Party Ed Rollins and comedian Larry Miller. In 1995 and 1996, Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect won two CableAce Awards for Talk Show Series and was nominated also in 1997.
In 1997, because of the good ratings, Bill Maher Politically Incorrect got the attention of ABC and the show jumped from cable to network. In 2000, Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Techincal Direction, Camerawork, Video for a Series and from 1995 to 2002 the comedy show was also nominated for seventeen others, including in 1997 for Bill Maher, for Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Music Program.
In 2000, Bill Maher's stand up comedy show Be More Cynical had the premier, the one hour stand up comedy show being released on DVD five year later, in 2005. Bill Maher's stand up comedy show Be More Cynical is the comedian's fifth stand up comedy show and includes controversial topics like drugs, gun control, George W Bush, Bill Clinton, religion and was recorded in San Francisco, a few moths before the 2000 US Presidential Election.
In 2001 and 2002, Bill Maher Politicall'sy Incorrect was nominated for best Comedy/Variety series 2001 and 2002, by Writers Guild America. In 2002, Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect was canceled over a major controversy about September 11 and even though ABC denied that Politically Incorrect show was stopped because of the controverse, the rumour still stands.
The controverse came upon US President George W Busg statement that the terrorists responsible for 9/11 were cowards, statemant that Bill Maher didn't agree to in his Politically Incorrect, saying that " We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly.
Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly". In that point, some advertisers withdrew their support, Bill Maher apologized and he explained that his statement was about US military policy, not American soldires and that he didn't say anything about the morallity of the attacks.
Anyway, Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect show was canceled in June 2002 , and ABC denied that the controversy was the decisive factor and that the reason of the cancelation was the low ratings.
In 2003, Bill Maher returned to his stand up career and had the premier of the Victory Begins at Home stand up comedy show. Bill Maher's stand up comedy show Victory Begins at Home was filmed in Manhattan, New York City, at Hudson Theatre and was released on 19th of July 2003.
In 2003, Bill Maher's tv show Real Time with Bill Maher had the premier on the HBO cable television network. The Real Time with Bill Maher show, which is still aired today (2009), is a debate show with a similar format of Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect, but with serious and well informed guests, as Bill Maher told Terry Gross in 2004.
Bill Maher is a frequent guest on Larry King Live on CNN and in Januray 2006, he was the host of the show. Also in 2006, Bill Maher's Real Time with Bill Maher was released on audio CD and the CD came with a second CD which included segments and clips from Real Time. This second CD was entitled Bill Maher's New Rules.
In 2005, Bill Maher's stand up comedy career continued with his seventh HBO special: I'm Swiss and Other Treasonous Statements. Bill Maher's stand up comedy show I'm Swiss and Other Treasonous Statements was recorded at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in March 2005 and Bill Maher video was released on DVD on 1st of Nocember 2005.
HBO special of Bill Maher included political topics, religious topics and also material about drugs and gay marriage. In 2007, Bill Maher's eight HBO stand up comedy special The Decider was premiered on 21st of July, being aired from the Berklee Performance Center in Boston. Bill Maher's stand up comedy show The Decider has the same direction as his previous, including social, religious and political material.
Bill Maher teamed up with the director Larry Charles and on 3rd of October 2008 was released Bill Maher's Religulous , a documentary that does what Bill Maher often did in his Politically Incorrect and Real Time with Bill Maher: satirizes organized religion.
Bill Maher's video Religulous was released on DVD, on 17th of February 2009 and the Special Features include deleted scenes, a commentary with Larry Charles and Bill Maher and Bill Maher monologues. Bill Maher's video Religulous collected a range of views on the religions all over the world, including Christians, Jews for Jesus, former Mormons, Muslims, Hasidic Jews.
Bill Maher documentary Religulous is full of interviews with various people, including a former Satanist, in different destinations, such as Vatican, Jerusalim or Salt Lake City. The reviews for Bill Maher Religulous were mostly positive, with some mixed negative reviews and is now 7th among the top 10 highest grossing documentaries in the US.