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Larry King Live

Bill Maher Discusses `Politically Incorrect'

Aired April 28, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, he's politically incorrect, and proud of i -- the seriously funny Bill Maher here full hour. We're going to take your calls, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

KING: He's the host of one of the best shows on television, "Politically Incorrect," nightly on ABC, he's one of the top standup comics in this country, and next week, he's an extraordinary series of shows, "Politically Incorrect," taped behind prison bars. We'll talk about that in a while. But we'd also like to get up to date with the news, and later, we'll your phone calls for Bill Maher.

Elian -- I don't have to ask a question; all I have to say is say Elian -- Go.

BILL MAHER, "POLITICALLY INCORRECT": That's why it's such a great job, isn't it? You've got to do that. But...

KING: What do you make of this saga.

MAHER: Well, I have many things I'd like to say. Number one, I think, because we always do try to say things that haven't been said. How about a little shoutout, a little pat on the back for law enforcement, you know? I am as rough any anybody on the police when they mess up, and they do often. I mean, out here we have a scandal.

KING: Indeed.

MAHER: New York City, you know, with plungers, you know, and then mayor gets prostate cancer. If that's not karma.

But how about this little pat on the back when they do one right, you know. I mean they got -- no one got hurt. People criticized the use of force was excessive. Really? What should they have done? Gone in as the Easter Bunny? Maybe a big hollow Pokemon, you know, like a Trojan horse. We're just here to play with Elian. No, it was a hostile situation. They went in, there was unfortunate picture of a fisherman in a closet. I don't know what that was -- but I mean, they really pulled it off. And I think where's their 15 minutes? This is the most 15-minute crazy family I have ever seen. First of all, do they have jobs these people? They never seem to be out at work when the Elian situation imposes upon their life. Can I miss a day of work? Could I miss a month? Could I miss a year? Right. Stay at hotel. I mean, I don't know...

KING: People in the street -- do they work? They're on the street all the time.

MAHER: You mean, the human chain, right. They forming a human chain as opposed to their old human chain, around the unemployment office.

KING: How did this story get this -- how did it get to this?

MAHER: I talked to my mother today. She said, don't bring up children with Larry King, it makes him crazy.

KING: I like children, and you don't. But Elian is 6, you've got to like Elian. If you don't like Elian, you're weird. You're weird, Maher.

MAHER: I do like Elian.

KING: Tell me, the only person you don't like in this whole story is Elian?

MAHER: No, no, I do, No, I think Elian is great. It's the family. It's those crazy drunk uncles, and that girl named Mayonnaise as far as I can tell, and the fisherman in closet.

KING: You keep going back to that. What do you make of that?

MAHER: If I pitched this as a series, I don't -- it's kind of an "I Love Lucy" meets "The Brady Bunch." I mean, who would buy this? These people are no more related to him than Speedy Gonzalez. I mean, they're crazy, and the thought that a court any court in the world, would give custody to these lunatics is insane.

KING: What do you make of Elian's friends coming in today? They flew in friends.

MAHER: I think that's wonderful. I don't have children, but I think I understand children better than the people who are exploiting the situation, who said things, for example, like, "That night will traumatize him the rest of his life," the soldier with the gun. Well, you saw the other picture with father. It didn't even traumatize him for the rest the day. That's how kids are. The glue hasn't dried on them. They can move from situation to situation. They're resilient.

KING: You're very understanding of that. They are the most resilient people, I think.

MAHER: Exactly. And they're happy one minute and sad the next, and I think he's very happy now. People talk about this kid going back to Cuba like he's going to be living with Castro. You know, Castro is just the president. Kids don't care about presidents. You know, this is the same crowd...

KING: Nor is he a communist.

MAHER: Nor is he a communist, right.

KING: Elian not a communist, as yet. MAHER: Well, these are the same people who said when Clinton was being impeached, what do we tell the children? You know, that was really what was so horrible about that situation, was that, you know, there's no way to describe to a child the monster of Bill Clinton enjoying sex, because we could explain to kids the Holocaust or the Killing Fields, but not Bill Clinton. It's just -- what do we tell? Of course, you know, when I was 4 years old, that is what I was thinking -- what kind of tale is Ike getting? That's what was on my mind. Kids don't care about presidents or political systems; they care about who is taking care of them, their parents, hopefully, and if not, not insane people.

KING: Do you sympathize with Janet Reno?

MAHER: I love Janet Reno. I have every year at the end of the season of Christmastime, our show gives out fruit baskets to people who I think deserve one, because we criticize a lot of people. I always give one to Janet Reno. I have said many times, she is only person in that administration with any balls. I hope I can say that.

KING: You said it.

MAHER: I'm sorry if I can't. There you go. ABC let me, so.

And she deserves a fruit basket, she deserves a pat on the back, she also deserves something more for the crap she's taken for Waco. You know, I mean, I am...

KING: She took the heat for that. She admitted it on this show.

MAHER: And she gave the heat.

KING: Yes, but she made a mistake, she said. She listened to people, she shouldn't have gone in, killed those kids.

MAHER: Well, see, Larry, that's wrong to say that. She shouldn't have gone in and killed those kids. I don't think she killed those kids.

KING: She pressed the button. She said go.

MAHER: But she didn't burn the place down necessarily. David Koresh was a doomsday cult leader. He was shot in the first attempt to take him, so he was probably dying. Mount Carmel was name of their compound. Well look in Bible, Mount Carmel in Kings I is where bad people try to take over some place from good people, and everybody died in the big fire, OK? So the fact that everyone blames and immediately jumps to this supposition that Janet Reno did this, that our law enforcement people would do that on purpose, as opposed to this...

KING: But she said she lives with it every day.

MAHER: ... scummy guy.

KING: She said it torments her. MAHER: Of course, because what else can she say. At this point, public opinion -- she can't even make that comment that maybe it was him. But if I had to put my money on who did this, I mean, I have a little more faith in our federal law enforcement guys. I think they're a little better than that than they go in and burn a compound, with this guy who was, you know, telling people he was God and creating this very sad situation. And also, I don't think private citizens should have arsenals. I think this is the kind of rough stuff I want our government to get no involved in. I don't can't our government doing a lot. But when a guy is amassing an arsenal over $250,000, either he's planning something big, or he's going to get into rap, one of those, Larry, one of those.

KING: We'll take a break and we'll talk with Bill Maher about his sojourn to an infamous prison, one of the toughest in the country, and his shows down there, which will air all next week.

Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Elian, the Cuban boy. Richard Kyle Pier says Juan Gonzalez. And a special guest of appearance by Attorney General Janet Reno.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR (singing): There is a sacred bond between father and son. I will uphold the law until this deed is done!

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR (singing): My boy, Elian, we've been so long apart, and you, Janet Reno, have lifted my heart

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS (singing): Oh, look at us, aren't we a pair? We want what is best for the boy, we do. But in all of the madness, we found each other, and I fell in love with you.




MAHER: No, actually this place really reminds me of the White House. I mean, everyone claims to be innocent, there is a lot of illicit sex, and you spend your days pick up trash. Anyway, let's...


KING: How did it go? We're going to see it all next week. What was it like?

MAHER: It was great for us -- we got to leave.

KING: Yes.

MAHER: For the audience not so good -- they had to stay.

KING: What did it feel like to perform for them?

MAHER: I felt like Bob Hope.

KING: Really?

MAHER: Well, because it was outside, there was people in the bleachers who were a captive audience. You know, I mean, you saw those.

KING: Good sense of humor.

MAHER: Yes, there were kind of like a college crowd. They didn't get a lot, you know, there was subtle things went by them, but when they got something, they whooped it up and were great.

KING: The prison you chose, Maricopa County Jail in Arizona, run by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, called America's toughest sheriff.

MAHER: Yes, he's very proud of that.

KING: How do they treat them there?

MAHER: Badly, and that's his plan.

KING: Were all your shows prison-oriented? By that, I mean was each -- you had many panelists on.

MAHER: We had -- the shows are comprised of a panel of two inmates and two celebrities. Comedians are regular kind of folks, "Hurricane" Carter being the one who sort of bridged that gap.

KING: Yes, I would say.

But you had Bob Rolston (ph), you had Judge Mathis, Mike Farrell...

MAHER: Right, David Spade, Paul Rodriguez, yes, mixed with the people, the hacks and screws, Larry, if I may use the prison terminology, and it's interesting, because nothing we thought about prisons was what these guys will tell you.

KING: Meaning?

MAHER: Well for example, people will argue on the outside that prisons are for either rehabilitation, or punishment or just warehousing them so they're not on the streets. You know what these guys think it's for? Profit. That's what they contend, that prisons -- and they're not alone. Jesse Jackson, I find out, has said similar.

KING: Profit how?

MAHER: Profit because they said they were a result of a political promise made by politicians to voters: We're going to build more prisons, and then they build prisons in rural communities, they pump up the economy, lots of jobs, lots of -- billions of dollars goes into building them, we hear this all the time, and then they bring people from the inner city and keep them there.

KING: But they have committed crimes.

MAHER: Well, Some of them have -- most of them have committed real crimes. And by the way, these prisoners will all tell you they are innocent. They all have an excuse. One is more amusing than the next.

KING: Did your panelists -- were they innocent, too?

MAHER: Oh, of course. One guy is in there -- he was in for a grand theft auto. He said he didn't steal the car, he was hitchhiking, you know, because usually a guy has just stolen a car is going to pick up a hitchhiker, you know, so he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. That's their biggest line, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. One guy was caught while we were there trying to smuggle a razor blade in his mouth. God knows what he was going to do with it, probably cut somebody. He claimed it was in the food.


MAHER: Because you know, that happens, and often even when it gets in your mouth, you're not really aware of it.

KING: Did you enjoy doing the monologue?

MAHER: I loved that. Well, that was Bob Hope part. You know, you're out there in front of these guys. And they saw us as heroes a little bit, because we were giving them airtime. We were letting them pop off, vent, and God knows...

KING: Now you had Barbara Olson. She's pretty strong on enforcement, isn't she?


KING: Did she have a comfortable time there?

MAHER: Well, Barbara Olson is a great guest, as you know, because she is truly unflappable. I mean, you can not ever move her off her position, or you know, she's not going to break down, no matter how many people are against her. And this was one of those situations -- I do try to avoid this on our show, where it's four against one, everyone on the panel, which was me -- forget who -- certainly the prisoners, because one prisoner I think was telling us that she was in jail because she just had a roach in her glove compartment. I don't know about that. Usually that is a lie. Usually there is something else. The roach was a probably violation of parole.

It doesn't matter. The point is that there are hundreds of thousands of nonviolent drug offenders in prison, and they shouldn't be there. And there is no reason why this country shouldn't condone certain mood-altering devices. We all would like to alter our mood. We used to...

KING: You would legalize drugs then?

MAHER: Yes I would.

KING: Many conservatives feel that.

MAHER: Not many, but it's getting to be more and more. The governor of New Mexico has come out this way, William F. Buckley, Timothy Leary before he died.

KING: Saying that people should have the right to use what they wish. If they harm themselves, it's themselves, right?

MAHER: Exactly, we do not base our country, as we do in the drug war, on what someone might do if they do something that semidangerous. Cars are dangerous. We don't base our automotive policy on Gary Busey, and yet we base our drug policy on Gary Busey. You see, Larry, it just doesn't make sense.

KING: Gary comes in for it.

MAHER: But really, I mean, liquor is a very dangerous drug. We just accept the certain number of people are going to screw up with it.

KING: Some critics say that you're glorifying criminals by giving them this network platform for it, not only a script of five nights, but you carry over one extra night following week, right?

MAHER: Actually the last show -- no, it's not going next the week; I think it's going to be at the end of May. There's one more -- sort of like that little drop of water that comes out of your ear a couple of hours later.

KING: But what about glorifying it?

MAHER: Who is saying that, Larry? I want names.

KING: I don't know. It says criticism -- some critics are saying that when you do shows like this, you...

MAHER: I brook no criticism Larry.

KING: That's right. You didn't glorify them at all?

MAHER: That's silly. We're not glorifying. We're trying to -- first of all, we're a comedy show -- we're getting comedy. Hey, if anything we're not glorifying, then we're exploiting them, and...

KING: That's right, you are. You're using them.

MAHER: And also, we're educating people, I think, about what it's like behind bars. I didn't know that thing about profit. I didn't know, for example, how close the guards and prisoners are.

KING: They're like oh, yeah?

MAHER: First of all, there is a revolving door. People in prison do not see prison the way we do, as most god awful thing could ever happen to you. When you're a criminal, it's a career-building move to go to prison, I'm not kidding, and jail is like community college. It matters, but you really want to go to the heavy federal pen if you want street credibility.

KING: So you're getting out, and guards are close to you because they';re on revolving door basis, too.

MAHER: Most of the guards they are people who could have easily wound up on the other side of the line. They both talk about this. Guards very often were in gangs when they were younger or did some time; criminals very often had some affiliation with the police or maybe they wanted to be a cop. This criminal justice system, it's like show business -- it's a very close-knit family; they all know other.

KING: We'll be back with more. That will air all next week on "Politically Incorrect" from the prison.

We'll come back, talk about other things, take your phone calls, too, for Bill Maher, have to draw him out, but we try. Don't go away.


MAHER: I know that this is supposed to be, well reputed to be the toughest jail in America, the toughest you have. OK, you do not have the privileges that a lot of inmates have. You do not have -- you can't lift weights. You can't get any sort of pornography. You can't watch TV, except for the Disney Channel and CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think if they had a lot more...


PAUL RODRIGUEZ, COMEDIAN: That should be grounds for cruel and unusual punishment.



RODRIGUEZ: Let me, let me -- don't get me wrong, I'm not on your side. I'm talking about be forced to watch CNN.




(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN") DAVID LETTERMAN, LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a great program tonight. Here's my good friend Paul Schafer!



KING: Yes, it's everywhere.

We move now from Elian and prison.

By the way, you're going to Hugh Hefner -- you're going to Playboy Mansion for a week. What's "Politically Incorrect" -- what next, cruise ships?

MAHER: We're filming at the bottom of the Marianas Trench in November for sweeps, Larry, as a stunt.

KING: You're going to the Playboy.

MAHER: Yes, that's reward for going to prison a week.

KING: Panel shows again, sitting the same forum.

MAHER: Well, we will not give up on our format, which is getting people arguing and talking in a very vibrant way, I hope, but what I'm going to try to do there is a tribute to the old "Playboy After Dark," which was the first show to attempt to make a television show a party. Remember that show, it was wonderfully campy and groovy.

KING: You're going to try to do that same kind of...


MAHER: Right not audience, just a bunch people at party, but we will do that, and we will talk about some of the things probably that we talked about during our Valentines Week.

KING: But you'll have your panels as well, right?

MAHER: Yes, we'll have good people who are argue, we'll have a lot of people there, but they'll probably be issues mostly about love, and romance. It's not going to be too heavy political that week.

KING: When we go to calls, by the way, Bill Maher at the bottom of hour, you ask him about anything -- what did you make of Leonardo DiCaprio interviewing Clinton on ABC.

MAHER: ABC -- God love my network, they're always making news themselves.

KING: That's right. They are creator of their own news.

MAHER: They don't need news; they are news. I thought that was -- I was very amused, because the people, you know, you probably know better than I do, the Washington media establishment was up in arms that this actor, this boy would go and talk to the president, because there is so much more than vacuous, blow-dried, prompter readers, you know. What about Edward R. Murrow? What about Walter Cronkite? What about Mary Hart?

You know, the people were really getting down on this. You know, I know, I know it took Helen Thomas years to sleep to that job, but please, I mean, it's just reading lines. It's not like we have the old kind of media. That's why reporters are able to play themselves in movies all the time, because it's interchangeable. A script is a script. Sometimes you say, "I'm king of the world"; sometimes say, "Mr. President, I'm worried about global warming."

KING: So it didn't bother you?

MAHER: No, no. I loved that. And if you watch the show -- it was a good show. Nobody watched it because it was about the environment, only the most important, pressing problem of course, the politicians out to lunch on that. Bush constantly making fun of Gore. I'm not a big Gore fan, but he is right about that, just the way Bush's father remember called him "ozone man," and said he's in a panic about environment. Well, I want a guy who be in a panic about the environment. The environment is in a panicky state.

KING: Because if you don't fix that, nothing else is going to happen.

MAHER: How old is your kid? Two?

KING: Thirteen months.

MAHER: OK, in 25 years, I don't know what this place this planet is going be like for him if we don't do something very soon. And George Bush says things like, you know, Gore's book needs a lot of explaining. Of course, he says that about every book.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with more of Bill Maher. We'll cover -- I got to move along. We'll cover some other bases and then your phone calls.

Don't go away.


JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: Clinton endorses Gore and Hollywood fund- raiser. L.A. crowd secretly thinks I'm thinner than both of them, saying I'm getting too old for this (EXPLETIVE DELETED), President Clinton played Murtah to Al Gore's Riggs last weekend at a star studded Democratic Party fund-raiser in Beverly Hills. Both Clinton and Gore were dressed Hollywood "cas," with Gore opting for a daring open-neck shirt. He did however stop two buttons short of revealing his tasteful vice presidential medallion.


KING: It's great having him on LARRY KING LIVE. He's Bill Maher, the host of "Politically Incorrect."

What do you make about the gay Boy Scout leader issue went before the Supreme Court this week?

MAHER: We've talked about it many times. This issue just keeps coming up again and again. I probably surprised a lot of people on this one. I don't think there should be gays in the Boy Scouts, because, I'm a big proponent that you got to let, you know, the squares be the squares. You know, there are squares -- and we need squares in the world. They got a lot of stuff done.

KING: So they have a right to -- they're an organization of squares.

MAHER: Well, I'm saying, like, the people who want the 10 Commandments hung in the schools, maybe if we let them have the Boy Scouts, let them have Miss America and let them have the National Honor Society and try not to break down all their doors, maybe they would let us have schools without the 10 Commandments in them.

KING: A tradeoff.

MAHER: Boy Scout -- the word, I mean, it is very about being a square. It's not about being gay. I can't think of anything less gay than taking a bunch of prepubescent boys in woods overnight with short pants on. Wait a second, Larry, that's...

KING: Didn't come out. Also in this week, there's a gay protest this weekend in Washington, and they're going to gather at Lincoln Memorial, and bond, sort of. They can't get married, but they're going to be gay couples announcing -- and Vermont now has -- what do you think of that? That's OK, isn't it?

MAHER: Sort of a "million go girl" march? I'm all for that. I mean, why shouldn't they be miserable like anybody else, please. But yes, of course, I don't understand -- you know, I used to do a bit in my act about having -- your past age you have to get the exam, you know that kind of horrible exam we're talking about, where they stick a camera up your --

KING: Yes.

MAHER: By the way, the cameras loves me.


MAHER: But every time I go through that, I think why would anyone want to be gay? I totally don't understand it. But that's what the world is, things you can not in any way relate to, but still accept and tolerate. And for the conservatives side to be so anti-gay just makes no sense, because we used to like them, because they were about getting out of our lives and letting people do whatever they wanted, as long as it wasn't hurting somebody else.

KING: Conservatives were those who said stay away, let me be private.

MAHER: They became the Taliban. That's what conservatives did in this country. They used to be hot for money, and then got hot for Jesus. They were better when they were hot for money. That's what Republicans need to be.

KING: More votes there, too?

MAHER: Yes, I think they -- boy, they can find a wrong issue. First, impeachment, now Elian Gonzalez. They have got some brain surgeons really heading up that party.

KING: We'll take a break, and come back and include your phone calls for Bill Maher, the host of "Politically Incorrect," all of the programs coming up next week, sweeps week, from prison.

We'll be right back.


JAY LENO, LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST: Well, I guess the big story is that the State Department announced yesterday that Elian's Gonzalez' family, his father and his stepmom, have been moved to a new secret location, which -- hope it's better than that last secret location, the closet with the creepy fisherman in it. What was that all about? No, I guess he's moved to a new home on a plantation by a river. And this poor kid -- did you see transfer today? Did you see it? Did not go well. Show what happened with Elian today. This terrible. I, again, this kid has the worst luck, just worst luck, just the worst luck.


LENO: They said he is in a farm somewhere outside Washington D.C., and they said, you know, this poor -- every night, Elian is sleeping in a different bed. Kid said I feel like president of the United States. Every night a get a different bed.




KING: We're back. Bill Maher's the guest. We're going to start including your phone calls.

We begin with Toronto -- hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Mr. King. Good evening, Bill.

KING: Hi. CALLER: I was wondering. You know, I noticed that your show -- President Clinton provided a lot of humor for your show, and I'm wondering what type of humor do you feel the next president will provide and whom do you hope it will be?

MAHER: Well, if it's humor, I -- we're really up the creek.

KING: With both of them?

MAHER: Well, I think so. They're not guys who lend themselves to humor because they're so dull. Certainly, they're not going to get involved in a sex scandal, which is a tremendous disappointment and also probably bad for the country, but I...

KING: Neither one blows your mind in respect to comedy?

MAHER: Well, you know, I told you last time I call them Bore and Gush. That's as interesting as I find either one of them. I think George Bush would be better, because, you know, already he's known as a dummy. You know, you could -- no, people do dumb jokes. He's a Quayle-esque type figure.

KING: So comics like that?

MAHER: Yes. We were talking about health care the other day, and somebody said he thinks Kaiser Permanente is the leader of Germany, which I thought...

KING: Conway, Arkansas -- hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Hi, Bill.



CALLER: First, I'd like to say that I think you're on about the Boy Scouts. But my question is, what do you think the media's role was in controlling or influencing public opinion on the Elian case?

MAHER: The media?

KING: Do you think we played a part in what the public thought? The public was mostly in agreement with the boy being with the father.

MAHER: Yes, because you give a press conference every day to mayonnaise. When did she become the leader of Hispania? Why does anyone think that this woman has anything to say? She will obviously say anything. She's cuckoo. You know, I'm surprised she hasn't gotten...

KING: Are toy saying every time...

MAHER: ...into a fist-fight with Darva Conger over air time.

KING: ... that they put her on it helped the other side? MAHER: I think that this woman, singlehandedly has done more to hurt the image of Spanish people the world over than any one since Ricky Ricardo made Lucy cry.

KING: Sacramento -- hello.

CALLER: Hello. Two things: What do you think of those non- working Cubans in Florida cussing out President Clinton and General Reno? And what's going to happen with Gore not really supporting what they did?

KING: Yes, what do you make of what Gore did?

MAHER: Pandering to the Cuban community? Not a shock that he would pander. And I'm glad that it backfired because he went down in the polls after that. But, I don't think anyone was surprised that -- we did a joke one night that said his supporters have formed a human chain around the last three things he won't say to get elected.

As far as that other question, the Cubans there, they have lost a lot of respect from me, and I think it opened a lot of people's eyes about the fact that not only did they take this kid hostage, but they have taken the entire policy about Cuba in America hostage. Because Florida is such an important state, no politician can afford to alienate the Cuban vote. And the Cubans will not allow any sort of business with Castro. We would be much better off dropping this embargo.

And also, they're such wusses, you know? If they really felt so bad about Castro, go down there and kick his ass. You know, the Soviet Union has not been propping Castro up for 10 years now. I understand back in the day when he had Russia behind him. That's not the case anymore. He's a frail old man. How big can that...


MAHER: Right. Get away from the bodega and go kick his ass.

KING: I didn't get the city, go ahead, you're on -- hello. Go ahead.

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Yes, go ahead.

CALLER: Yes, Bostic, North Carolina.


CALLER: Hi, Larry. Hi, Bill.


CALLER: Bill, you were on Larry King's show one day last year, and he asked you if you believed in God. And you said that you believed in God, that you didn't believe in religion. MAHER: Right.

CALLER: And that has come to mean a lot to me as somebody who has struggled with this, and I truly agree with you. And I'd like to know how you came to that conclusion. Thank you.

KING: Good question.

MAHER: Trial and error.

KING: You tried religion, it didn't work.

MAHER: I tried them all. I tell you, I was on a program -- no, I was raised Catholic. My mother's Jewish, but I was raised Catholic. And so I have formal religious training. I know what goes on there. And I just think it's a matter of growing up, you know? I hate to say it because I don't mean to put down people who find comfort in region, but, I mean, come on.

These people who come on my show and talk about the Bible like it's a Bible, I mean, it's a bunch of stories that can be helpful, but, you know, they're just stories. There's nothing added to spirituality for me to believe that a man lived inside of a whale. You know, if you switched that with a fairy tale when you were a kid, if they taught you that Jack and the Beanstalk was religion, you'd think that was.

You know, the Bible reads, like, to me, a game of Mad Libs. Do you remember Mad Libs?

KING: Sure.

MAHER: It's like, and then God made woman out of a rib. It's very arbitrary.

KING: But God you believe in?

MAHER: I totally believe in God. I just give him more credit than being a single parent and an author.

KING: Next caller -- I'm sorry I didn't get city. Go ahead, they haven't given to it me -- hello. Hello, are you there?

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Yes, go ahead -- Fort Lauderdale, go ahead.

CALLER: I'm from Fort Lauderdale and...

KING: Go ahead, ma'am.

CALLER: ... I want to say to Bill Maher, don't you think you're being a little unfair to the Gonzalez family here in Florida? After all, they did take care of this child for five months, whatever it took to take care of him. And he left here smiling before he was caught by those men. KING: All right, they did their best.

MAHER: They did not do their best.

KING: They fed him.

MAHER: They fed him. Thanks a lot. That was a good atmosphere for this kid to live in? I don't think so. They wanted this kid for their own purposes, to latch on, as everyone seems to want to do in this country, to their 15 minutes of fame. They would not have given up this kid if he called right now and said, you know, I've never been happier in my life than I am right now. They would say he's being brainwashed.

They wanted him because it gave them some credibility. It gave them something.

KING: Because he was a prop, do you think?

MAHER: Well, a prop -- more than a prop. It was something that gave them a reason not to be working, apparently.

KING: We'll be right back with more of Bill Maher.

Don't go away.


JON STEWART, HOST: In a last desperate attempt to keep Elian in America, his relatives have released this videotaped plea to the media.

Now clearly this tape has been edited, so it seems like a piece of propaganda. But "The Daily Show" was lucky enough to obtain the unedited version.

Those are headlines.



KING: Welcome to LARRY KING LIVE. Where are you calling from?

CALLER: Hi. Jupiter, Florida.


CALLER: I would like to know, Mr. Maher, what is your standing on Mayor Joe Carollo's firing the city manager of the city of Miami, as well as...

KING: Police chief.

CALLER: ... because he didn't fire -- the manager did not fire... KING: You know what happened in Miami today.

MAHER: No, I don't.

CALLER: ... the chief of police.

KING: OK. The mayor of the city of Miami, which is not a strong mayor form of government, fired the city manager because the city manager didn't fire the chief of police because the chief of police didn't tell the mayor that the federal agents were coming to take the kid.

MAHER: Nor should he have. The mayor of Miami said weeks ago that he would not do anything, would not lift a finger to help federal officials. I think that's an act of treason.

Is Miami now part of the United States at all? Does this mayor of this city think he can do anything? I mean, he's not the mayor of New York.


You know, there are people who think that everything is a conspiracy, and I think they're crazy. But this was sort of a conspiracy. It's the other kind of conspiracies that I don't see. I don't see the black helicopters. I don't see, you know, Bill Clinton isn't running guns and isn't firing off missiles, and Elvis isn't, you know, working undercover. He died trying to take a dump. You know, the U.N. isn't going to take over the world. The U.N. is three buildings full of squabbling bureaucrats from Chad.

KING: Wackos live off that.

MAHER: Yes. I mean, there are no UFOs. That's Steve Forbes' gay dad in a balloon.


KING: Bradenton, Florida, hello. Go ahead.

COMPUTER VOICE: If you'd like to make a call, please...


KING: Best call of the night. Take another one. Hi, where you calling from?


CALLER: I'm calling from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

KING: You're on. Go!

Go ahead.

CALLER: Oh. Mr. Maher used to have a member of the public as -- on the panel...


CALLER: ... and I was wondering, it seems to have stopped. And I was wondering why.

KING: Go ahead.

MAHER: It seems to have. Yes, last year we did once a week have on what we called a citizen panelist. And I went out and visited about 35 ABC affiliates in one year, including probably a lot of the towns we talked to tonight, and we auditioned lots of people, and it was a wonderful stunt. But I have to take a rest. I can't be out every weekend finding citizen panelists. I needed some time at home.


KING: Queens, New York, hello.

CALLER: Hi. Hi, Larry, how you doing?

KING: Fine. How are you?

CALLER: I'm OK. Can I ask Bill a frivolous question?

KING: You can ask him anything you'd like.

MAHER: I wish somebody would.

KING: Please.

CALLER: Are you single?

MAHER: I'm militantly single.

KING: Are you single, ma'am?

CALLER: I'm single, and if he's single I want to hook up.


KING: Oh, how old are you dear?

CALLER: Twenty-two.

MAHER: Twenty-two, perfect.

CALLER: And I look good.

MAHER: I'm 44.


MAHER: I don't go out with anyone who's not at least half my age.

KING: Are you still violently -- I won't say violently -- you're opposed to -- well, you're...

MAHER: Larry, I can't believe you cut her off like that. I'm just kidding.

KING: No, I liked her.

MAHER: I liked her, too. No, she had the right idea. And I love that: 22, 44. That's a -- I'm a numerologist, I love numbers.

KING: Why don't you want to be married?

MAHER: Because I believe, first of all, that you have to lie to stay married. I believe there are two things in life that you have lie to get through. One is to get elected and stay in office: You have to lie every day. And the other one is to stay married. And I don't mean that as a putdown. I just think it's inherent in the institution that you have to lie, you have to pretend that you want to go see the new Merrill Streep movie where she has an accent and cancer, you know? But you really don't.


KING: And of course, you don't like babies.

MAHER: And I don't like babies. That's another good reason.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Beach, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Hello. I'm calling from Oregon...

KING: Yes.

CALLER: ... and I just wanted to tell Bill I just love his policy on individuality.

MAHER: Thank you. Boy, this is...

KING: Do you have a question?

MAHER: Who needs a question? I love that.


KING: ... love you. Tell him where you're calling from.

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Yes.

CALLER: I'm calling from Kauai.

KING: Kauai, go ahead.

CALLER: Hello, Bill.

MAHER: Yes. Is that -- it's Kauai, Hawaii? CALLER: Yes.

KING: Yes.

CALLER: I'm calling from the island of Kauai, and I want to tell you, Bill, I'm your greatest fan. I watch your show every night...

MAHER: Thank you.

CALLER: ... though it comes on at 11:36 at night. And...

MAHER: And of course, that's Hawaii. It's from last week.


CALLER: No. Actually we do get -- we do get.

MAHER: No, I know.


MAHER: I'm just teasing you.

CALLER: But anyway, I was going to ask you about marriage, but you answered that. So my next question is, if you think you will ever have a long-term relationship with a lady?

KING: Aha, a fair question: They've come to know you and love you, Bill.

MAHER: I have had many long-term relationships with ladies. I am -- I -- it depends on how you define relationship. Most anyone who I get involved with I know for life. I don't drop people. I don't have one-night stands. I have relationships. They're just not defined the way...

KING: So they're not monogamous, or they are?

MAHER: Well, monogamy, Larry: That's the "m" word. No, I -- you know, that's one of the lies that you have to perpetrate to be married.

KING: You think you can't be monogamous?

MAHER: Oh, I think you can be. I think it's a lie to say you're enjoying it.


KING: Funny.

We'll be back with more of Bill Maher and more of your phone calls. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN") DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST: We began a new segment last night and it was very popular, so we thought we would do another installment of it tonight. It's a little something we call, "`Late Show' salutes our favorite INS officer." Take a look.





LETTERMAN: What? Where?



KING: We're back with, Bill Maher. Running through calls. Manhattan Beach, California, hello.

CALLER: Hi. I just wanted to tell Bill Maher thank you so much for saying exactly how I felt watching this whole Elian thing.

MAHER: Well, thank you.

CALLER: I mean, he just -- the people -- don't they have jobs? I mean...

MAHER: Right

KING: They love you, Bill. You think more people agree with you than don't?


MAHER: And yet you were so rude cutting her off.

KING: I'm not rude. I'm moving through them.

MAHER: Exactly, Larry. Don't get Larry fired up. He's fired up today.

KING: Jacksonville, Florida, hello.



KING: Jacksonville, are you there?

CALLER: Hello. Yes, I'm here.

KING: Yes, you're on. CALLER: I -- I just want to say thanks for -- Bill, thanks for saying exactly what all of us are thinking about the Gonzalez family as well down in Miami. And I just have a question...

MAHER: Hey, do you know that girl in Manhattan Beach, because I think you just said the same thing?

CALLER: ... if you're going to try to do anything more in more primetime?

KING: Ah, good question.

MAHER: Well, we're not -- we're not a primetime sort of a situation. We couldn't do what we do in primetime. The reason why people are saying those things -- and I can't tell you, Larry, how gratifying that is, because, you know, the media, they don't understand me anymore. I mean, when we first went on the air, they covered it a lot. They -- no, they don't -- I don't think they watch it. I don't think they know. I don't how much my own network watches or understands.

But the people, I tell you, they are -- it's so ironic, me, because I was always such a snob, but you know, it's people who understand the show. You know what the media asks me? They ask me about the guests. They ask me things like, "What's Pamela Anderson like?"

People come up to me and say what these people are saying: Thank you for saying that. Hey, it's the only place I heard this.

KING: Or if they disagree with you, you have a good disagreement.

MAHER: Yes, but they get what's important about the show, that it's the issues, it's somebody like saying without the BS.

KING: Bronxville, New York, hello.

CALLER: Hi, my name Ria (ph).



Bill, I think you're fabulous, and all my friends agree. Here is the thing, I agree with you on everything you say, and I wish you could run for something, because I would intern for you, not that it wouldn't be sketchy interning. I really believe in you.

MAHER: Thank you.

CALLER: And I feel like if people can -- if they can get message, you know. I mean, I know on your show, people do, but I really think you could do something, you know, to help America be a better place.

KING: Would you ever would want to run?

MAHER: Well, thank you very much, but, I -- people have said that to me before, and I always laugh, because I'm the last person in the world who could ever run for office, because I've made this living, this image, out of never lying, out of always saying the truth, and like I...

KING: The truth as you see it, obviously.

MAHER: Yes, I think I'm realistic.

KING: No politician could do that, could not get up and say...

MAHER: Like I said, just the same with marriage, when you are running or in office you have to lie every day. John McCain told great lie, and he is not one of the bigger liars, but that combined them both. He used to begin every one of this stump speeches by bringing up wife and saying Cindy should be a candidate. Two lies in one, you know, it's like yes, oh, we all, which of course is not true. If Cindy ran, she wouldn't get votes that he got.

KING: But he apologized over South Carolina. Are you shocked at that?

MAHER: I was not. I think -- because I told you -- we talked about him before. I think as far as politicians go, he is one of the straighter shooters you are going find. That's what was so appealing about him to me.

KING: So you weren't surprised to see him say I was wrong when he said that or I was currying for votes and I made a mistake.

MAHER: No, I wasn't. It's a little late, obviously, but you know, he's a politician, too. I understand that.

Compared to some of the things that George Bush has put out there. I mean, George Bush won his primary fight with McCain by accusing him in New York State of basically being pro-breast cancer. I'm not making that up, and I'm not being flippant. That was the ad, because many years ago, John McCain cast an honorable vote against pork in a bill that had some breast cancer research in it. So they took that one vote out of context, and made ads in New York State that basically were saying John McCain, soft on breast cancer, and you got to wonder about the people who this is working on, which is why I always say, be more cynical, because there are obviously people out there going, I didn't know McCain was for breast cancer. I'm going to have relook at vote with him, I tell you. I wonder if he's for other cancers.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining comments with Bill Maher.

Don't go away.


STEWART: WGRFM morning host Tom Bowerly -- who we can safely assume is completely outrageous -- asked Hillary Clinton -- quote -- "Have you ever been sexually unfaithful to your husband, and is there any truth to the rumors about you and Vince Foster?" To which Clinton responded, I'm glad you asked, because I've denied that to "Newsweek," CNN, "The Washington Post" and "The New York Times" all so I could unburden my guilty conscience to you, WGRFM morning host, Tom Bowerly.


KING: Marquette, Michigan for Bill Maher, hello.

CALLER: Hi, this is Michael Larson from Marquette, Michigan.

KING: Hi, Michael.

CALLER: I just had a question for Bill, and what he thought of John McCain and his campaign finance reform?

KING: You favored campaign finance reform.

MAHER: Absolutely.

KING: But it was kind of dull. People -- it is -- someone said they ought to come up with a better term. Elizabeth Drew said there ought to be better term than "campaign finance reform."

MAHER: How about "let's stop them from being whores?" Because that's what they are. George Bush had a fund-raiser the other night. He took in $21 million. A lot of that is from oil companies. Of course Texas is a big oil state. Of course he is going to be attacking Gore's environmental plan, because in Gore's book, he says in 25 years, we should phase out internal combustion engine. We should. It's killing us. But when you're getting all money from oil companies, you're probably not going to favor that approach.

KING: Hackensack, New Jersey, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Laura Woodsite (ph) here.

I love you, Bill. I love your show.

Is there anybody that you would like to get on your show that hasn't already been and anybody who wants to get on that you don't want on?

MAHER: I could tell you...

KING: Great question.

MAHER: I could tell you one -- there is hundreds of people who we can't get on our show. You can name almost anybody big box office star, and they won't do our show, and I understand why they're a little skittish about that. But I'll tell you somebody who I have wanted on almost more than anybody else for seven years, and cannot get him on, and that's Mr. Larry King, but you know I've learned to accept it. KING: The reason why is in this position, I can't give opinions on a show like that. I'd love to be on, but then suddenly I'd lose the credibility that I have established in this worldwide extravaganza.

MAHER: All I'm, ma'am, and I grew up very close to Hackensack, is that I frequently cry myself to sleep over just this very issue.

KING: Really? Has that much meaning to you?

MAHER: And there is no fisherman in my closet to hold me when I can't get Larry King on my show. I just have to be by myself.

KING: Thanks, Bill.

MAHER: As always.

Some day.

KING: Some day.

MAHER: Some day in Jerusalem you'll be on with me.

KING: Bill Maher.

And don't forget all next week, Bill Maher in prison, and some viewers may agree with that.


KING: Stay tuned for CNN "NEWSSTAND." Tomorrow night on "LARRY KING WEEKEND," an encore presentation of our interview with Gerald Ford. Thanks for joining us. Have a great weekend and good night.



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