Maher to GOP senator: 'I'm a house ni--a'

Provocateur Bill Maher used the n-word on Friday night when he jokingly told Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) that he's "a house n--ga" during an interview on HBO's "Real Time."
 
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Discussing the maturity of modern American teenagers as one theme in Sasse's new book "The Vanishing American Adult," Maher noted that grown adults put lots of effort into dressing up for Halloween in his home state of California. The host then asked Sasse if people do the same in the Cornhusker State. 
 
"It's frowned upon. We don't do that quite as much," Sasse said.
 
"I've got to get to Nebraska more," Maher replied. 
 
"You're welcome. We'd love to have you work in the fields with us," said Sasse. 
 
"Work in the fields? Senator, I'm a house n--ga," Maher said.
 
After some in the audience laughed while others moaned, Maher informed them it was meant as jest. Sasse also smiled in response, but later tweeted that he was "cringing."
 
"No, it's a joke," Maher said. 
 
"Here’s what I wish I’d been quick enough to say in the moment," Sasse tweeted early on Saturday morning. “'Hold up, why would you think it’s OK to use that word? The history of the n-word is an attack on universal human dignity. It’s therefore an attack on the American Creed. Don't use it.'"
 
In another tweet, the junior Senator said "The history of the n-word is an attack on universal human dignity." 
Social media from the left and right was not amused. 
Maher was fired from his ABC program "Politically Incorrect" in 2001 after causing outrage for what appeared to be praise for the 9/11 hijackers. 
 
"We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away," he said at the time. 
 
"That’s cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it’s not cowardly.”
 
Maher's went to HBO to do a similar program in the form of "Real Time" in 2003.
 
"Bill Maher’s comment last night was completely inexcusable and tasteless," HBO said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter on Saturday. "We are removing his deeply offensive comment from any subsequent airings of the show.”
 
- This post was updated at 12:49 a.m.