HBO host Bill MaherWilliam (Bill) MaherJuan Williams: Trump is killing American democracy Bill Maher pushes back on criticism of Chappelle: 'What the f--- was that reaction?' Americans simply don't want the costs of Biden's Build Back Better bill MORE again apologized for using the n-word on his HBO program this week, saying it "caused pain" and "was not said in malice."
On his weekly show "Real Time" on Friday, Maher addressed the issue with guest Michael Eric Dyson, an MSNBC contributor.
“Comedians are a special kind of monkey,” Maher said to Dyson. “We are a trained thing that tries to get a laugh.”
"I did a bad thing," Maher added. "For black folks, that word, I don't care who you are, has caused pain. It doesn't matter that it was not said in malice, it caused pain and that's why I apologized. I'm not that big of an a--hole."
Maher used the n-word on June 2 when he jokingly told Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) that he's "a house n--ga" during an interview on HBO's "Real Time."
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.
Blowback was swift, with some on the left and right calling for Maher's firing.
“But really, @BillMaher has got to go. There are no explanations that make this acceptable,” Black Lives Activist Deray Mckesson tweeted.
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," tweeted his guest, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb), the following day.
“It’s like a knife, man,” actor-musician Ice Cube later told Bill Maher regarding the N-word. “When I hear my homies say it, it don’t feel like venom. When I hear a white person say it, it’s like a knife.”
“That’s our word now,” he continued. “And you can’t have it back.”
HBO condemned Maher's language but did not suspend the host.
Tags Bill Maher