Bill Maher opts to bow instead of shake hands over coronavirus on ‘Real Time’


HBO’s Bill Maher on Friday jokingly abolished handshakes on his weekly “Real Time” program, opting instead to bow to guests amid the topic of coronavirus dominating the news cycle.

“Is this serious?” Maher asked in his opening monologue regarding coronavirus, or COVID-19. “Yeah, it is. The CDC is now calling it the COVID-19, and you know a disease is serious when they give it a rap name. But panic? No. We should not panic and it doesn’t merit panic.”

“We live in L.A.,” Maher explained. “The air is so toxic that anything that comes out of anybody’s mouth is killed immediately.”  

“You just have to take more precautions right now,” he added. “Just assume everyone is infectious, the same warning they give contestants on ‘The Bachelor.’”

Maher also went after President Trump, arguing he is not taking the virus as seriously as he should.

“I wish we didn’t have a president who thinks this coronavirus is a minor annoyance, like the common cold or the Constitution of the United States,” Maher said. “One who appoints as the person to head up this massive medical emergency, [Vice President] Mike Pence, who doesn’t even believe in evolution.”

“No, we have a president who just keeps telling us crazy lies that contradict everything the CDC is saying,” the host added.

Maher also noted that stocks tanked last week in a drop not seen since the 2008 financial crisis, which he joked could impact billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg, who has outspent all of his Democratic rivals combined despite getting into the race just three months ago.

“Bloomberg is not even sure anymore if he can buy the country,” Maher said.

The commentary comes ahead of Saturday’s South Carolina primary, where Joe Biden is expected to win his first victory of the primary season.

Bloomberg, who opted not to compete in the first four voting states, will be on the ballot on Super Tuesday, when more than a dozen states holding nominating contests.


Maher’s remarks Friday came after Trump accused Democrats of politicizing coronavirus for political gain, calling their criticisms of his handling of the spreading virus “their new hoax.”

“The Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus,” Trump said at a rally in North Charleston, S.C.

“One of my people came up to me and said, ‘Mr. President they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia. That didn’t work out too well,” the president continued. “They tried the impeachment hoax.”

“This is their new hoax,” he added. 

Tags Bill Maher Donald Trump Joe Biden Michael Bloomberg Mike Pence

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