Episode 34

Nerdist Podcast


Nerdist Podcast #34: BILL MAHER

Bill Maher and I sat down (standing podcasting is weird) and had a terrific chat about comedy, finding your voice and Johnny Carson.

This episode was generously sponsored by Squarespace, the fast and easy way to publish a high-quality website or blog. For a free trial and 10% off your new account, goto and enter the code NERDIST.

*Image artwork originally created by Canyon Design Group

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  • I guess the Tonight Show has different effects on different careers, but everyone knows that back in Ye Olde Days, if you were called to the couch it was a big effing deal. Show business is uncertain, but so is being a regular human person, unless you’re a civil servant. We are all unsure.

  • Before they picked up Letterman and Co., CBS latenight in the latter ’80s and earliest ’90s was a weird mix of drama (CRIMETIME AFTER PRIMETIME, which launched SILK STALKINGS (which migrated to USA cable) and FOREVER KNIGHT (which went into first-run syndication) and ran the incredibly bad NIGHT HEAT endlessly and a remarkably pervy-for-broadcast Stephen Cannell anthology show…one of the several series called SCENE OF THE CRIME over the decades, iirc…and that last one was gone in about five weeks (again, iirc)…I suspect the Standards and Practices folks finally screened an episode. But a Whole Lot of CBS stations in those years were running THE ARSENIO HALL SHOW, which was in syndication, at 11:30p ET/PT, etc., and so were pre-empting or pushing back the CBS offers an hour…that would be the period that Maher got to do his CBS proto-PI.

  • I’m still catching up on your ‘casts and now you got Bill M?! Awesome stuff dude…

    PS Still pissed you were in NY while I was in LA for the first time … catch you next time you hit the Big Apple

  • @Christina Aww, only on Fridays does the rest of my office leave early. Most days they’re there till 5, and when stuff is real funny I have to do the breathing in short gasps instead of actually laughing. It may sound more like I’m crying or something, but at least I’m less likely to get fired for that (that’s the way I try look at it).

  • author

    HO HO HA GUFFAW! I see what ya did there, Lloyd Christmas! You picked a normally UNFUNNY thing to state that the bar of comedy was only THAT high! I sure hope you’re not wasting this hipster-based “meh” ability only on message boards! I’m sure being dismissive on 1-dimensional models of expectation is highly lucrative, so thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to throw us one pro bono!

    Whoa, Nellie! …”asked for the time”…man o man alive!

  • You sure do talk fancy, Chris.
    For the record- I did laugh out loud when he asked for the time… I find awkwardness funny. Sorry?
    And you definitely pegged me correctly as a hipster: Married w/ children, blue-collar grease monkey. Lucrative, no. Happy, yes.
    Totally HIP.
    I’ve listened to all 34. Keep the (unintentional?) comedy coming.

  • author

    Lloyd, you’ve won me back over with your actually non-hipster ways.
    I never took it seriously. I thought we were “busting each others’ balls” as the East Coasters say.


  • @Not Dan – the commercials were totally fine. These podcasts are long, I don’t mind a commercial thrown in now and then, if its going to help us get more podcasts from Chris.

  • What’s so bad about commercials? I don’t understand all the hate about it… they are completely bearable, more than I would say, and you expect these guys to do all this work for free forever?

    Pishaw i say! PISHAW!

  • Not the biggest fan of Bill Maher, so this podcast was not as enjoyable to listen to as all the other ones. But still appreciate all the work you put into it Chris!

  • I thought the funniest part of the podcast was when Bill Maher asked you for the time. And I mean it in the “meh”, 1-dimensional model of expectations way.

  • So Bill said that the Tonight Show does not help careers, but then named 3 jobs he got because he was on the tonight show…
    I’m not “in the show business” or anything, but that sounds like it helped his career.
    Maybe I’ll call my citified cousin from Cal-if-orn-I-A. and get him to teachify me on it.

  • Dear Chris Hardwick, mayor of N3rdtown:

    You are awesome at this and presumably most things. Thanks, from me and everyone that has been a passenger in my car since episode 1 of The Nerdist. Also, thank you for Anamanaguchi, they are amazing and I actually PURCHASED their album from iTunes. Good ear.

    Dear Bill Maher, Town Crier of No-One-Cares…Town:

    No one cares. Chris Hardwick was trying so hard to keep the show funny and entertaining, but you were negative the entire time. Something was clearly bothering you. And then finally you just went off on your tirade about your fringe political issue that no one wanted to hear about. I don’t even remember what it was it was so irrelevant and not related to any of the themes of this podcast. “Global Something Something”, or something. Anyways, see you on HBO, but probably not because you failed to incorporate me, a young impressionable mind, into your small, aging, probably-also-irrelevant fanbase.

  • dear christopher of hardwick-tonne,

    when i heard there were commercial breaks on this episode, i thought, “oh, that’s great. i hope they make some $ for the streams of hilarity generated daily on nerdist.” and then when i actually heard them, i was delighted at your funny take on their presentation. i might have “TRANSITIOOOONNNN” hissing through my head for the rest of the day, and that’s just fine by me.

    so poo on people giving you crap about monetization. keep up the great work :)