Bill Maher Celebrity Watchlist

Biography

Boasting an acute wit, a mane of gray hair and an incredulous smirk that punctuates his political punch lines, Maher has made a career out of ridiculing those in power. He spent the late 1970s and early 1980s honing his comedic skills on the stand-up circuit and his tenacity paid off with supporting film and TV roles, although the projects were often pretty low-rent (D.C. Cab, House II: The Second Story). In 1993 he launched the humorous roundtable series Politically Incorrect on Comedy Central, which migrated to ABC in 1997. As the show's irreverent moderator, Maher was simultaneously charming and exasperating (but never dull) and often played devil's advocate to stir up his guests, among them big-name actors, journalists and politicians. His career hit a roadblock in 2002 when his series was canceled after he made some controversial comments about Sept. 11.  (Oddly, coming to his defense at the time, from the other end of the political spectrum, was Rush Limbaugh.) But the next year Maher returned to the small screen on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher and the host seemed more agitated---and more liberal---than ever. (Though he has called himself a Libertarian, he admits his fans tend to be liberals.) As of early 2010, he held the record for most Emmy losses, at 22 nominations without a win.

Fast Facts

  • Began his career as a stand-up and was host at New York's top comedy club, Catch a Rising Star, which led to gigs on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show.
  • Received the L.A. Press Club's President's Award for championing free speech shortly after his Emmy-nominated Politically Incorrect was canceled by ABC.
  • Penned When You Ride Alone You Ride with Bin Laden: What the Government Should Be Telling Us to Help Fight the War on Terrorism in 2002.
  • In 2004, on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher, both he and Fahrenheit 9/11 filmmaker Michael Moore got on their knees to beg Ralph Nader to drop out of the presidential race. (It didn't work.) 
  • A board member of PETA, he is a fan of the animal-rights organization's sometimes outrageous publicity tactics, asking USA Today, "If you don't cross the line somehow, how do you know where it is?"
  • Comedy Central ranks him No. 38 among its top 100 stand-up acts.

Awards

  • 2013, Emmy — Outstanding Nonfiction Series: Nominee
  • 2009, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2013, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series: Nominee
  • 2008, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special: Nominee
  • 2007, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program: Nominee
  • 2015, Writers Guild Awards — Comedy/Variety - Music, Awards, Tributes - Specials: Nominee
  • 2014, Emmy — Outstanding Variety Series: Nominee
  • 2010, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special: Nominee
  • 2008, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2007, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2010, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2011, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1995, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1999, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2004, Emmy — Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 1996, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1998, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1997, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2005, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program: Nominee
  • 2015, Producers Guild Awards — Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television: Nominee
  • 1997, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 2002, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2006, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2005, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1996, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 2000, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2001, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2006, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program: Nominee
  • 2012, Emmy — Outstanding Variety Series: Nominee
  • 2012, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series: Nominee
  • 2013, Emmy — Outstanding Variety Series: Nominee
  • 2014, Emmy — Outstanding Informational Series or Special: Winner
  • 2015, Writers Guild Awards — Comedy/Variety (Including Talk) - Series: Nominee
  • 1997, Emmy — Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 2006, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special: Nominee
  • 2010, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2010, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special: Nominee

Relationships

  • William Maher Sr. — Father
  • Kathy Maher — Sister
  • Julie Maher — Mother
  • Karinne Steffans — Ex-significant Other
  • Nancy Johnson — Ex-significant Other

College

  • Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (BA in English, 1978)

Next On TVSee all »

Details

  • Birth Name: William Maher Jr.
  • Birth Place: New York, NY
  • Birthday: January 20, 1956, Capricorn
  • Profession: Talk-show host, Comedian, Author
  • User Rating:3.48 out of 5 (151 ratings)
  • Your Rating:

Show More »

Trending TonightSee all »