It might be surprising for fans of Howard Stern and Bill Maher to find out that are some serious differences between the two comedians. Both have spent their careers pushing the envelope on sex and politics, but you wouldn’t imagine that today as they launch attacks from their shows on each other. The dispute traces back to comments made in 2001 by Maher that led to his ABC show being cancelled. Here’s the clip of that moment.
Maher’s bestowing the title of courage onto the 9/11 terrorists was universally panned, especially by the Bush White House. Bill felt the pressure, in the same way the Dixie Chicks and other acts did during that time, and ABC cut the cord. It’s a testament to Maher’s talent that he’s saved his career as political host after that misstep. But now why are we talking about settled business from over ten years ago?
The story popped up again after a weird “New Rules” segment on Maher’s popular “Real Time” show on HBO. In a monologue about US policy towards Syria, Maher spent most of the time making salient points about our use of force in the Middle East. Then out of no where he brings up Howard Stern. Maher claimed Howard wanted to “bomb any Muslim country” as pay back for 9/11. Maher couldn’t believe his comments got him into trouble when people like Howard were saying such things.
How this had anything to do with Syria is an obvious question. The other problem is that Stern’s line was said in jest, and someone like Maher would be aware of that use. Maher acted like that was Stern’s official policy. Like Stern is a Rush Limbaugh type who is changing policy, and not the guy who introduced us to the Sybian and High Pitch Eric. Here’s the clip from “Real Time” when Maher brings Stern’s name up. Check out the video around the 4:00 mark.
Those comments weren’t going to go unnoticed by the “King of All Media”. Stern quickly took to the airwaves to denounce Maher and explain the context of his statement. Here’s the segment from the Stern show on September 16th where Howard fires back at Bill with both barrels.
Since the middle of September the feud between them has gone cold again with both men moving onto other things. However on today’s Howard Stern radio show a new gauntlet seemed to be thrown down between the two stars. While audio has yet to be posted we have the complete transcript of Howard’s rant today by marksfriggin.com.
Howard wondered if Bill thinks that the guys who blew up the Boston Marathon are brave too. Howard said he doesn’t think they are. Howard said they’re cowards. Howard said he was listening to this thing again and getting all worked up. He said he can’t believe that Bill is still defending what he said. Howard said Bill says he doesn’t have closure about what he said. Howard said no one agrees with him on what he said. Howard said that he wants him to go up to someone who lost someone and tell them that he doesn’t think the terrorists were cowards. Howard said people were sick to their stomachs over this. Howard said if he’s going to bring him up then he should tell everyone what he said. Howard said Bill would bring up what he said that day. Howard said we can all watch everyone go berserk again. Howard said he still thinks Bill is the crazy one. Howard said he was angry that day and did say he wanted to blow up an Arab country. Howard said that was the normal reaction.
Howard challenged Maher to defend his original 9/11 comments on his show this Friday. Will Maher take the bait? We will just have to tune in this Friday and see for ourselves. Meanwhile expect Stern to continue bringing this topic up on his Sirius airwaves until Maher meets him again for combat.