Tuesday, July 24, 2007

An Open Letter to Bill Maher
Dear Mr. Maher,
Not too long ago I wrote a letter to one of your guests, Dana Carvey, for his embarrassingly poor appearance on your show. Now I have a bone to pick with you regarding your recent HBO stand-up special.
I'll cut right to the chase: you need to stop laughing at your own jokes.
As a regular viewer of Real Time, I long ago learned to fast-forward through your monologue, as it's impossible to sit through 7 minutes of you chuckling at all your own punchlines. Why I thought I could make it through an hour of that, I'm not quite sure. But I only made it through 10 minutes before giving up.
Look, I know some of your material is funny. If it wasn't, I wouldn't watch. But it's my job, and the job of your audience, to laugh. Not yours. Sure, it's okay to do it every once in a while; take notes on people like Dave Chappelle and Jon Stewart. But you... after every punchline, you take a beat, then laugh as if you've never heard the material before, let alone wrote it yourself. It's almost as if you need to signal that the joke is supposed to be funny. If that's the case, then you need to work on your material. If it's not the case, then you're just stroking your ego. Do musicians clap at themselves after each song? No they do not. You should follow suit.
I hope you'll take my suggestion to heart, as I would enjoy being able to continue watching you perform.

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