Bill Maher is one who is constantly busy.
It’s been that way for the majority of his adult life and he’s learned to make the best of it.
“My life has changed to where I used to watch the nightly news each night,” he says. “It seems like something for another century. The nightly news is where Americans used to get their news. That has all changed in today’s world.”
For a quarter century, Maher has as set the boundaries of where funny, political talk can go on American television.
From the show “Politically Incorrect” to his current project, “Real Time” on HBO, Maher continues to push those boundaries. “Real Time with Bill Maher” just started its 21st season on Jan. 20.
Though he’s seen on TV more today, Maher’s roots remain in stand-up comedy. He will make a stop in Albuquerque on Saturday, Jan. 28, at Kiva Auditorium.
Of course, his set will feature many of the hot topics in the world today.
One of those is how we consume the news.
“I stopped watching cable news at the same time it became tribalism,” he says. “People are seeking to satisfy the audience meaning that it would only show one side. Local journalism is a vital part of democracy. Getting the local paper, it is so important because these are local stories. You know what happens to local stories, they become national stories. I think about the number of local newspapers that have folded and I wonder what has happened to those communities.”
As Maher’s career has moved forward, he’s noticed that while he’s changed, so has his comedy.
“When you first start out, you’re not good at stand-up comedy,” he says. “You want to be loved. You get your a** kicked and then learn how to do it. The final step is keeping up the reputation you have with the audience. I’m lucky in that I deal with topical material. I enjoy being on stage as much as I have for a very long time. Comedy is fortunate in a way that music is not. It’s very rare that people my age are working in music. I feel as long as you’re vital and you can handle the vigors of touring, it will work. This is a very ageist country. It’s not the best thing in the world to be over 50. The kind of comedy I’m selling goes along with aging is wisdom. I want to make people laugh and I want to make them think. I can’t stop again, so I lean into it.”
Another trick Maher has learned over time is to get enough sleep.
He says he will be in bed for 10 hours, getting eight of those as sleep.
“I used to go to bed at four in the morning,” he says. “There were times I didn’t get on stage until 2 a.m. That lifestyle became ingrained. I’ve learned to turn my clock back. I do whatever it takes to get the eight hours of sleep.”