Comic and political pundit Bill Maher offered a rapid-fire volley of stupid takes on the coronavirus outbreak that rivaled anything Trump has said, while his panel nodded in agreement and seasoned it with their own Old Bay of stupid.
On Friday night’s edition of HBO’s Real Time, Maher segued from his hot garbage take in defense of Chris Matthews into his overflowing cruise ship toilet take on coronavirus by saying “Speaking of overreactions, I got to talk about this virus.”
He then did a hack bit where he pretended to trip over virus double entendres, concluding with “At this point I just fuckin’ want to get it so I don’t have to talk about it or worry about touching my face anymore.”
“Just go on a cruise, two weeks you’ll get it’ll be over,” panelist Ross Douthat said, and co-panelist and author Caitlan Flanagan chimed in “It’s like herpes in the ’80s, it’s just like…”
“They make it sound like with if you’re within 6 feet of anyone who has it just get your affairs in order,” Maher said.
But literally nobody is making it sound like that. Every report talks about the risk factors for severe coronavirus outcomes.
“Is it really?” Flanagan said. “I have your attitude but you say it’s bad.”
“It’s bad, I mean here’s what’s bad,” Douthat said. “What’s bad is the response.”
He then went on to detail the problems with the response, which was fine, but the disease itself is also kinda bad. People are dying from it, and the badness of the response could potentially make that much, much worse.
“But I’m just talking about the disease itself,” Maher said, then added “Now it could be something really really virulent, but as I said last week at the top of the show with our expert, the response is to have a good immune system. And it’s really the only response.”
The man who would, seconds later and without a trace of irony, criticize Trump for talking like the idiot at the end of the bar said that the only response to a global pandemic is to have a good immune system.
“The regular flu just the normal flu has killed 517 people just in California this season,” Maher went on to say, literally quoting a Trump talking point, then added “Now if that was on TV every day, I assume we’d be freaking out if there was a ticker at the bottom of the screen. 14 people in the whole United States, last year’s fuel flu killed 61,000 people.”
“People die. That’s what happens in life. I’m sorry,” Maher said, then made the aforementioned reference to Trump.
“I hate it when Trump talks like the guy at the end of the bar, which is what he does, so when he said I have a hunch, it’s like oh please do you have to speak like this?”
“But you know what I know what he means because Y2K was going to end the world, and the fires in Kuwait were going to end the world, and the BP oil spill was going to end the world, and every other fucking flu we’ve ever had, and they didn’t,” Maher said, as Flanagan chimed in “I was told that I had to keep global warming the number one slot, global warming global warming, and then get rid of Trump get rid of Trump get rid of Trump, and I’m supposed to put this brand new thing up here.”
Nobody is saying coronavirus will end the world, or anything close to that. Reporting on the virus has been very responsible. But the virus does have a much higher mortality rate than the flu, there is no vaccine or cure, the lousy response is making a serious spread more likely, and people with compromised immune systems are, in fact, still people.
Watch the clip above via HBO.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.