Judging from the buzz of excitement in the lobby at TPAC before Bill Maher's performance last night, you would have thought Tennessee was a blue state. Of course, Davidson is a blue county, so perhaps it's not surprising. Still, I had that feeling I get when I go to synagogue on the high holidays and think, "Wow! There are really this many Jews in Nashville?"
The ominous strains of the theme to HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher began wafting through the speakers shortly after 8. The packed house rose to its feet for an enthusiastic ovation, and Maher took the stage sporting dark jeans and a "Live Free" T-shirt.
For the next 90 minutes, he had the crowd roaring much of the time, as he took on the contraception debate, Rick Santorum's sweater vest, the hypocrisy of conservative Christians, guns, pot, health care, the Republican debates and much more. He even gave a shout-out to the Scene early on, reveling in our "Here Comes the Antichrist" headline and the cover teaser, "Beloved Infidel: Bill Maher Comes to TPAC."
A few highlights after the jump...
About the Republican debates:
Stupid is the new smart in the Republican Party. ...I think I know who the winner is. Obama. (Huge applause.)
On Pat Robertson:
Pat Robertson came out for pot last week. Your move Obama! Pat Robertson finally admitted the Bible only makes sense if you're high.
On Rick Santorum:
When you're running for president, you've got to find a look. This guy went, “You know what? Pedophile at the church picnic — that's my look. I'm going to go with that and see how America reacts.” ...
Rick Santorum said John F. Kennedy's speech about the separation of church and state made him throw up. How old is this fucking guy? Throw up? “And the Gettysburg Address makes me fart!”
On Catholic bishops and the contraception debate:
Who better to make decisions about women's reproductive rights than 70 year old male virgins who go to work every day in dress.
We need the Second Amendment because we might have to take over the government. I love that. The fantasy of small-penised men. That they could take over the government. The government which has nuclear weapons, the Marine Corp, and the F-22. But Vern and Earl … who are here tonight by the way! Where are you, Vern and Earl?
One man dies for all of your sins. One man died? That is what I call picking up the check for the whole table. So we're completely covered? We don't need Christianity Advantage? There's no donut hole?
This is religion that is so stupid that Tom Cruise would not join it, and Glenn Beck did.
I want to see an election between Mitt Romney and Joseph Lieberman. Because Joe Lieberman is an orthodox Jew who will not use electricity on a Friday night. I want to see an election between that guy and a guy who wears magic underwear.
Doesn't use electricity on Friday night! If we are attacked, and have to fire a nuclear weapon, he has a Shabbos goy to push the red button. A young Christian boy. (Crowd laughs.) That's pretty good for Nashville! Let me tell ya.
On health care:
Why do you think during the health-care debate, so many Republicans kept saying, “Why are we messing around with the greatest health-care system in the world?”
I don't know. Maybe because the U.N. ranks us 37th? …I know it's not in the Bible, but can't we use facts sometimes? Where did they get this idea that we were No. 1 in health care? I'll tell you where they got it: from TV. That's where they get all their ideas. That's where they learned about terrorism, from watching 24. ...
The Republican health care plan is called Drop Dead. I'm kidding. They improved it. It's now called Go Fuck Yourself Plus. If you subsidize one kid's inhaler, then every kid is going to think breathing is an entitlement. “That's not blood you're coughing up, Billy. That's freedom!”
Half of the teenagers in this country think that humans and dinosaurs lived on earth at the same time. A third of them think that Darwin was the second husband on Bewitched.
The most conservative Christians are the ones who are most for using torture! Really? Torture? What do you see every week when you look at Jesus up on the cross? What's the message there? I thought it was, “This is how awful people can treat each other. Let's do better.” Not, “Romans are pussies. He still has his eyes.”
On a side note, does anyone else find it strange that Jackson Hall has rows that are nearly 60 seats long, with no aisles? Thankfully, I didn't have to get up to go the bathroom, because I was in seat 33, and would have had to make a few dozen people get up. Who the hell designed that place?