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Pro-Multiple-Choice with Bill Maher

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Interview by Will Henneberger

It’s an exciting time in politics America… right? Okay, the truth is, I might be the worst person on this staff to commentate on the subject of government elections and/or antiquated laws that were created to bring a smile to a few politicians’ personal deity. Then again, I do marathon my way through all 7 seasons of The West Wing at least once every 18 months. Perhaps I’m more qualified than I think. Either way, let’s play it safe and defer to an expert. We just so happen to be expecting a call from none other than political comedian and general sense-maker Bill Maher, and lucky for you, The Vent Daily records all of our phone calls for quality control purposes.

THE VENT DAILY: It’s a big year for Texas. Perry’s getting out of the way. Do you think there is any hope that we can make the leap from red to blue? Or should I just move?

BILL MAHER: Definitely don’t move out of there. I come to Texas as often as I can. The politics may not be exactly in line with my politics, but it’s a fun place. You can’t deny that. What I find coming to Texas, out of all the states, is that there’s an awful lot of progressive free thinking blue people. They might not be the majority, but give it time. I mean, that’s the trend the country is moving toward–flipping red states blue, because as we all know the demographics tend to favor that. The older white people are dying; and younger, browner, or female voters are all coming to the fore. This is what the Republican Party has to deal with, and they can’t because if they cater to the new demographic then they lose their base, which are of course snake-handlers and early-onset dementia patients.

TVD: Do you have any advice for the Wendy Davis camp on sticking it to Greg Abbott?

BM: I would just say, be that brave lady that we all saw stick up for abortion rights. The Democrats’ problem usually is trying to be Republican-lite, instead of sticking a flag in the ground and saying, ‘Here, this is what we really believe, come over to us,’ Because the people are out there if you just inspire them. The votes are there, and you might as well go down swinging as opposed to trying to cater to what the other party believes; and I think she’s got a good shot.

I’m more worried about Rick Perry running for president again. I know he is, because I saw that he’s wearing glasses now. I love the strategy on Rick Perry’s part. He thinks he’s Superman; and a pair of glasses is going to fool people into thinking that he’s a completely different human being, and we’re all gonna forget that idiot from the 2012 presidential campaign. If putting on glasses could make you smart… It didn’t even work for Jenny McCarthy.

TVD: The last few years, after a ban on synthetic marijuana, Corpus Christi Police repeatedly raided local tobacco accessory shops in what seemed like an attempt to put them out of business. Corpus Christi City Council is reading this; is there anything you can say to encourage them to be more forward thinking?

BM: I would, first of all, say to the local police that when I talk about marijuana on my television show, that’s a character I play. I have never used marijuana in my life. My Christian wife and our eight homeschooled children, we never touch any sort of drugs. The other thing I’d like to say is: get on the gravy train. This is where the bus is going. The legalization of marijuana is the new gay marriage. Just the way gay marriage reached a tipping point and the dominoes started falling in quick succession, that’s about to happen with marijuana. In Colorado of course, people are already out there buying pot, and I don’t mean just for medical reasons. I mean for regular old sit on the couch and watch SpongeBob reasons. As soon as people all over the country, just like with gay marriage, see that the world does not come to an end when this happens, other states will want to get in on it, because of money. There is so much money to be made in marijuana, so much tax money. It doesn’t hurt anybody; it’s much less harmful than liquor. All the arguments we’ve been saying for the last 50 years are all true, and it’s gonna come to pass. This is great. America is finally becoming a little more of a progressive country: gay marriage, black President, legalized pot. We’re coming to our senses a little bit, and I think its great.

TVD: We see huge failures in every system that our species creates, political systems, economic systems: why are you so tough on religious systems? Why judge religion by the lowest common denominator? When we look at COSTCO we see hope for capitalism, we don’t say let’s abolish it based on Wal-Mart. Isn’t the problem just people?

BM: The problem is always people, but it’s the way people think. Religion skews the way people think. I think the figure is about one-third, maybe more, of American adults believe that Jesus will return in their lifetime. How are you going to fix global warming if a third of the people not only think the world is coming to an end but are rooting for it? They don’t give a shit about global warming. They just want their meet and greet with Jesus. And global warming is maybe gonna help them. This is why religion is so pernicious: what people believe affects what they do. You can look up quotes from congressmen, powerful congressmen, who sit on environmental committees and they say, ‘We don’t have to worry about global warming,’ John Shimkus of Illinois said, ‘because God promised Noah, after the flood, that he would never try to wipe people out again. So why are we worrying about global warming?’ See what I mean about how what we believe affecting what we do. I could give you many other examples, but that’s a pretty powerful one.

TVD: Now we move on to the multiple-choice part of the interview. What # state will Texas be to legalize marijuana?
A. 49th
B. 50th
C. We will secede before that ever happens

BM: Well, we all know that there are people there who want to secede. Texas wanted to be its own country and was its own country for a little while in the past, and I’m quite sure Rick Perry has actually threatened that before. I don’t want Texas to secede. There’s a lot going on in Texas that’s positive, and I think we just have to wait it out. As I said before, the Republican base, people who vote Republican, they are not the future. The Republican Party basically has the same problem as The Beach Boys: their fans are dying. We just have to wait a little more I think, and even Texas, I think you’ll see, will become a much more progressive place, so I don’t think its gonna be 49th or 50th. I think Texas could go, probably somewhere in the middle. I’m not saying its gonna be leading the pack but you know Colorado is a state with a lot of conservatives, and Colorado shifted. So sometimes these things happen faster than you think. The one thing you have to remember about the marijuana issue is that its one of the few issues that has the power to unite the left and right, both Democrat and Republican, red and blue. Everybody smokes pot. Willie Nelson smokes pot, and Snoop Dogg smokes pot. Rednecks smoke pot, and hippies smoke pot. There’re a lot of farmers in these conservative states. Farmers can make a lot of money. They can make a lot more money growing pot than they do fucking soybean.

TVD: In the continued fight of equality for all, whose equality comes next?
A. stoner equality
B. animal equality
C. Kanye equality

BM: Well, stoners will fall next. Of course, I’m an animal rights guy. I would love to see animals be treated with respect and dignity. The organization I’m a part of, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, just ethically, you know. I know animals have to die, we all have to die, but we don’t have to torture them while they’re alive.

TVD: Assuming he doesn’t run for president again, how will post-gubernatorial Rick Perry spend his free time?
A. personally controlling the coyote population
B. catching up on those 3D posters from the 90’s
C. art lessons with George W.

billm2 BM: Yeah, that’d be good, if Rick learned to draw… or how about read. I seem to remember Rick in 2012. He couldn’t get the correct century for the American Revolution. He thought the American Revolution happened in the 1500’s. This was the man who wanted to lead the country. He couldn’t get the date that every school child knows. 1776! There was a freaking musical called 1776, Rick! Jesus!

TVD: Lastly, What do you think is the best title for this interview?
A. Pro-Multiple Choice with Bill Maher
B. Not Cosby or Burr or Hicks… the Other Bill.
C. Christ Couldn’t Get in Him, so He’s Coming Inside Christ.

BM: I love that one, the last one. You know, I’ve never been to Corpus Christi before, and I’m really looking forward to it. I always get excited about playing places that I’ve never played before, and this is a city I’ve wanted to go to for a long time, and I specifically demanded it.

Get your tickets for Bill Maher Live in Corpus Christi at the Selena Auditorium through Americanbankcenter.com or ticketmaster.com, and for all other tour dates visit BillMaher.com. If that’s not enough, tune in for Real Time, Friday nights on HBO, for more of those sweet, sweet issues.

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