While he is best-known as the comedic face behind the HBO hit, Real Time with Bill Maher, the comedian has had a long and fruitful career including working with a variety of notable comics and entertainers. Maher has built a reputation for his no-nonsense politically-driven humor that touches topics of government, religion, pop culture, politics and many others, and has been known to ruffle a few feathers along the way. After graduating from Cornell University in 1978, Maher got his start on comedy club stages in New York City and Los Angeles, before finally starting to land gigs on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Late Night With David Letterman throughout the 1980s.
Maher took a variety of small roles in TV shows and movies, but his first big break came in 1993 when he launched his show Politically Correct with Bill Maher. Originally started on Comedy Central and later moving to ABC, the show was a breath of fresh air that brought together an open debate format with political commentary and comedy. With a changing slate of guests each week, Maher filled a unique role in pop culture by bringing together some of the brightest minds of the day with some of the most talented comedians on the scene. This resulted in its fair share of heated exchanges and comedic moments, which made it one of the most thrilling shows on television.
After a controversial set of comments caused his show to be canceled on ABC, Maher moved to cable and launched Real Time with Bill Maher in 2003. The show followed the format of Politically Incorrect very closely, but obviously was able to talk about questionable topics without fearing the ire of network executives. The runaway success of this show spawned a series of comedy specials, such as "Bill Maher: I'm Swiss" and "Bill Maher: The Decider."
In 2008, Maher hit the big screen for the first time in years with his satirical look at the world's religions in the film, Religulous. The movie is a blend of documentary filmmaking and comedy that lambasts religion, and has been a major draw with atheists and agnostics the world over. With the success of his HBO series and a very active stand-up schedule, Maher shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon and looks to remain one of the most important voices in comedy and American pop culture.