Maher lambastes Republicans in first visit to Utah

When political comedian Bill Maher came to Salt Lake City for the first time Saturday, Jan. 21, to speak at Kingsbury Hall, he voiced his surprise at the boisterous reaction he received from people who live in the reddest of red states.

And after a few quick barbs at the local area, he gave the crowd what they were waiting for: many helpings of jokes aimed squarely at the Oval Office, with various other asides along the way.

Leading off with talk about Iraq, the controversial host of “Real Time with Bill Maher” attacked Bush’s intelligence, the defense department’s intelligence and the intelligence of just about every other current Republican.

Speaking about Bush’s propensity for making strange promises during State of the Union addresses, Maher addressed the president’s promise to take the United States to “worlds beyond.”

“We can’t get from Baghdad to Baghdad Airport,” Maher said. “How are we going to get to Mars?”

Like most of the night’s jokes, Maher elicited howls of joy from the partisan crowd.

But it wasn’t all completely political. Relationships, the technological revolution, the technological revolution’s impact on relationships, Viagra and marijuana were all topics of diatribes-most of which eventually led back to Maher doling out red meat to the Bush-bashing crowd.

But it wasn’t just Republicans getting poked. Maher also gave back-handed compliments to former President Clinton and told the audience that he wasn’t very impressed with Al Gore.

But for the most part, the comedian stuck with what he’s known for-lampooning the right.

Maher elicited some nervous laughs when talking about his surprise at some of his liberal female friends defending Terry Schiavo’s feeding tube.

“It just goes to show, never get between a woman and her food,” Maher said.

With about 10 minutes left in his hour-and-a-half set, Maher wrapped up his Bush portion with a summary intended to let people know just where he stood.

“If (Bush) was any more retarded, he would be on death row in Texas.”

After finishing with a bit about the ridiculousness of the medical community paying more attention to erectile dysfunction medicine than cancer research, Maher strode off the stage to a raucous ovation, having completed his first appearance in the Beehive State.

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