I have a message to those at ABC who are "prodding" "Politically Incorrect" to book more recognizable faces: Don't touch this show (" 'P.I.': Where Celebrity Guests Fear to Tread?," by Brian Lowry, March 31)!
If certain celebs refuse to show their faces on Bill Maher's panel, that means one of two things: Either they have nothing to say of value and don't want to embarrass themselves, or they are afraid of what the public (or more specifically, those who hire them) will think about their opinions. Either way, we don't want to see them on the panel. They will merely bore us. On the other hand, I have the utmost respect for those who do tell us their thoughts.
Where else on TV, no, make that anywhere, do you find this kind of open discourse concerning everything from topics seen on the news that very night to subjects deeply relevant to our very existence? Oh, and then there's the sex. Bill likes to throw that in a lot.
We number about 3 million regular viewers. And while that might not be a huge number by network standards, it's at least respectable. More important, we are probably the most loyal viewers and will follow Bill wherever he goes.
Maybe entertainers accustomed to being applauded aren't keen on the prospect of being applauded against. And with the audience in Maher's pocket, who wants to mix it up with him if he's just going to deliver one of his slam-dunk, end-of-discussion applause lines?
If the show is serious about discourse, they'd eighty-six the audience.
There should be a special awards program to recognize Maher's work. Unfortunately, there would be no one else to nominate since there are no other programs that could be placed in the same category.
I thank ABC for carrying such an unusual and exciting program.
This article's tone seemed very pro-Maher, and the truth of it is that he is a complete jerk. Lowry sugared up Maher's quote about mentally retarded kids being like dogs (Lowry wrote "special-needs children," Maher said "retarded").
Maher's other wonderful aside was right after the Concorde had crashed: "The French have finally figured out a way to kill Germans and now they have to go and cancel the Concorde." I'm paraphrasing a bit but not much. If someone Lowry knew had just died on that flight, how would he feel? There's a million ways to get people's attention, millions of intelligent, comical and sarcastic ways--that isn't one of them. It just shows the guy's lack of talent.
Maher is a compassionate and caring person. My daughter Mary Louise was a big fan of his. We took her to see him at the Comedy Club in San Francisco; she was in a wheelchair with an oxygen tank attached to it. Until she died in 1998, she recalled that he went outside to where she was, kissed her on the cheek and thanked all of us for coming to see him.
Arsenio Hall came off as an envious and unhappy person, as always! I can only hope he stays off the show.
Long live his show and Bill Maher, and no more Arsenio Hall.
FRANCES F. O'NIELE
It's obvious that Maher doesn't care whether what he says offends anyone, and he won't let someone else make his decisions. He is simply speaking his mind, trying to stimulate intelligent discourse and educate us about the deeper level of current issues. You don't have to agree with him, but you can always hear an introspective and new take on a subject in any given episode.
Instead of listening to celebrities blabber on about a vacation to Cancun or their allergy to Twinkies, I'll take an intelligent argument on Maher's show any night. And for those who are shocked or disturbed by the comments and discussions on the show, please read the title again.
My problem with the show is that, after all this time, I still don't know if it wants to be funny or if it wants to be seriously political. Because it suffers from this split personality, it winds up being neither.