You gotta know when to shut up

Published 10:31 am Monday, June 12, 2017

Last Friday’s incident with comedian Bill Maher isn’t the first time he’s committed ‘hoof-in-mouth’. You may recall he audaciously call the 9/11 terrorists “courageous” for flying airplanes into the twin towers, killing hundreds and causing countless destruction.

Back then he had a show (Politically Incorrect) in network television.

You know, the ones where you have sponsor advertising. Well, you don’t have to be Bill O’Reilly to realize when the guys & gals who pay the bills for your supposed ‘free’ ride on the boob-tube decide to take a walk, and then you know you ain’t got long to be on the airwaves.

That was then, this is now.

HBO, the premium cable and satellite TV network, decided after Maher’s latest faux pas to give him a free pass. His Friday night show won’t be taken off the air.

In case you missed the hub-bub since last weekend, Maher was interviewing Nebraska U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, who had just invited him to visit the Cornhusker state and work in their fields. Glancing askew at the politician, Maher wryly responded with what he thought would be a ‘cute’ reply – joke – to working in the fields, “Senator, I’m a house ni**er.”

That’s right. Insert the “N” word.

Maher then put out his hands and said, “It’s a joke,” drawing both derision and cheers from the audience.

To be fair, the senator should have spoken up (and I found it interesting that he didn’t!), but the Twitter-verse certainly did, quite loudly I might add; and they haven’t let go since.

All I’ve heard about Maher is that he was back on the air Friday (last) night with some lame apology.

Well, who better to attack him than his fellow comics. So, step right up Kevin Hart.

I’ve always respected Hart for the time he spoke to a then-immature-acting quarterback Jameis Winston prior to a Florida State football game with the saga advice, “Stop doing stupid sh*t!”

Now Ice-Cube, the former NWA rapper and current film star (who’s appeared in a couple of movies with Hart – and the pair no doubt must have somewhere compared notes on juvenile behavior in (surprise!) Hollywood), the Cube has added his voice to the discussion.

Asked how he would have reacted were he on the dais, Cube said he didn’t want to be hypothetical.

I have to agree, because I don’t think the conversation surrounding the episode has been productive.

“People are trying to go into this like, ‘Why is this still offensive? Should we use it, shouldn’t we use it?’ – this, that, and the other,” he said to Rolling Stone magazine.

“And it becomes like a facade of a lot of B-S. Everybody knows black people got it bad. And it’s just not funny, the bully mentality,” Cube continued.

“It’s like rich, white guys are the reason why black people are in the position they’re in,” he expanded. “Racism lives in both parties, so let’s throw away the facade and let’s be real.”

It’s a problem, he says, that extends well beyond Maher.

For someone who himself has crossed up with authority, maybe Cube said it best in one of his raps. It’s more than knowing when to shut up:

Sometimes you have to “Check yourself before you wreck yourself.”


Gene Motley is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7211.