New Rule: The Woke Olympics – Real Time with Bill Maher [Transcript]

Bill Maher implores liberals not to ruin the Olympics with phony outrage over old jokes and claims of cultural appropriation.
New Rule: The Woke Olympics - Real Time with Bill Maher

Real Time with Bill Maher
Season 19 – Episode 21

Air date: July 30, 2021

And finally, new rule. Please don’t make the Olympics into the Oscars. What’s that, they did already? Back in April when the Oscars aired, I commented in this space that the theme of that evening was “we dare you to be entertained” — lest your mind waver for a few hours from thinking about the sad things and bad people in this world. Well, thank god we found some of those bad people in the Olympics, and not a moment too soon.


That was sarcasm!


The director of the opening ceremony was fired hours before the event because they found out there was a holocaust joke in a comedy routine he did decades ago. Well, you know, context is everything. Obviously it didn’t strike people as beyond the pale at the time. Young people have to stop flattering themselves that they’re Nostradamus and would have foreseen, had they been around then, everything that’s unacceptable now. And for further context Mel Brooks wrote one of the most successful musicals of all time around the song “Springtime for Hitler.”


Why do we allow the people who just want to bitch to always win? Days before that firing, the opening ceremony’s musical director was also forced out because someone dug up an interview with him from 1994 where he admitted to bullying classmates as a child. As a child. Remember when your teachers used to try and scare you by saying, “this is going on your permanent record”? Yeah, no longer an empty threat now!

[Laughter] [applause]

And the creative director of the entire shebang, the whole Olympics, got shit canned because he once made a fat joke in a private conversation. This is called a purge. It’s a mentality that belongs in Stalin’s Russia. How bad does this atmosphere we’re living in have to get before the people who say cancel culture is overblown admit that it is in fact an insanity that is swallowing up the world.


Where did you get this crowd? I’m back, not the audience, I’m back! And that is not a conservative position, my friends; my politics haven’t changed — but I am reacting to politics that have, and this is yet another example of how the woke invert the very thing that used to make liberals “liberals.” Snitches and bitches — that’s not being liberal. The Associated Press is a real news organization, right? So why am I reading this headline: “Olympic surfing exposes whitewashed native Hawaiian roots.” Yeah, the Olympics added surfing this year, good, surfers deserve to be recognized as athletes. I’m sorry, what I meant to say is “no, that’s cultural appropriation!” The AP says that for Hawaiians, probably two of them, including surfing in the Olympics is “an extension of the racial indignities seared into the history of the game and their homeland” when “white outsiders’ took over their “spiritual art form.’ Or just people having fun in the ocean.

[Cheers and applause]

I must say, of all the violations of the woke penal code, “cultural appropriation” just might be the dumbest of all. First of all there are 25,000 islands in the pacific: how do we know a Hawaiian was the first to stand on a board in the water?


It seems like something anyone in any ocean would eventually get around to. And if you’re a surfer, it doesn’t matter if you’re black, white or in between, you all taste the same to sharks.

[Laughter] [applause]

But let’s say a Hawaiian did invent surfing: should he or she have kept it to themselves? Most of human history is a horror story, but the good parts are about different groups coming together and sharing — it’s sort of the whole point of the Olympics!


Which itself comes from Greece, where wrestling was invented as a way for completely heterosexual men can get to know each other. Badminton has roots in India, tennis comes from France. Skiing from Scandinavia and Taekwondo from Korea. Judo was appropriated from the far east and skate skateboarding from the far out. What is this new rule that the first thing to do, the first to do something are the only ones who get the habit? Jewish people spent most of their history wandering but when they see other people milling around, they don’t say “can you not? That is sort of our thing.”

Change is not synonymous with progress, nor does it automatically mean better. This new idea that each culture must remain in its own separate silo is not better, that’s not progress. In fact, it’s messing with one of the few ideas that still really does make this melting pot called America great. Not everything is about oppression. Stealing natural resources from indigenous people, yes of course. That is exploitation but I swear not one Beach Boy song resulted in any Hawaiian having less wave to surf.

[Laughter] [applause]

Not one African record buyer stopped purchasing local music after Paul Simon made Graceland. But lots of white buyers in America were turned onto and bought African music. Today, Korean boy bands make western style music — you don’t get to number one singing that.


And that is the great thing about cultural mixing, it makes things better for everyone. BTS can be a hit in America and I can get kimchi on a taco, isn’t that better than everyone walling them self off from outsiders? I thought walls were supposed to be bad!


But we are living now in a world where straight actors are told they can’t play gay roles and white novelists aren’t allowed to imagine what would be like to be a Mexican immigrant, even though trying to inhabit the life of someone else is almost the very definition of empathy. The bedrock of liberalism. If anyone deserves to bitch about stealing in the Olympics, it’s the horses in the equestrian events who have to watch humans get medals for everything they do.


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