Bill Maher Plans to Retire From Standup Later This Year

Bill Maher says he’s ready to put down the mic—at least when it comes to standup 

Sitting down with Jerry Seinfeld on the latest episode of Maher’s Club Random podcast, the long-time host of HBO’s Real Time revealed that he’s planning to wind down his standup career.

“I feel nervous about telling you. I feel like you’re the confessor to this,” Maher told Seinfeld, “but after this year, I’m going to stop doing [standup].”

Maher was quick to give himself an out. “I could go back. I don’t want to make, like, a big announcement or something,” he cautioned. “I mean, I’m doing a special at the end of the year. It’ll be my 13th for HBO. That’s a lot.”

Seinfeld seemed surprised by the news, but would ultimately tell Maher the idea was “not crazy” after hearing the full reasoning.

Maher went on to explain that he doesn’t have the time to devote to standup that he feels it warrants. “I put a lot of time and effort into it because, as you know, standup is like playing the cello. You can’t just walk up there. You have to stay in practice. And I do. And I’ve always loved it. And I’m always working on it. But, I have a show,” he reasoned, referring to HBO’s Real Time, which the host is newly committed to through 2026.

That commitment clearly remains the priority for Maher. Seinfeld pressed the host on whether he thinks about wrapping up Real Time, noting that Maher has been in the talk show business for 31 years (since Politically Incorrect premiered in 1993).

“Well, I certainly wouldn’t want to quit now,” Maher responded, “because I feel like I’m at the top of my game. And lots of people tell me that.”

Maher noted that one part of Real Time in particular continues to bring him fulfillment.  “I think what standup is for you,” he told Seinfeld, “is what writing that editorial at the end of the show is for me.”

In the Club Random episode, Maher also touched on the podcast itself, and how that could factor into his plans. “If I don’t have to practice the cello eight hours a day… I might want to do some of these kinds of things live. That’s kind of an interesting option that people do nowadays. It’s kind of an event.”

Club Random is the flagship podcast on Maher’s podcast network, Club Random Studios, which was launched by Maher in March. Led by Maher, Chris Case, and Chuck LaBella, the network has already signed Billy Corgan, Kevin Garnett, Sage Steele, Fred Durst, and Matt Friend to host shows.

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