Real Time with Bill Maher Deserves an Emmy—According to Bill Maher

Real Time with Bill Maher may not have an Emmy to its name, but according to its host, it’s not for lack of deserving one.

Speaking with Minnesota’s Star-Tribune, Maher offered some thoughts on his long-running HBO show’s place in the competition—and within the late-night landscape in general.

The conversation began when Maher was asked why he doesn’t seem to be a “part of that club” of late-night hosts that “seem to be best pals,” but Maher disagreed with the notion.

“I don’t know if it’s a club,” Maher responded. “I love the Jimmys. I just saw Jimmy Fallon last month. I love Jimmy Kimmel as a person. Stephen Colbert? No, we’re not friends, but we’re not enemies.”

Maher went on to compare their differing agendas as hosts. “All those guys, their points of views are all interchangeable,” he said. “When it comes to politics, they could do each other’s jokes. I’m going to give you something completely different. I’m not constrained.”

When asked by the outlet if that difference is the reason why Real Time has never brought home the Emmy, Maher seemed hesitant to tackle the subject at first.

“I’m not going to get into that,” he said, before offering a more direct take. “The reason we haven’t won an Emmy is not because it wasn’t the best show. It might be because it is the best, because it’s the bravest show, but that’s not what’s rewarded. The Emmy voters are virtue signalers and my politics [don’t] jibe with theirs.”

Real Time with Bill Maher used to be a shoo-in come Emmy nominations. It was nominated for Outstanding Variety Series (or its equivalent category) nearly every year from its debut in 2003 through 2017, and was often nominated in the writing category as well. Prior to its 2003 debut, Maher hosted Politically Incorrect from 1993 to 2002, which was also nominated in all but its first two years.

This year’s Emmy race is already shaping up to be something different.

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