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Bill Maher Calls Trump Inaugural Address “Joyless And Ugly And Dividing”

Deadline logo Deadline 1/21/2017 Greg Evans
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Updated Saturday with video Bill Maher celebrated his birthday – and the 15th season premiere of HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher – with an opening salvo against his old nemesis and new president: “What does every kid want for his birthday?,” the comedian asked in his first monologue since the Oval Office changeover. “A clown.”

Maher, who earlier this week in a candid and chemically-enhanced interview with The New York Times expressed fears that Donald Trump would target him in some sort of presidential retribution, showed no jitters tonight. Castigating pundits who held out hope that Trump would offer a kinder, gentler Inauguration Day persona, Maher said of today’s Inaugural speech, “It wasn’t classy or unifying. It was joyless and ugly and dividing.”

“At what point,” Maher asked, “are people going to realize there is no normal president inside the Trump fat suit?”

Fittingly, Maher’s first guest of the new season was Jane Fonda, the activist and actress who’ll be a keynote speaker at tomorrow Women’s March in Los Angeles. Fonda was as unrestrained as Maher, repeatedly calling Trump “the Predator in Chief.” (See the video above).

Fonda also voiced her support for Meryl Streep, whose Golden Globes speech criticized Trump for mocking a disabled reporter. “The Predator in Chief and his fake news,” Fonda said, “their tactic is to divide and conquer. Whenever a celebrity speaks out, like Meryl did at the Golden Globes, and gets a reaction from him like she did, you know she hit the right spot.”

Later in the show, guest Keith Olbermann said Trump was not “a legitimate president” and suggested opponents borrow Tea Party tactics: “We have to make this as unpleasant personally for him as possible,” he said, advising the anti-Trump public to answer each and every Trump tweet. “Just keep mentioning it every day.”

Tonight’s episode was live-streamed on YouTube during HBO’s 10 pm ET airing. Real Time plays on tape-delay on HBO at 10 pm PT. The roundtable guests were economic equality advocate Heather McGhee, presidential historian Jon Meacham and former Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez.

Earlier today, HBO previewed the show’s new set with a YouTube video. Watch it here:

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