New Rules: Polite Musings from a Timid Observer

( 33 )

Overview

Bill Maher is on the forefront of the new wave of comedians who influence and shape political debate through their comedy. He is best known not just for being funny, but for advocating truth over sensitivity and taking on the political establishment.

Maher first came to national attention as the host of the hit ABC-TV program Politically Incorrect, where he offered a combustible mixture of irreverence and acerbic humor that helped him to garner...

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New Rules: Polite Musings from a Timid Observer

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Overview

Bill Maher is on the forefront of the new wave of comedians who influence and shape political debate through their comedy. He is best known not just for being funny, but for advocating truth over sensitivity and taking on the political establishment.

Maher first came to national attention as the host of the hit ABC-TV program Politically Incorrect, where he offered a combustible mixture of irreverence and acerbic humor that helped him to garner a loyal following, as well as a reputation for being a controversial bad boy.

Bill Maher’s popular new HBO television show, Real Time, has put Maher more front and center than ever before. Particularly one regular segment on the show, entitled "New Rules," has been a hit with his ever-growing legion of fans. It is the part of the show during which Maher takes serious aim, bringing all of his intelligence, incisiveness, wit, and his signature exasperation to bear on topics ranging from cell phones ("I don’t need my cell phone to take pictures or access the Internet. I just need it to make a phone call. From everywhere! Not just the places it likes!") to fast food ("No McDonald’s in hospitals. I’m not kidding!) to the conservative agenda ("Stop claiming it’s an agenda. It’s not an agenda. It’s a random collection of laws that your corporate donors paid you to pass.").

His bestselling book, New Rules, brings these brilliantly conceived riffs and rants to the written page. This new edition of the book, in paperback for the first time, also features some brand-new material not found in the hardcover.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Though it's often true that the audio adaptation of a humorous work is better than the print edition, particularly when read by the comedian who authored it, one gets the sense that this production isn't all that it could have been. Maher's delivery is well-timed, but the audio, with its lack of music or embellishment, has a bare-bones feel. Nevertheless, the sound quality is good, and those who appreciate Maher's wry sense of humor and, in particular, who are familiar with his HBO series, Real Time with Bill Maher, should enjoy this collection of witticisms. Maher has established some new rules for our "self-obsessed, success-by-any-means, get-mine culture," and he tackles everything from food ("Cornbread isn't bread. It's cake") to the environment ("The big oil companies must stop running ads telling us how much they're doing for the environment. We get it. You rape the Earth, but you cuddle afterward"). While the alphabetical list format doesn't make for the most flowing listening experience, Maher's expert delivery ensures that each joke is as funny as when he originally presented it on Real Time. Simultaneous release with the Rodale hardcover. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594865053
  • Publisher: Rodale Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/5/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 941,504
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

BILL MAHER is one of the most politically astute humorists in America today. His unflinching honesty has garnered him 18 Emmy nominations—and the respect and admiration of millions of fans. His previous books include Does Anybody Have a Problem with That? and When You Ride ALONE You Ride with bin Laden, which was a New York Times bestseller.

Biography

Some comics parlay their routines into sitcoms and movies; Bill Maher chose unconventionally and became a political gadfly. After building his reputation for biting, unsparing humor in an '80s standup act, Maher entered the late-night television arena as host of Politically Incorrect, a raucous celebrity forum that originated on Comedy Central in 1993 and later ran on ABC until 2002.

On the show, which presented an unlikely foursome of celebrities and pundits debating national issues, Maher was the "moderator" -- though the self-defined Libertarian rarely refrained from excoriating guests he disagreed with before cutting to commercial. Maher's Libertarian status has been challenged (Salon did an entire piece informing Maher that he was "more or less a liberal"), but his ability to incite discussion has never been in question. The success of the show led to a 1996 book tie-in, Does Anybody Have a Problem with That?, which offered highlights from Maher's unfettered commentary targeting everything from AIDS ribbons to Howard Stern to "convenient feminism." Here's his response to secondhand smoking complaints: "It only seems fair that if I can put out my cigarette, you can tell your kid to shut up. Because if you don't tell your kid to shut up, the next time, when you're not looking, I'm gonna give him a cigarette." Maher's fans like his willingness to sacrifice tact and decorum for the sake of sheer honesty; like P. J. O'Rourke, he has an ability to make even his ideological opponents laugh.

The Politically Incorrect book wasn't Maher's first; he wrote a novelization of his standup experience, True Story, in 1994. The blunt, sex-spiked account of comedy club life is not for the squeamish, but it does deliver a realistic portrait. Of the five comedians who inhabit Maher's novel, the New York Times wrote, "They are not deep or refined characters, and the wit is not subtle or dry, but they all have charm, even if it comes from a rueful acknowledgment of their fecklessness and their failings."

Ironically, the same equal-opportunity-offender approach that made Maher such a hit may have been what finally did in his show. True to form, Maher managed to anger many even in America's all-for-one climate following the September 11 attacks. The week following the tragedy, Maher said during an argument on his show: "We have been the cowards lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly." The resulting tempest in a teapot was enough to make advertisers Sears and FedEx pull out of the show, and it was cancelled shortly thereafter.

With When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden, Maher did not abandon his comedic tenor -- his promotional tour included stand-up engagements -- or his contrarian views. But he tempered the sarcasm with sincerity. "I can't deny it, I do hope you check out this book," he wrote in a note to readers on his web site. "I feel like it's the first attempt to indicate to people stuff they can actually DO to help fight the big terrorism war, so we can, you know -- win." Maher also said he donated part of the proceeds from his book to the USO and Operation USA.

Maher told US Weekly in 2000 that True Story was "the book I have in me. I'm very proud of it, but I could never write another one." This turned out to be not quite true, though it seems unlikely he'll try another novel. After his show ended, Maher told the Los Angeles Press Club (which gave him its 2002 President's Award) that though he wouldn't seek another show like Politically Incorrect, "I'm definitely still going to be talking about issues. I'm still going to be a comedian. I'm sure I'll still be controversial, but it won't be exactly me and four people every night." When You Ride Alone fulfills Maher's prophecy, and confirms his continuing ability to start conversations -- or arguments.

Good To Know

Maher writes a monthly column for Details magazine.

The title of Maher's 2002 book When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden comes from a World War II poster he saw that read, "When you ride alone, you ride with Hitler -- Join a car-sharing club today." The book contained 33 spoofs on the wartime propaganda posters that are being offered for sale, including one that reads, "Put a flag on your car...it's literally the least you can do."

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    1. Hometown:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 20, 1956
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Cornell University, 1978

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 33 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2008

    Right wingers should be ready to pray !! LOL!!!

    Im so glad that bill maher's career has reached such heights. It is really refreshing to have a liberal who isn't scared of telling the religious nuts and hypocritical republicans the truth. I just read the other reviews from typical RUSH and O'reilly fans. The fact that they were all offended by this book makes me cheer for more. These same people probably love Ann coulter's republican slander, but are all pissy that someone finally punched back. I love it. Cant wait for his movie called religulous. I cant wait to see how many christian groups go crazy and protest. I love it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2005

    Political Reflections from a Comedic Connoisseur

    Knee-slapping commentary delivered in a condenced and pithy way. Maher's witty take on issues are ironic, scathing, yet very sensible. A must read for anyone who ever finds themselves up in arms with the status quo.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2005

    Hysterical

    I met Bill Maher at a book signing. Shook his hand. I'm the youngest published sci fi novelist in America, Ken Eng, and I can honestly say that this is the best book I've read in like ten years. I am a very opinionated person, and this is the first time I've ever read a book that had opinions identical to mine. In fact, I only disagreed with two of the jokes. Man this was only 2000 words and is almost as great as my book Dragons: Lexicon Triumvirate. And Paris hilton does only have one facial expression, I've noticed that for a while.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2005

    Laugh Out Loud Funny

    One of the funnier books I've read in a long time. I recommend it to anyone who has ever laughed because I can almost be certain beyond doubt that you will laugh out loud at least a few times while reading this book. Whether you are left-wing, right-wing, or niether.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2005

    Laughed and Laughed

    this is a quick read but really funny and insightful novel. I just could not put it down. This guy says what he thinks....You have to love that! A must read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2005

    FUNNY & A QUICK READ

    Being somewhat right of center myself,I don't always agree with bill's obvious left of center bias. But 'NEW RULES' is a one sitting read and bound to make all but the staunchest right winger laugh outloud.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2005

    Hilarious...couldn't put it down

    Such a great compilation of things that everyone always thinks, but no one ever says. It was hilarious...read it all in one sitting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2005

    TOOOOO Funny!

    I haven't laughed so hard in months. I loved this guy on his HBO special, and now I don't get to watch him. It was great to read his book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2011

    Hilarious

    I loved it! The observations are simply hilarious.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2011

    Poor

    I believe in reading all kinds of books...although im a Conservative Republican I still read it... wouldnt buy it though....I was given it...

    I personally think he is honestly messed up...he is funny...
    but an idiot

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2008

    So True and So Politically Incorrect

    If I didn't feel like going out on a Friday night, I was watching 'Real Time with Bill Maher.' When I did feel like going out on a Friday night, I set the timer for 'Real Time with Bill Maher.' I love this dude, and I'm tapping my fingers now that his show is off for the season! He and I agree on so many issues, including legalizing same-sex marriage, the Bush administration, religion, Republicans being busybodies, and the injustice in the prison system. It's almost like I never have to open my mouth again when it comes to politics. I can just tell folks to watch 'Real Time with Bill Maher' and get all my thoughts out. This is the ONE political host who would talk about the truth of the Jena 6. As much as I support Obama, Bill Maher spoke louder and prouder about it. In addition to that, he always has guests that I'm interested in learning more about as well as some of my favorite people (ex. Mos Def and Cornell West). While there are times when I disagree with him (MySpace fight, all black folks loving gin and juice [that's so mean!], all Democrats being spineless), I can respect his views even if I (very seldomly) don't agree with him. At the end of his show, the New Rules always make me laugh. I have yet to watch his show and not leaned over laughing so hard that I didn't have to wipe my eyes. If you want to know the truth about the justice system, please check out his show on HBO or his website. And if you want to peek into this book, look in the Y section under 'Hard Cell.' That one is the most onpoint of all of his rules! Note: I did not know that the photo on page 176 was a young girl burned. Thank you to the reviewers who told me that. Although I still loved the book, I can add that to the small list of things I don't agree with Bill on.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2008

    No class, little humor

    The writing in this book is adolescent and crude. As others have mentioned, it also has a few sickening photos. The person who gave me this book knew that I didn't agree with Maher's politics, but assured me that I'd find it funny anyway. I didn't. Even Bill's politically neutral topics were not that funny. I even agreed with some his rules, I just didn't care for the punch lines.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2005

    Where does that boy think he is?

    We conservatives don't take kindly to all that jibber jabbing about George W. Bush. President Bush is the reason why this country is in the shape it is in now. Only a great thinker would approve anti-terrorism checkpoints along the Mississippi Coast, and reduce restrictions at the Mexican/Texas border.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2005

    Very negative outlook

    Some of the entries were clever and funny. Others were just griping and negative blah blah!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2005

    Just OK

    Read it and then wondered why. Go see a movie, it is cheaper.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2005

    A Joke. Typical Liberal Regurgitation.

    If you are a liberal and enjoy the mindless point of view popularized by Air America, Michael Moore and Barbara Streisand, this book's for you! It simply regurgitates the views of the far left wing, devoid of any opinion in the mainstream (just like his really, really pathetic show on HBO). If you find yourself in the mainstream of American politics, you will find this book to be mindless and pointless. If you are a liberal, stick to the New York Times and Time Magazine. You will find them much more capable to support your point of view.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2005

    New Rules: Polite Musings from a Timid Observer

    I thought Maher's material was funny until I got to page 176. Maher has stooped to an all-time low by using a widely-publicized photo of a Vietnamese girl badly burned by napalm to depict Laura Flynn Boyle's childhood photo. Maher, either you are too young to know the meaning of this photo, or you are too arogant to care.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2005

    New Rules: Polite Musings from a Timid Observer

    Maher has a 'sick' sense of humor and the photo on page 176 proves it. He should walk a few steps in the body of a burn victim. I give it 'zero' stars for sick profiteering.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews

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