Word for Word - Transcripts - 1/5/99
 January 5th, 1999

(Original Air Date 7/24/98)

Guests on this program were:
Morgan Fairchild
Harlan Ellison
Holly McClure
Dan Cortese

Bill's Opening

Bill: Thank you very much.

[ Cheers and applause ]

Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen.
Oh, thank you.
Happy new year.
It's great to be back.
And I know why you're happy today, because the Republicans haveelected a new speaker of the House.

[ Laughter ]

It's Dennis Hastert.

[ Laughter ]

Isn't that great?
I was so pulling for Dennis Hastert.
Between him and, I don't know, Bob Denver.
Dennis Hastert.
Nobody knows who this guy is.
In fact, when he has a youthful indiscretion and takes anotherguy's wife to a motel, he checks in under Dennis Hastert.
That's --

[ Laughter ]

Yeah, he's very conservative.
In fact, this is true, he is so conservative that the Christiancoalition gave him a 100% rating.
Just to put that in perspective, they only gave Jesus an 85%, so --

[ Laughter ]

Well --

[ Applause ]

Well, the big trial starts on Thursday, that is PresidentClinton's impeachment trial.
The senators, who are the jurors in this case, are still arguingover what form that trial will take.
Some of them want it short, some of them want it long.
Some want witnesses, some don't.
The big argument is who is going to hold up Monica's dress.
That's apparently --

[ Laughter and applause ]

And now there is a big rumor going around today started by one ofthe tabloids.
And I want to say right away, it's sort of an editorial comment,but you should not believe things that are not true unless youknow they are true.
And I don't know this is true, but this is what is being reported.
You are going to hear this, that President Clinton apparently, allegedly, someone is accusing him of having an affair with aformer black prostitute in Arkansas and has a 13-year-old sonfrom that liaison.

[ Some audience gasps ]

Which I feel bad for the kid.

[ Laughter ]

I mean, it must be tough to go down to the welfare office to pickup food stamps and there's a picture of your daddy on the wall.
You know that's --

[ Laughter ]

And finally, Madonna in the news, as she often is, apparently, Ilove this, said -- the news said today that she had a seance --she is denying this -- on New Year's Eve.
She said she did not have a seance.
Although she said she would have liked to invoke a spirit, butshe could not bring herself to utter the phrase "come before me."

[ Laughter ]

All right, thank you for coming.
It's all been satirized for your protection.

Panel Discussion

Bill: All righty, let us meet our panel.
She is a radio talk-show host and syndicated film critic, ourpal, Holly McClure.
There she is.

[ Applause ]

Holly: Hi, Bill.

Bill: Hello, you.
Good to see you.
Thank you.
He is the most honored writer of in the history of fantasticliterature.
His new collections are "Slippage" and "Angry Candy."
Harlan Ellison.

[ Applause ]

How are you, buddy?
Good to see you.

Harlan: Mr. Maher, happy new year.

Bill: He plays Perry on "Veronica's Closet" Thursdays at 9:30on another network.
Don -- Don?
Dan Cortese.

[ Applause ]

How are you?
Finally, an actress, author and femme fatale and the woman JonLovitz still lies about, Morgan Fairchild, right over here.

[ Applause ]

Morgan: Hello.

Bill: Hello, beautiful.
How are you doing?

Morgan: Happy new year.

Bill: Thank you.
All right.
Let me start the new year with a small announcement.
As I mentioned to our studio, and this was before the show, weare going to have, starting Thursday, a citizen panelist on everyshow, that is someone who is not a celebrity.
We will be coming to your town sometime this year.
I'm going to Tucson on the 15th to find someone from there.
So I think that should be interesting.
And if they do well, we may kick all the celebrities off the show.

[ Laughter ]

Morgan: Good idea.

Bill: I'm just kidding, because you're citizens, too.

Harlan: No?

[ Laughter ]

Bill: Some of you are really good-looking citizens.

Morgan: We'll see if they're as stupid as we are.

Bill: Exactly.
That is the point.
Now, something made --

[ Laughter ]

Something made me mad today, as it has in all of other years I'vebeen doing this show, so obviously nothing is new in this year.
Gail Sheehy, former guest, famous author of "Passages," and herrecent one is "Men's Passages."
Well, she made a big news item today by saying that Bill Clintonand Hillary -- she said that Hillary is addicted to Bill.
Now, I don't want to talk about the Clintons.
I'm sick of them.
But just this idea that you can have an addiction to another human being.
I find that very offensive.

Harlan: You mean, she stands by him and that's, by GailSheehy, an addiction.

Bill: Exactly.
Thank you, Harlan.
Thank you.

Harlan: That's in the top percentile of stupid remarks evermade in the universe.

Bill: I think so.

[ Laughter ]

Dan: Well, it's right up there.
It's something that in the past that somebody that would beapplauded for, that, you know, you may not agree what her husbanddid, but she's gonna -- she's standing by her man.

Bill: Yeah.

Dan: That's a good thing.
And for her to make a comment like that is ludicrous.

Bill: Right.

Harlan: Gail's getting cranky in her declining years.

Holly: But wait a minute.
I don't believe she's addicted to him.
But I do believe -- I don't believe she's standing by her manbecause she's so loyal and so emotionally there and she just isin love with Bill and, listen, Hillary's brilliant.
She's a smart woman.

Bill: Let's not talk about Hillary.

Holly: But it has to be, Bill.

Bill: Let's just talk about people.

Holly: Bill, it has to be.
Because that's the point.
It's her personality, why she's there.
It's her reason for staying and standing by him.
She is the first lady.
She has a reason to stay where she's at.

Bill: The point is --

Holly: It's not like every other relationship.

Bill: The point is that people think that everything is anaddiction nowadays.

Holly: Well, co-dependency is another word for it, too.
It's been titled a lot of things.
I mean, you know, who knows why --

Harlan: How long were your mom and dad married?

Holly: 47 years.

Harlan: Did they stay by each other just 'cause they liked each other?

Holly: They were committed.

Harlan: They were committed.
They didn't actually like each other.

Morgan: She does glow when he's in trouble.

Holly: I just don't believe that Hillary is addicted to Bill.
I believe she's a smart, intelligent woman who's decided to staywhere she's at by her choice.
Because she's in a good place.

Dan: So she's doing it for herself, not for Bill.

Holly: For herself.
Completely for herself.

Bill: Can a person --

Morgan: The same choice a lot of women make.
Went it first broke and all the Republicans are saying, you know,"Well, why would she do this, why would she do this?"

Holly: Right.

Morgan: And why does the women --

Bill: See, this is why I'm gonna have a citizen on this show.
Because they'll listen to what I say as opposed to you stupidcelebrities who don't.

Holly: Now, wait a minute.

[ Laughter ]

Bill: Because I don't want to talk about the Clintons.
What I want to talk about --

Holly: But you have to in this issue, right?

Bill: No, you don't.
She brought up an issue.

Holly: Okay.

Bill: Which is that a person can be addicted to anotherperson, which I object to.
Which I find very offensive, this idea that addiction applies tohuman beings.
Addiction is to heroin or cigarettes or something like that.
But I don't think you can be addicted, and I don't think youshould term love, even if it's perverted love, as addiction.

Harlan: What then?

Dan: She serves her purpose.

Harlan: What?

Bill: What do you mean what?

Harlan: Well, if you can't stop eating pancakes, you'readdicted to pancakes.
If you have to have comic books.
If you can't bear not to be around somebody, if you go nuts ifthey're not around you --

Morgan: Even if they're not good for you.

Harlan: If they're not good for you, I mean, what's the word?
I mean, I don't know about addiction.

Bill: A person is not a pancake.
I hate to --

[ Laughter ]

It sounds like a mass-market book, but --

Holly: We have people who are addicted to -- we are anaddictive society.
We're addicted to TV, movies, entertainment, a lot of things inour life that we're addicted to.
So I think in relationships we kind of turn out a lifestyle wherepeople fall into that.

Bill: I think it's a very loose use of the word "addiction."

Harlan: Yeah, bad word.
Bad word.

Holly: Co-dependent I think is a better word.
There's a lot of co-dependent people in this country inrelationships they wish they weren't in but they're there.

Bill: But why, if a human being does something more than once,they're addicted.
Why can't we just like something?
I mean --

[ Laughter ]

Dan: It sells books.
It sells books.
We're talking about it on this show.

Harlan: It's perfectly normal.
If my wife Susan leaves the room for three minutes I sit down andbegin to whimper and cry.
I mean, that's just the way it is.

Dan: It's true.
You should have seen him in the greenroom.

Harlan: It was terrible.

[ Laughter ]

I scream.
I stamp my feet.

Holly: That's why she's -- I think that's why it's easy topick on Hillary.
Because she --

Bill: We have to take a commercial because I'm not going totalk about Hillary.

Holly: Okay.

Bill: All right, first of all, let me correct.
I think I may have misspoke.
We're gonna have a citizen panelist on one show a week, not every night.

Morgan: You couldn't deal with it.

Bill: I may.
Don't push me.
Now, I want to talk about this issue, which we discussed before.
But there was a ruling on yesterday in Kentucky, two high schoolgirls got pregnant and were kicked out of the honor society.
Now a judge has said, "No, no, no, they have to be allowed in thehonor society, even if they got pregnant in high school."
I guess I'm an old fussbudget.
I say, you know what, it's the honor society.
I don't think that includes getting knocked up.

[ Laughter ]

Harlan: You're kidding, right?

Bill: No, I'm not kidding.

Harlan: You can't believe that.

Morgan: I disagree.

Harlan: I would not want you to go to your grave believingthat was so.

Morgan: Why not?

Harlan: Well, because it has nothing to do with it.

Morgan: Why not?

Harlan: First of all, the word "honor" in an honor society hasnothing to do with your sexual proclivities, one way or theother, any more than being a member of the boy scouts has a rightto, you know, expel somebody 'cause he's gay.

Holly: It they stand for something.

Harlan: No, if they got knocked up that's their personal life.

Dan: Now, is it about --

Harlan: The marks were 100%.
They had great marks.

Morgan: When I was in high school it was grades.
I mean, are there other things that are supposed to be taken intoconsideration?

Bill: Yes.

Dan: Was it because they got pregnant or because they werepromiscuous?
Because I'm sure there are boys on the honor society that aregetting a little.

Morgan: Exactly.

Dan: So, if the guys are getting some, yet, you know, didn'tget anybody pregnant then --

Holly: But what's wrong with having a standard.

Bill: That's a good point.

Holly: What's wrong with having a standard, though?
What's wrong with the honor society having a standard and saying,"Here's who we hold in high esteem."
These kids have worked for it with their grades and theirlifestyle, they show for it.
Usually teenagers who are working for the honor society have alot going for them.
Now these two girls, for whatever reason, got pregnant.
But it does send out kind of a message.

[ Talking at once ]

Bill: And we know the reason.

[ Talking at once ]

Morgan: Guys who got girls pregnant, it just doesn't show.
I mean, you know.

Dan: That's true.
But think about, you know what, okay, so they are pregnant.
They -- and isn't there some honor in the fact that they're goingto go the term with the pregnancy and honor the fact that they'regonna give birth to this child?

Holly: There is honor in that.
Yes, there is.

[ Applause ]

Harlan: Oh, you cookie.

[ Laughter ]

Holly: There is honor in that.

Harlan: My cookie.

Morgan: No, I mean, these days it seems like you're damned ifyou do and you're damned if you don't.
I mean, if you mess up and get into trouble --

Bill: No, but these days it seems like people want to doanything and then call themselves something else.
You know, I mean, if you're in the National Honor Society -- youbrought up Boy Scouts.
I mean, this is a place for people who are straight arrows.
I have no problem with getting pregnant, but you know what, thenyou can't be in the National Honor Society.
Sometimes you have to pick.

Morgan: But, Bill, what is it based on?
My understanding is it was based on grades.

Bill: Yeah, grades.

Morgan: Grades.

Harlan: That's the only parameter for being admitted is grades.

Bill: No, it isn't.
There's character and a bunch of other B.S.

Dan: So there are like written rules and things like that.

Bill: Yeah.

Dan: So was pregnancy one of the rules that --

Morgan: So what about the kids who are smoking dope?
I mean, what about the kids who are playing hookey?

Bill: And if it is just smart --

Morgan: What about the kids --

Bill: If it is just smarts, I mean, how dumb do you have to benot to know how to use a condom?

Harlan: Oh, what you never made a mistake in your life?

Bill: I never got pregnant.

[ Laughter ]

Harlan: Not that we know of.

Holly: It's easier for the guy.

Bill: You know, it's like somebody in a bar the other day saidto me, "I'm a very spiritual person."
And I said, "You know what, you're not."
Because the term "very spiritual" has to apply to only, like, monksand priests.
That's a very -- you might be a person who's a nice person, butas long as you're in a bar at 1:00 in the morning on Fridaynight, you are not a very spiritual person.

[ Laughter ]

You can't have everything both ways.
You're a person who is fitting spirituality into your life.

Harlan: He may be saying a berakhah over the wine at that hour.
You don't know.

Holly: That's where I agree with you.
I think we've gotten so many different small groups of people whogo into an organization and then they want their rights.
Because they're a certain way they want them to break the rules,change the rules.

Bill: Right.

Holly: This has been happening over the last five to ten yearswith different organizations.
And really, it's getting ridiculous.

Harlan: How conservative of you.

Holly: No, but then who has the right for them to have a groupor have an organization.

Harlan: Wait, wait --

Bill: What if you're a crack addict?

Harlan: Just because you got into the organization first andyou set up the rules does not mean that you can continue to rulethe roost.

Bill: Why?

Holly: Have an honor society for pregnant women then.

Harlan: The world changes and people are people.
And if you're in an honor society that is based on grades andintelligence, then it doesn't matter if you're schtupping dogs inthe backyard.

[ Laughter ]

Holly: It apparently does to the honor society.

Bill: What if you're a crack addict with good grades, do youthink you should still be in the National Honor Society?

Harlan: That's what the honor society is about, good grades.

Bill: No, it's not.
It's not the hall of fame for baseball players.
It's the National Honor Society for leadership and sort ofstandards for kids.

Harlan: Well, the judge felt that way.

Bill: Is this what you want to elevate to the -- you know,National Honor Society was like something you aspire to.

Dan: Come on, don't say what do you want to elevate to.
Because do you also want to elevate to the highest office in theland and get [ bleep ] from an intern.
I mean, come on.

[ Laughter ]

This is a standard that's set up here.

Bill: All right, we're back to Clinton.
I'm taking another commercial.
I'm just not going to talk about it.

Bill: All right.
Harlan, you're an author of God knows how many books.

Harlan: 74.

Bill: 74.
You gotta get a sign like McDonald's.

[ Applause ]

Like you've all read all of them.

[ Laughter ]

But, of course, the greatest selling book is the Bible.
Now, some book --

[ Laughter ]


Morgan: And Harlan claims authorship of it.
He only wants his cut.

Harlan: Only the footnotes.

Bill: There are some bookstores in Rhode Island who are notcharging a tax on the Bible, as they do on your book and everyother book, including other religious books.
And of course, the ACLU stepped in, as I think they should, andit went to the Rhode Island Supreme Court.
And it is a big controversy up there, whether they can -- theyare allowed even to choose not to charge a tax on the Bible whenthey tax every other book.
What do you think?

Dan: Is it just the Bible?

Bill: Just the Bible.

Harlan: Just the Bible.

Dan: No other religious textbook.

Bill: No.

Harlan: Just the Bible is tax-exempt.

Bill: Right.

Harlan: As Johnnie Cochran said, "Infamous."
When I write a story, the word "God" always appears in lower case.
And invariably the publishers call me and they say, "Well, itshould be capitalized."
I said, "If God wants free advertising, God can either take abillboard or pay me for the spot."

[ Laughter ]

I think that if you're gonna have your own little group and youwant to spread your word, you get out in the marketplace, freemarketplace.
I mean, you're a conservative, you ought to believe in freemarketplace, let the marketplace do the job.
Everybody else pays tax on a book.
Why should the Bible be exempt?
Just because it's the word of some old farts?

[ Laughter ]

Holly: Is lightning going to strike?

Morgan: I have a different opinion.
I have a different opinion.

Harlan: I mean, I didn't mean to come on too strong about this.

Bill: Yes.

Holly: Apparently you are.

Morgan: I just sort of think that they shouldn't be taxing anyliterature based on first amendment rights.
I mean, dissemination of knowledge and freedom of speech.
I don't think they should be taxed.

Bill: So no book should be taxed?

Morgan: I don't think so.

Bill: Come on.

Harlan: I can't even agree with that one.

Bill: Most books are crap.

[ Laughter ]

Books are just like television.
95% of it is crap.

Morgan: But we can't get kids to read now.
We have a terrible literacy rate in this country.

Bill: What are you --go to a bookstore.
Look at the best-seller list.
It's crap.

Morgan: They're not reading if they're clapping at that.

Bill: Tom Clancy is crap.
It's may be entertaining just like many television shows are, butit's crap.
Why shouldn't you tax crap?

Morgan: I just don't think --

Harlan: Wait a minute.
So then we should tax Grisham and Clancy?

Bill: No, you should tax everything.

Harlan: But we shouldn't tax Joyce Carol Oates and Shakespeare?

Bill: No, I'm not saying that either.

Harlan: Well, you can't -- who's to say?
One person's crap is another person's wonderful.

Bill: I'm saying if you tax one, tax 'em all.
I'm not saying --

Harlan: Absolutely.

Morgan: If you're going to tax one, then I think you shouldtax all of them.

Holly: I don't think God's really concerned if his Bible istaxed or not.
People are gonna read it anyway.
So I don't think he's really concerned if the state or thegovernment gets money.

[ Applause ]

'Cause God doesn't need their money.

Bill: I got news for you.

Morgan: Give to that which is Caesar's.

Holly: Exactly.
So I don't really think that's God's issue.

Bill: I don't think God's issue is even that he writes books.
How about that?

[ Laughter ]

How about God is way bigger than to have to write a book.
You know what?

Holly: Written, as you yourself said, you know, it's thepremier book of all time.

Bill: That doesn't mean God wrote it.

Holly: Do we want to talk about that?
Should we get into that?

Harlan: What?
Got pen, ballpoint, typewriter, quill?

Holly: Let's get logistic on this whole thing about Godwriting the Bible.
The issue was separation of church and state, which the ACLU is comingin here and saying that they don't have a right to do.
And basically, the reason it's the Constitution was set up thatway was so that the government couldn't institute a church overthe people and force them to be religious.

Bill: Right.

Holly: So that's the freedom of it is reading the Bible.
And so that's why -- and it is kind of time-honored.
We've done it in this country for years and years.
What is everything that this country was founded on have to beturned around, bashed, you know, separated, torn apart.

Morgan: If you're not going to tax the Bible then youshouldn't tax the Koran.

Bill: Right.

Morgan: You shouldn't tax the Talmud.

Holly: Well, then I'm sure when the founding fathers weredoing this, they didn't think about the Koran at that time.
I'm sure that wasn't in their, you know --

Harlan: No but they did say separation of church and state.

Dan: Is this just recently they have begun to not tax it?

Bill: Yes, this is just recently.

Dan: So it had been taxed up until now?

Bill: Absolutely.

Dan: And whose idea was it to change it?

Bill: Some bookseller in Rhode Island who thought that hecould sell the Bible and make a point about the fact that weshould prefer one religion over the other.

Harlan: Make a wild guess.
I bet you he's a Christian.

[ Laughter ]

It just occurred to me.

Bill: But you know there are Jews in the Bible.
We'll take a break.
We'll come back.

Announcer: Join us tomorrow when our guests will be --Elayne Boosler, Dee Dee Myers, John Fugalsang and Brad Keena.

[ Applause ]

Bill: All right.
This is our welcome back from the holidays.
I just have to show you this.
We have a couple of minutes here.
This is a -- now, I don't have children.
Like that's a big surprise to people.

[ Laughter ]

But my producer, Scott Carter, does.

Morgan: You can't be in the honor society.

Bill: He got this.
Look at this, Princess Brass Doll Bed.
This isn't the part I want to show you.
I'm you won't be able to see the small print.
I'm going to read it to you.
There's a picture of a little kid with the thing.
It says, "Doll and child not included."

[ Laughter ]

Holly: Is that a sad commentary on this country?

[ Talking at once ]

Holly: Sue happy society.
We want a lawsuit every chance to make money.

Morgan: And stupid people.

Harlan: You guys are crazy.
That's somebody jerking your chain.

Morgan: No, no, no.

Bill: No, it's not.

Dan: It basically means one thing.
It means Michael Jackson won't be buying this.

[ Laughter ]

Can you see Michael on Christmas morning shaking the box?

Holly: No child even reads the box.
You can tell that's not for kids.

Bill: Children don't buy it either, Holly.
This is adults who buy it.

Morgan: Six-packs have to come now with a thing that says --

Harlan: I'm appalled.

Morgan: "Blond in bikini not included."

[ Laughter ]

Harlan: I'm appalled that in this crowd of cynics I have morefaith in the human race than you do.
I think somebody just having a gag.
Somebody thought it was funny to put --

Bill: I have to shut you up because this year we're going to areal good night.
Thank everybody.
We had a real great panel.
See you tomorrow.
We're going to have -- oh, I forget who we're going to have.

[ Cheers and applause ]


Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher

Executive Producers
Scott Carter
Bill Maher
Nancy Geller

Senior Producer
Douglas M. Wilson

Supervising Producer
Kevin Hamburger

Created By
Bill Maher

Directed By
Michael Dimich

Writing Supervised By
Chris Kelly

Doug Abeles
Bill Kelley
Bill Maher
Billy Martin
Chuck Martin
Ned Rice
Danny Vermont
Scott Carter

Associate Director
Nancy Ortenberg

Stage Manager
Patrick Whitney

Executive in Charge of Production
John Fisher

Executive Producers
Brad Grey
Bernie Brillstein
Marc Gurvitz

©1998 Follow Up Productions