Bill Maher Net Worth

How much is Bill Maher worth?

Net Worth:$150 Million
Profession:Professional TV Host
Date of Birth:January 20, 1956
Country:United States of America
Height:
1.73 m

Who Is Bill Maher

Bill Maher is a comedian, talk show host, and investor who rose to fame in the 70s first establishing himself on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and David Letterman’s Late Show, sculpting his iconic sarcastic stand up routine. The too-hot-for-TV talk show host is known for being massively outspoken when it comes to religion, politics, war, and every other hot topic under the sun. He was the host of the controversial late night show, Politically Incorrect, and then moved to HBO to host Real Time with Bill Maher, which has now been on the air for 17 years. Outside of entertainment, Maher is also a minority stake holder in the New York Mets.

American comedian, political commentator, and TV Host Bill Maher has a net worth of $150 million dollars, as of 2021.

How did Bill Maher earn his net worth?

After having hosted late night TV in one shape or another for the past 27 years, Maher has racked up quite a pension. Most of his wealth comes from hosting over 500 episodes of Real Time with Bill Maher, as his yearly salary for the show comes to $10 million. Considering that he has hosted the show since 2003, it’s possible that the comedian could have made up to $170 million in that time. His earnings for Politically Incorrect wouldn’t have been quite as much, but as it ran for eight years and was increasingly popular year on year, the salary would surely have been one of the highest for a talk show host at the time.

But it isn’t just from hosting TV shows that Maher has earned his massive wealth. The host is also a successful business man, as he has a minority stake in the New York Mets. He purchased what is rumored to be a 4% stake in 2012, and as the mets are currently worth around $2 billion, Maher’s investment could be worth up to $80 million. On top of that, he has made a few ingenious real estate decisions. Most notably, the comedian owns a 3.2-acre mansion in Beverly Hills, which was sold to him by none other that Ben Affleck. As this happened back in 2003, the mansion is now reported to be worth an estimated $20 million.

Quick Bill Maher Facts:

  • Bill Maher was born in New York and raised in New Jersey.
  • He started doing comedy in 1979 and continues to perform up to 50 dates a year.
  • From 1993 to 2002, Maher hosted the political talk show Politically Incorrect first for Comedy Central and then for ABC. The show was canceled after remarks Maher made following September 11th.
  • In 2003, Maher became the host of the similarly political Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO.
  • Maher has written four best-sellers and taped eight stand-up specials for HBO.
  • In 2008, Maher co-created and starred in the film Religulous, a critique of organized religion.

A Wannabe Actor

In 1979, Maher was regularly performing stand-up in New York and was hosting at Catch a Rising Star. By the early ’80s, Maher began making talk show appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Late Night with David Letterman. But for most of the 1980s, Maher was also trying to get an acting career off the ground. With appearances on TV shows like Murder She Wrote and roles in movies such as D.C. Cab, House II: The Second Story and Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death, Maher never hit it big as an actor. Eventually, he would become famous enough to play himself in films (as a talk show host).

Politically Incorrect

Maher’s career really took off in 1993, when he created and became the host of the political talk show Politically Incorrect for Comedy Central. The show — one of Comedy Central’s few original series at the time — became a big hit for the network and launched Maher into the world of political punditry. The show was so popular, in fact, that in 1997 it was picked up by ABC Television for late-night broadcast. It ran on ABC until 2002.

Controversy

After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Maher made some controversial comments on Politically Incorrect about how he didn’t agree with statements that the terrorists who carried out the attacks were “cowardly.” Several advertisers and ABC affiliates dropped the show, and though Maher apologized for the comments (which he felt had been misinterpreted), the show was canceled the following June. ABC denied that Maher’s comments led to the cancellation, but Maher still contends that one was the result of the other.

Getting ‘Real’:

In 2002, Maher’s one-man show, Victory Begins at Home, premiered on Broadway. It became his sixth HBO special in 2003 and was nominated for an Emmy. The same year, Maher returned to the realm of late-night with the debut of his new HBO series Real Time with Bill Maher. Similar to Politically Incorrect, the show — hosted by Maher — gathered political and media personalities and allowed them to discuss current events.

In 2005, Maher’s HBO special, I’m Swiss, premiered. It was nominated for two Emmy Awards.

Religulous

In 2007, Maher’s eighth HB0 special, The Decider, premiered. It was subsequently nominated for an Emmy, but did not win.

In 2008, Maher finally got to star in his own feature film. Maher, an agnostic who drew fire throughout his career for attacking and often mocking organized religion, co-wrote and starred in Religulous, a non-fiction film designed to question faith. The film, which had its debut at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival, was directed by Seinfeld alum and Borat director Larry Charles.

Why is he so famous?

In the late 70s, the comedian started touring comedy clubs and making a name for himself. He did well as audiences loved his dry humor and sarcastic ramblings on politics, and he earned loads of spots on late night TV. But his break out role arrived when he impressed networks so much that he landed his own late night show, Politically Incorrect. The show aired for eight years on Comedy Central and ABC, and it wasn’t for lack of success that the show was cancelled. Maher made a humorless joke about the September 11 terrorist attacks, which caused petitions for him to step down from the show, and it was replaced with Jimmy Kimmel Live.

But Maher landed on his feet, and it’s likely that he didn’t want the show anyway if the network tried to sensor him. HBO jumped at the chance to work with Maher and gave him his own show. Very shortly after Politically Incorrectcame to an end he hosted the HBO original, Real Time with Bill Maher, which has a similar aesthetic to his previous show, but is much more heavily routed in politics with a serious edge. The show has lasted for 17 years and has just wrapped up its 18th season with over 500 episodes under its belt.

When Real Time with Bill Maher began, it seemed clear that he had learnt something after getting cancelled on ABC. That was until he got up to his old tricks by antagonising every demographic possible. It was noted that in one of the episodes in 2017, the comedian used the N word’ in one of his jokes, and though viewers called for his resignation, HBO stood by Maher. They know that stirring the pot is part of Maher’s appeal and if he didn’t cause so much controversy, he probably wouldn’t be as popular as he is.

Though the late show host has used the N word, made fun of 9/11, and criticised the existence of virtually every religion, his most famous controversy may come as a surprise and seem oddly insignificant compared to other statements he has said. Following the death of Stan Lee, the comic book king and creator of almost every Marvel superhero known to man, Maher criticised the masses of people who were mourning the writer across the world. The comedian said that, “the guy who created Spider-Man and the Hulk has died, and America is in mourning. Deep, deep mourning for a man who inspired millions to, I don’t know, watch a movie. They pretended comic books were actually sophisticated literature.” The comment caused him to literally get death threats from fans who were out for Maher’s blood.

What makes Maher so successful?

Maher has a savage approach to stand up comedy, as his jokes have punchlines that are hard to swallow, especially for more conservative audiences, but they are well crafted and completely unique to him. His TV shows have done so well because it includes the same kind of humor that fans of the comedian are used to. Both of his main shows have followed a similar format and are extremely consistent, and though he may use foul language, that has helped him outlast dozens of other vanilla TV hosts.

The comedian tries his best to expose things that he sees wrong with the world, whether it’s the current president of the United States, Mormonism, Scientology, or gun control. And though Maher’s content can be highly controversial, it is still quality content, as he has been nominated for an Emmy Award an outstanding 22 times (and holds the record for being nominated the most times without winning one), was rated one of the top 50 comedians of all time by Comedy Central, and received a star on the Hollywood walk of fame.

Real Time with Bill Maher

Though Real Time with Bill Maher premiered in February 2003 on HBO, the current events talk show really got its start in February 1993. That’s when Politically Incorrect debuted on Comedy Central.

Politically Incorrect became an overnight sensation because of host Bill Maher’s insistence that guests speak truly speak their mind about current events and hot topics. He might plug an author’s book or a celebrity’s film at the end of the show, but the other 29 minutes of the half-hour program were meant for debate.

The show introduced us to Senator Al Franken‘s political savvy (back then he was still a comedy writer) and Arianna Huffington’s way with words (back when she was more conservative).

It was also on Politically Incorrect that Republican Christine O’Donnell first admitted she dabbled in witchcraft.

Controversial cancellation

Politically Incorrect ran on Comedy Central and ABC until 2002, when it was cancelled. True to form, the cancellation came with some controversy. Shortly after the September 11th attacks on New York City, Maher was quoted

on his show saying, “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.”

Contextually, Maher condemned the terrorists and terrorist attacks regularly, but the quote took on a life of its own. He whole-heartedly apologized, explaining that he was criticizing military policy, not glorifying the terrorists.

Advertisers pulled out of the show and it floundered, eventually cancelled by ABC.

The show – with a new name, more time (now an hour long), and a shift in the format – returned a year later on HBO. Commercial- and censor-free, the show quickly found an audience and continues to be a hit for the cable network.

New show, new success

Real Time with Bill Maher debuted in February 2003. Today, the hour-long show begins with a comedy sketch, followed by Maher’s biting monologue. After the monolgue, Maher takes some time to interview a guest connected to one or more of the night’s topics – something missing from Politically Incorrect’s format.

After the interview, Maher sits with guests for one of two panel sessions. The two sessions are broken up by either a comedy bit, an interview with a pop culture figure or expert, or both. Then it’s back to the roundtable for more debate.

Maher tops off the show with two editorials, one under the title “New Rules” and the last as a kind of monologue comedy benediction.

For awhile, the show would air during short fall and spring seasons, with a winter and summer break. Today, the show continues around the calendar, though taking a long summer hiatus and a decent winter interlude. Because of its topical nature, however, reruns are not shown during the hiatus, like other talk shows.

Religulous (2008)

Religion is not an easy thing to talk about. It’s even less easy to laugh about. Comedian Bill Maher’s essay film, Religulous, manages to do both.

The movie, helmed by Curb Your Enthusiasm and Borat director Larry Charles, follows Maher around the world as he speaks to members of various faiths. He speaks to an actor playing Jesus at a Christian theme park in Orlando, Florida. He speaks to an inventor

in Israel who spends his days inventing ways to still do things like make phone calls on the Sabbath. He speaks to a Muslim rapper who argues he should be allowed to be a voice of dissent within his religion, but may not forgive that dissent in others.

Maher, a staunch agnostic, has a simple thesis: How Do We Know? He’s not out to disprove religion; he’s just out to explore how people can believe something so strongly without fully even understanding it. He points out contradictions in religious texts, or asks questions that his subjects should probably know the answers. That they don’t know the answers — and they often don’t — only makes Maher’s point for him.

Religulous is at its best when Maher is talking with people willing to talk to him, not at him. An early scene at a truck stop chapel finds Maher talking with a kind and sincere group of Christians who take the comic by surprise when he jokes that they pray for him and they do (“Thank you for being Christ-like and not just Christian,” he tells them as he leaves). It’s a real discussion, and though the truckers aren’t able to explain their beliefs to Maher’s liking, at least they’re willing to have the conversation.

Too often the movie undercuts itself by adding stock footage or subtitles to score a cheap laugh. At those moments, the movie slides into mockery of religion, and that’s not what it’s supposed to be — to me, anyway. But it’s still Maher’s show, and he’s going to have the last word.

Eventually, the movie begins to repeat itself. Person after person is subjected to Maher’s questioning, usually with the same results. The movie continues to make its point well after its already been made — just when it ought to be finding something new to say. Maher finally delivers a scathing monologue over the movie’s closing moments, suggesting that religion and certainty could bring an end to the world (through terrorism or nuclear annihilation). It’s a powerful speech, but the movie hasn’t quite earned the moment; it should have been built to, not tagged on.

Still, Religulous is an entertaining and often fascinating movie. The discussion about religion isn’t an easy one to have, and Maher doesn’t always play fair, but it’s a discussion worth having. It’s actually a pretty brave film.

I know there are those who won’t want to see Religulous, and who won’t want to hear what Maher has to say. These are people who are already certain, and don’t want to have their faith questioned. I know that, but I don’t understand it. After all, if someone’s faith is that strong, there’s no way that it should be shaken by a little movie and a comedian.

Summing-Up

Bill Maher didn’t start out as a political comedian, but now stands alongside Chris Rock and George Carlin as one of the country’s premiere comedic voices on politics. After finding success with political talk shows, Maher’s act became entirely political. As a libertarian, he’s critical of large institutions like government and religion. He often creates controversy with his shocking or outrageous commentary. Maher is a provoker, combining sharp satire with a penchant for brutal — sometimes inappropriate — honesty.

William Maher, Jr., was born in New York City in January of 1956. The son of an Irish Catholic father and Jewish mother, Maher was raised Irish Catholic in his home town of River Vale, New Jersey. He graduated from Cornell University in 1978 and, one year later, began his life as a professional stand-up comedian.

Very few people can make a living out of speaking their minds, especially those whose minds don’t conform to what people expect. But against all odds, Bill Maher has done exactly that. The comedian has literally spent 30 years in the public eye almost every day talking about things he doesn’t like and he makes millions of dollars every year. He has accrued an estimated net worth of a shocking $150 million in the process. That figure will continue to rise as HBO have renewed Real Time with Bill Maher up to 2022, and they’ll probably renew it again and again after that.

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