Professional troll Milo Yiannopoulos appeared Friday night on HBO’s Real Time, after days of build-up that host Bill Maher would savage him on air.
But that didn’t happen. The incendiary right-wing author got along just fine with Maher, who was exceedingly civil throughout. “I think you’re colossally wrong on a number of things. But if I banned everyone from my show who I thought was colossally wrong, I would be talking to myself,” Maher said to him.
Yiannopoulos said “All I care about is free speech and free expression. I want people to be able to be, do and say anything. These days, you’re right, that’s a conservative issue.”
Maher gave his viewers some simple advice. “Stop taking the bait, liberals,” he said, noting that Yiannopoulos is just a guy saying some words. And to the 32-year-old agitator, he said: “This is the beginning of your career. People are only just starting to hate you.”
But then Maher brought his guests on. One was the unfunny comedian Larry Wilmore, and another was former U.S. intelligence officer Malcolm Nance. Wilmore went after Yiannpopoulos. “I just think it’s sad, because the same arguments that were used against gay people, treating them like aliens who wanted to fuck anything that moved and that’s why we should avoid them at all costs, are being used [against the trans community].”
Yiannopoulos tried to respond but Wilmore cut him off. “Well, let me finish my thought, please. No, It’s terrible. There’s a difference without a distinction, because it’s using the type of arguments. It’s like when people try to compare gay and black. Yeah, they’re not the same thing. We shared invisibility. People didn’t see us in society, and gay people hid out from society, but there were a lot of the same issues that you have to deal with when you’re marginalized.”
“You can always find an extreme person that becomes the object of your attack to assign that to everybody,” he continued. “So if you say, well that person is ‘weird’ or they want to commit sexual assault, then people think all transgender people want to do is commit sexual assault.”
Always the good troll, after the diatribe, Yiannopoulos said to Maher: “You always invite such awful people on your show. They’re so stupid. You need to start inviting higher IQ guests or this is going to be a disaster.”
Wilmore, fully trolled, couldn’t take it. “You can go f*ck yourself, all right?”
A few minutes later, Yiannopoulos trolled Nance, saying he preferred Russian spies to Saudis. Nance asked him, “Are you American?”
“No, he’s not American,” Maher said.
“Oh! F*ck off,” Nance said.
Ah, a wonderful debate about substantive issues.