Bill Maher’s Long Feud with Howard Stern

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Videos by Rare

Videos by Rare

Bill Maher and Howard Stern are famous for saying, well, just about whatever they want. So it’s no surprise the comedians have clashed over the years. For years, Maher and Stern feuded although they patched things up around 2019 — when Stern debuted his newly therapized identity to the world.

However, in a recent episode of his Club Random podcast, Maher revealed it’s not all rosy. He said Stern is “paranoid” and a “germaphobe” in the wake of the pandemic.

The Feud

Bill Maher and Howard Stern used to be buddies. Throughout the 1990s, Maher appeared on The Howard Stern Show regularly. But when Maher lost his popular ABC show Politically Incorrect, things soured between them.

In a now-famous incident, Maher was mass-canceled over his comments about 9/11 just days after the attack. Speaking to his guest Dinesh D’Souza, Maher said: “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. Not cowardly.” Immediately, advertisers began boycotting his show and ABC declined to renew Maher’s contract in 2002.

And Stern, too, sided against Maher. Rather than sticking up for his buddy or inviting him back to his radio show, the so-called King of Media doubled down against Maher. They stopped speaking and in 2013, Maher revived the feud publicly, singling Stern out during the “New Rules” segment on Real Time. While speaking about the crisis in Syria, Maher added that Stern wanted to “bomb any Muslim country” as payback for 9/11. In turn, Stern hit back on his own show, repeating Maher’s old “cowardly” comments and putting the comedian down. “Why don’t you move to f*cking Iran if you feel that way?” Stern said.

In 2017, Maher told Esquire: “I’ve never forgiven [Howard Stern.] He has that nest of vipers.”

But in 2019, Maher did. At least, mostly.

Making Up

Howard Stern’s character made a full 180° with the release of his memoir, Howard Stern Comes Again. Released in 2019, the book reflects on some of Stern’s favorite interviews from over the years, interspersed with autobiographical chapters. And when Stern appeared on all the typical late-night shows to plug his project, he struck a decidedly chiller tone than we’re used to from the controversial shock jock.

Stern was open and candid about his childhood — his mother was depressed and his father, withholding — and a cancer scare, after which he sought psychotherapy. It was life-changing for Stern, who learned quickly to open up and get deep. In an interview with Stephen Colbert, linked above, Stern admits that he even began to crave the attention of therapy. And listening to him speak, it does sound like there’s been a change. He sounds more down to earth.

He admits to making many mistakes in his interviews over the years, including with Rosie O’Donnell, Robin Williams and Gilda Radnor — remember when he made her cry? But he’s been trying to make amends. Stern said he’s called many celebrities to apologize. And apparently, Bill Maher was one of them.

Stern visited Maher on Real Time in 2019, which surprised many fans who were aware of the vicious feud. Obviously, Maher and Stern had made up before the interview. Maher brought up a conversation they’d recently had at Jerry Seinfeld’s Christmas party; apparently Stern had promised to Maher’s show which Maher recognized was a big — and symbolic — move.

“I’m very happy we got to be friends again, because I swear to God… there’s only two sane people left in America and it’s be and [you.] I invariably agree with you on everything,” Maher said. And Stern agreed. He said he regretted not talking for so long.

See that cordial interview below.

‘Club Random’

Last spring, Bill Maher launched his first podcast: Club Random. In each episode, Maher interviews a different celebrity and they talk about everything — except politics. And the conversations get pretty personal.

In a recent interview with the author Sam Harris, Maher divulged rare information about his relationship with Howard Stern. It started off on a positive note: “Howard Stern and I… for years there was animosity. We got back together like two lost lovers. And we had just repaired this relationship and we’re having this beautiful friendship.” That definitely sounds like the type of reunion we saw on Real Time in 2019.

But then Maher continued: “Now, I think I’ll never see him again.” Apparently, Stern is too hung up on COVID to socialize. And it’s really bugging Maher. “I still love him and I hope he still loves me, but he is, in my view, a germophobe. I think he would admit [it], it’s pretty obvious,” Maher said. “People have the right to be whatever level of scared they are of germs. I can’t live in that world. I don’t want to… I can’t live in your paranoid world.”

Maher has long been vocal about his frustrations with COVID protocol so it’s not a very surprising stance. But it marks another sad development in this years-long feud.

See Maher’s full interview with Sam Harris below:

Read More: When Howard Stern Made Gilda Radner Cry On-Air

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