TV Picks: You know we will be tuned in to HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” which continues its 13th season Friday, Jan. 30 (10:00-11:00 p.m. live ET/tape-delayed PT), with a replay at 11:00 p.m.
Maher begins with a monologue and unique perspective on contemporary issues, the show then features an opening interview and then roundtable discussions with panelists, and subsequent interviews with guests throughout the show.
Documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras is the top-of-show interview guest. Humorist Mel Brooks is the mid-show interview guest. The roundtable guests are Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro, anchor Katty Kay and journalist Monica Mehta.
Laura Poitras brings “CITIZENFOUR,” her unprecedented look into the events surrounding Edward Snowden’s famous instance of whistleblowing to light in her new film. Edward Snowden is arguably the most famous whistleblower of the twenty-first century. For the first time ever, he bares all in Laura Poitras’ “CITIZENFOUR,” a look at the events surrounding his unauthorized release of classified NSA documents. This no miss documentary, which is also a subtle examination of Snowden’s motivations. Poitras’ direction is a chilling reveal of the U.S. government by way of a character study with a thriller-like pace.
“This felt like the most dangerous work I had ever done, and I’ve been in conflict in war zones,” Poitras says in an interview:
In an upcoming HBO special, “Mel Brooks Live at the Geffen,” this poignant and charming one man show captures Brooks entire life, packed with anecdotes, songs, jokes and even a Q&A with audience members.
Brooks, 88, was also the creative (with Buck Henry) who brought the classic TV comedy “Get Smart” to the smallscreen, a show sly in un-PC jabs at our American allies and enemies with a combo of pitch-perfect sight gags and written dialogue. During the special, which premieres at 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31 on HBO, he talks about a 70-year career which put him in the EGOT club, a winner of television’s Emmy, the recording industry’s Grammy, film’s Oscar and Broadway’s Tony awards. Brooks’ Oscar is for the screenplay of his brilliant 1968 film with Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, “The Producers.” One of the three Grammys is for his “2000 Year Old Man” collaboration with buddy Carl Reiner. Three of the four Emmys are for his guest appearances on “Mad About You.” And the three Tonys are for the 2001 musical version of “The Producers.”
Politico has hailed Maher as “a pugnacious debater and a healthy corrective to the claptrap of cable news,” while Monsters and Critics noted Maher as “a singular voice of pragmatic reason in a landscape of polarized pussies.”
In an unprecedented move, Maher visited Washington, D.C. for two live hour-long shows, presented back-to-back without a break, last September, hosting a new edition of REAL TIME, followed by the stand-up special “Bill Maher: Live from D.C.”
Maher headlined his first special on the network in 1989 and has starred in ten solo specials to date, including the hour-long presentations “Bill Maher…But I’m Not Wrong,” “The Decider” and “I’m Swiss” (both nominated for an Emmy® in the Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special category), “Victory Begins at Home,” “Be More Cynical,” “The Golden Goose Special” and “Stuff That Struck Me Funny,” and two half-hour stand-up specials, plus the specials “30 Seconds Over Washington” and “Comic Relief VI™.” Maher is also an executive producer of the innovative news magazine show “VICE,” which concluded its second season on HBO in 2014 and returns this year.
Maher was the creator and host of “Politically Incorrect,” which was produced by HBO Downtown Productions and debuted on Comedy Central in 1993. The series moved to ABC in 1997 and ran through 2002. He also produced and starred in the 2008 feature film “Religulous,” the seventh most successful documentary of all time.
Other HBO playdates: Feb. 1 (1:00 p.m.), 2 (1:30 a.m.), 3 (5:15 p.m.) and 4 (11:00 p.m.)
HBO2 playdates: Jan. 30 (2:30 a.m.) and 31 (10:15 a.m., 12:30 a.m.), and Feb. 1 (7:00 p.m.), 2 (8:00 p.m.) and 3 (10:00 p.m.)