Live TV ruckus: Bill Maher kicks out protesters during show - VIDEO
By Stone Martindale Oct 20, 2007, 16:00 GMT
Bill Maher - © Lee Roth / RothStock / PR Photos
Last night's live feed of "Real Time With Bill Maher" was an unscripted wild ride, as host Bill Maher jumped into action as a group of people in the audience disrupted his show.
Maher helped security give the boot to a rowdy protester from the studio of his weekly HBO show "Real Time with Bill Maher" on Friday night, and it was all captured on live television.
Maher was talking science during one of his weekly panel discussions when a protester in his audience stood, held up a smuggled-in sign reading "9/11 is a cover up fraud" and shouted comments to the same effect.
The host tried to shout down the audience member, who only became more agitated.
"Do we have some f***ing security in this building," Maher yelled, "or do I have to come down there and kick his a**?"
When security reached the man's aisle and he resisted, Maher jumped out of his seat and ran into the audience and helped them push him out the door, shouting "Out! Out! Out!"
Several other protesters, sprinkled throughout the audience, then stood up and shouted.
"This isn't the Iowa Caucus, OK, we're not here to debate," Maher shouted with most of his audience cheering him on. "This is the problem with live television."
The incident was shown live on the East Coast, and the network appeared to show the entire affair unedited for the taped-delayed West Coast version.
After the instigators were ejected, Maher told his panelists — MSNBC's Chris Matthews, Los Angeles Times columnist Joel Stein and Congresswoman Sheila Lee Jackson — that they often linger outside his studio to share 9/11 conspiracy theories with him and try to get into the show.
"This time I'm with Bush on this one," said Maher. "It's the only time I defend President Bush," he said.
"I'm thinking about firing my audience department," he added.
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and wife Elizabeth had been in the studio for an interview before the panel discussion and dustup.
Elizabeth Edwards was shown in the audience after her husband's interview, but it was not clear whether she remained in the seats during the incident.
At the end of the show, an normally smiling Maher was visibly livid and upset still. He could be made out saying "I'm sorry" to his guests.