9:50am PT by Kate Stanhope
Al Franken Books 'Real Time' Return After N-Word Boycott
Al Franken is returning to Real Time.
More than a month after bowing out of his appearance on Bill Maher's show over the host's highly criticized use of the N-word, the Democratic senator is set as Bill Maher's top-of-the-show guest on Friday's episode.
Franken was last set to appear on the June 9 edition of the long-running HBO series. However, after Maher used the N-word in what many deemed to be an inappropriate way on his June 2 episode, Franken pulled out of his planned appearance and has not appeared on Real Time since.
“Senator Franken believes that what Bill Maher said was inappropriate and offensive, which is why he made the decision not to appear on the next episode of Real Time,” the senator's spokesperson said at the time. The statement continues, “He was glad to see Bill, whom the senator considers to be a good friend, apologize and express sincere regret for his comment.”
At the time, HBO also issued a strongly worded statement criticizing Maher's language: "Bill Maher’s comment last night was completely inexcusable and tasteless. We are removing his deeply offensive comment from any subsequent airings of the show."
In the June 9 episode, Maher issued a lengthy apology for his comment. "I did a bad thing," he said at the time. "For black folks, that word — I don't care who you are — it's caused pain. It doesn't matter that it was not said in malice, it caused pain, and that's why I apologized. I'm not that big of an asshole."
"We're all evolving," continued Maher. "Yes, it was wrong, and I own up to that. It happened, and it was wrong. People make mistakes, we're all sinners."
Other guests for Friday's show include Penn Jillette, Gavin Newsom and Amy Holmes.