Bill Maher Petitions Obama to Appear on 'Real Time With Bill Maher'

Janet Van Ham/HBO

"Let's just say our invitation has gotten lost in the mail for seven years, which would be OK except for the fact that in that time, this president has done virtually every other show in the known universe."

Bill Maher turns 60 on Jan. 20 and is asking his Real Time With Bill Maher audience to help make a milestone wish come true.

On Friday evening's episode, Maher addressed the viewers of his late-night show in a nine-and-a-half minute monologue to sign a petition to have President Barack Obama on the program before his final year in office ends. "On the occasion of this milestone birthday, I would like to make a request of you, my wonderful, loyal audience, which I must point out I have never done before," Maher began. "I don't burden the audience with my personal shit."

He went on to explain that in the 23 years of being on air with two shows on three networks, he has gone through health issues, tragedies, deaths in the family, but "it never felt right to burden the audience with any of it" — until now.

"Other shows are always begging the audience every five minutes to 'like us. Like me, please. Like me,'" Maher said of fellow late-night programs. "I would never ask you to be our unpaid intern and publicity department. I'm old-school show business. You're not here for me. I'm here for you.

"My point is, I'm not overdrawn at the favor bank, but now that I'm 60, I better make a withdrawal soon. So yes, there is something I want you guys to help me with, and it's this: Before he leaves office, I want to get President Obama on this show," he told audiences before quipping about why the POTUS has yet to appear on the program. "Let's just say our invitation has gotten lost in the mail for seven years, which would be OK except for the fact that in that time, this president has done virtually every other show in the known universe."

Maher joked that the President has done more than just late-night programming and special-interest shows, listing and describing numerous non-news programs on which Obama has been a guest. "Sean Penn can get an interview with El Chapo, but I can't get on the president who talked to the lady with the green lips?! So I just want to know, why not us?

"I'm curious because I would hate to think that I have to always agree with you on everything to get into the club, when actually I have been pretty damn supportive," Maher said before clips of him vocally supporting Obama on his program were shown.

Maher addressed the President directly, asking Obama to tell him exactly why it is that he hasn't been a guest on the late-night host's program. "There could be no better audience for this president," he said. "Our viewers are informed. They are engaged, and they're smart enough to steal cable.

"So now, for my big 6-0, I would like to ask my friend, the audience, this one favor," Maher continued. "As it turns out, it is the policy of the Obama administration that if the White House receives a petition signed by 100,000 people in 30 days — you see where I'm going with this — they have to address it. So please, go to the We the People petitions," he instructed his audience.

The petition, titled "Ask President Obama to Appear on HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher," includes the following description:

Herewith, on the occasion of Bill Maher’s 60th birthday, we the people, especially viewers of Real Time With Bill Maher, respectfully request that President Obama appear on Real Time and thereby honor that particular audience (and their support for him), as he has so honored the viewers of so many other TV shows and media outlets; or if not, to please, respectfully, tell us why.

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