Bill Maher tackles religion in his documentary Religulous. He takes religious leaders and plain old believers to task on what he sees as an irrational hysteria.
Bill Maher Gets Religulous
"This is a subject that has fascinated me my whole life," Maher said. "Especially as a comedian because when you're a comedian, you're always looking for those moments in life where what people say is at variance with what they do. That's where the laughs are, in that gap. That's why politics is such a rich source of laughs because people say one thing and then they turn out to be hypocritical to another. Religion of course, that gap is just a mile wide. I mean, literally part the Red Sea. So it's always been a subject that's fascinated me and made me want to explore it and learn more about it."
To help make his point, Maher enlisted Borat director Larry Charles, who put the comedian through the ringer. "Getting up in the morning and traveling, staying in sh*tty hotels and eating bad food. I was 51 years old when we embarked on this. I wasn't some kid who was cool with backpacking across Europe. I did that once, 30 years ago. So I'm not someone who likes to get jarred out of my comfortable station in life. To be on the road for two and a half months in this guerilla kind of movie shooting mode that Larry Charles is so brilliant at being the leader of, it was difficult for me. I have no desire to do that again, to get up at six in the morning and wear makeup all day and all that kind of stuff."
Maher insists Religulous is his last movie. "People say, 'Oh, is this a new career for you? Are you going to be making more documentaries?' NO. I had one subject that I wanted to harpoon. It was my Moby Dick. I think I harpooned him and that's it. I made my point. Good night."
Even though the subject of religion continues to evolve, Maher is done. "I don't think there's a day that goes by where I don't read something or learn something about religion that I think, 'Oh, I could've put that in the movie. Oh, that would be a great point.' So I could keep making this movie my whole life, BUT I'M NOT GOING TO. Like I said, I did it. Point made, good night."