I’ve seen many leftist comedians over the years in Las Vegas, most times they are fun and enjoyable, and they can even be entertaining. I enjoy listening to all sides, and working in newsrooms for many years allowed me to hear plenty of divergent opinions. It was in this spirit that I joined friends to see Bill Maher perform at The Pearl at The Palms on Saturday Night. I went with low expectations. I just didn’t know how low he would go.
You may recall the Republican candidate for vice-president in 2008, Sarah Palin has a special needs son. I have interviewed Palin about her son, and with a 27 year old special needs son of my own, we have a common bond. Politics aside, that bond is strong with all parents of special needs children. I drop off my son, Troy, at Opportunity Village in Las Vegas every day. It’s a work place for adults with special needs where they contribute to society. It is a marvelous charity and every time I am there I can feel the wonderful spirit of those who work within. Yes, I am passionate about this.
Maher chose to make a joke about Palin’s son, Trig and in the process he used the “R” word to describe this 5 year old special needs boy. Of course, since Trig is Palin’s son, he is a target of the left. Special needs be damned, there are jokes to be made by “caring compassionate” liberals. I was so disgusted and a bit surprised that I forgot the exact joke. Perhaps he saves this joke for live audiences only. The audience of more supposed compassionate, caring leftists loved the joke and roared with laughter.
The crowd reaction was perhaps the most disturbing part of all this, it also surprised me. While a joke about a 5 year old child with Down Syndrome is about as low as you can go, I don’t want comedians to be forced to be “politically correct” in their humor. Maher will say what he wants to say and he will always claim some sort of moral high road and friendly media will always give it to him. But that doesn’t mean I have to sit there and take it.
I was in the back of the room with friends (who got me my ticket and asked me to go – so no, I didn’t pay) and moved closer to the stage, but was still sitting a good ways back. At that point, Maher made a joke about Halliburton (you remember Halliburton, don’t you? Think way back to a decade ago) and still disgusted, I blurted out, “It’s 2013 Bill, you might want to update your material.” That was as much a comment on him using the “R” word as it was about him using old material. Supposed “progressives” are apparently comfortable living back in the day when the “R” word was used regularly on those with special needs. Maher heard me and responded back. Security approached me and asked me to be quiet—I gladly left The Pearl at The Palms. If they want to call it “kicked out,” I’ll go with that and wear it proudly, kicked out after I spoke up because I don’t like anybody treating people with special needs as targets.
By the way, I don’t think Maher minded my comments. Most comedians like some of that stuff when they are performing live. As a sports reporter, having done “live shots” in hostile territory I have been subjected to much worse and there was never security around.
My question today is the same one I had that night: I wonder if management at The Palms is comfortable with special needs children being used as targets for humor in their shows. Perhaps they are. So be it. They should be made to answer. If Palms management is comfortable with joke like these, I will gladly never return to their property.
I will also always be glad to stand up for those, who many times, have no voice.