Al Franken Bows Out of ‘Real Time’ Amidst Controversy

In this photo provided by HBO, Bill Maher hosts the season premiere of "Real Time with Bill Maher" Friday, Jan. 18, 2013. (AP Photo/HBO, Janet Van Ham)

Senator Al Franken was set to promote his new book, Al Franken: Giant of the Senate on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher this coming Friday. That was until last Friday’s bombshell. During an interview segment with Republican Senator of Nebraska, Ben Sasse, the late-night talk show host dropped an “N-bomb,” that rocked the national audience.

In reference to Sasse inviting Maher to come to Nebraska and “work in the fields,” Maher responded jokingly that he was a “house n-word.” This was in reference to the slur used by Larry Wilmore at President Barack Obama’s White House Correspondence Dinner two years ago. Wilmore, a black man, elicited a much different (less startling yet still controversial) response.

The infamous incident.

Maher immediately sensed the awkward tension as a delayed, nervous laughter filled his studio. The next day, the comic issued a statement stating the comment was, “completely inexcusable and tasteless” and “deeply offensive.” The comment has been edited out of future airings.

Senator Al Franken

Senator Al Franken, who is an alum of Saturday Night Live and a friend of Maher said in an e-mailed statement through his rep to Huffington Post that he was happy to see Maher, “who the Senator considers to be a good friend, apologize and express sincere regret for his comment.”

Franken also pulled out of a recent appearance with Kathy Griffin following her controversial photoshoot with what appeared to a bloodied, beheaded President Donald Trump.

Real Time with Bill Maher will air as scheduled on Friday, with a new guest to be determined.

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