Liberal comedian Bill Maher on Friday discouraged joking about conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh in light of the latter recently disclosing his diagnosis with lung cancer.
The host of “Real Time with Bill Maher” spoke out against mocking individuals who are sick or recently deceased during the online-only “Overtime” segment of his weekly HBO show.
He acknowledged being guilty of previously insulting the dead, however, having excoriated late Republican megadonor David Koch within hours of his death several months earlier.
“Wow, was I mean,” Mr. Maher said about mocking Koch. “But he was already dead. I didn’t think he could hear it, and I don’t think his family’s watching.”
“Yes, I’m not a Rush Limbaugh fan,” Mr. Maher added. “He did some terrible things. But I’m not going to do jokes about that.”
Mr. Maher, 64, subsequently proceeded to recall how Mr. Limbaugh, 69, came to his defense amid facing criticism for remarks he made following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“He defended me after 9/11. Rush Limbaugh did. And I never forgot it,” Mr. Maher continued. “And maybe that’s — we could just pull back a little on the dead people and the sick people. How about that as a start? Everybody, what do you think? Let’s not be s–-ting on people who are not cold yet.”
Mr. Limbaugh, who has hosted a syndicated radio show for more than three decades, revealed during Monday’s broadcast that he has been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.
He was invited afterward by President Trump to attend his State of the Union address Tuesday, where he was bestowed with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
Mr. Maher previously defended Mr. Limbaugh in 2012 when the radio host came under fire for smearing a women’s rights activist by calling her a “slut” and “prostitute.”
“Can we put this in perspective?” Mr. Maher said at the time “No one died. A guy made a bad joke.”
More recently, Mr. Maher faced criticism last summer for deriding Koch the day after he died at the age of 79 following a fight with prostate cancer.
“I’m glad he’s dead and I hope the end was painful,” Mr. Maher said about Koch in September. Right-wing media figures including Fox News personalities Greg Gutfeld and Sean Hannity accordingly slammed Mr. Maher for being a “needy phony” and “mean-spirited jackass,” respectively.