Real Time with Bill Maher won’t air on HBO this week after host Bill Maher tested positive for the coronavirus. Despite being asymptomatic and vaccinated, Maher still tested positive at HBO’s pre-testing ahead of the weekly show.
This Friday’s guests were set to be Neil deGrasse Tyson as the top of the show guest, while Max Brooks and Dan Carlin were set to be part of the show’s panel. The cancellation is just a precaution at the moment, according to a statement by HBO.
“The Friday, May 14th taping of Real Time with Bill Maher has been cancelled. Bill tested positive during weekly staff PCR testing for COVID. He is fully vaccinated and as a result is asymptomatic and feels fine. Real Time production has taken every precaution following COVID CDC guidelines. No other staff or crew members have tested positive at this time. The show will be rescheduled at a later date,” the statement says.
Maher posted a tweet after the story made headlines, comparing himself to Baltimore Orioles Hall of Famer Cal Ripken and his record-setting streak. “Thanks to all wishing me get well – hard to do since I feel perfectly fine, but I appreciate it! Most upset about ending my streak going back to 1993 of never missing a Politically Incorrect or Real Time episode. Oh well, even Cal Ripken had to sit one out at some point.”
Bill Maher is fully vaccinated and just got CoVid. Imma still wear a mask. https://t.co/T3gpCreUQk
— loripetty (@loripetty) May 14, 2021
People immediately took to social media to weigh in on the positive test and the circumstances behind it, including a few who wanted to make some jokes at Maher’s expense. “Man. Bill Maher just tested positive for COVID and the tweets are so brutal already I have to log off and watch a Disney movie,” one user wrote on Twitter. “Have to admit it’s a lil funny that the day Tom Hanks got Covid the government was like SHUT IT ALL DOWN NOW but the day Bill Maher got it they were like ‘you don’t have to wear masks anymore whatever who cares,'” @Midnight co-creator Alex Blagg wrote.
Many actually did take Maher’s positive test and diagnosis as a sign that the CDC announcement on Thursday could’ve been pre-mature. Some made it clear that they’ll continue to wear masks despite the CDC recommendation. Maher’s show will likely be back week, but the impact of this cancellation seems to be somewhat greater than his streak.