Bill Maher Says He Will Likely Quit Stand-Up After His Next Special: “I Put a Lot of Time and Effort Into It”

Bill Maher may be done with stand-up comedy. The comedian said this week he believes his upcoming HBO special will be his last.

Maher revealed the news during a conversation with fellow comic Jerry Seinfeld on his Club Random podcast. Maher told his friend he felt “nervous” to tell him, “but after this year, I’m going to stop doing [stand-up],” he said.

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Seinfeld appeared shocked by the news, to which Maher said, “I don’t want to make a big announcement or something,” but noted that his upcoming special for HBO — scheduled for later this year — will be his 13th.

“That’s a lot,” Seinfeld said.

Maher agreed, and added, “I put a lot of time and effort into it. As you know, stand-up is like playing the cello. You can’t just walk up there. You have to stay in practice. And I do, I’ve always loved it. I’m always working on it. But I have a show.”

Maher has hosted Real Time With Bill Maher, his weekly talk show, since 2003, and hosted the similarly programmed Politically Incorrect for almost a decade before that. He started the Club Random podcast in 2022.

At mention of Real Time, Seinfeld told Maher, “I don’t know how you kept [stand-up performances] up during the show, or frankly, why.”

Maher responded: “Because they fed each other, it was so great, and also because I love it. I can be the loosest — the show’s great, but there’s constrictors there, [Club Random] is looser, but what’s looser than just, you people paying to see me. Even if you don’t like it, you kind of have to laugh.”

What will he do with all the new spare time? “If I don’t have to practice the cello eight hours a day, I might want to do some of these kinds of things [Club Random] live,” Maher said. “That’s kind of an interesting option that people do nowadays. It’s kind of an event.”

Whatever his future plans may be, Maher left his departure from stand-up open-ended: “After 40 years, that’s why I don’t want to make an announcement like, ‘This is my final —'” he said. “I might change my mind. It might be like cutting off a limb, and I have to go back to it.”

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