Bill Maher lashes out at anti-vaxx accusations: "I’ve never argued that vaccines don’t work. I just don’t think you need them"

UPDATED: And 7 other contentious quotes from Maher's recent Playboy interview

Published April 14, 2015 8:17PM (EDT)

Bill Maher                         (HBO/Janet Van Ham)
Bill Maher (HBO/Janet Van Ham)

This post has been updated.

Playboy's long-running interview column is often a place where subjects feel free to run their mouths a little — right, Gary Oldman? — and as you'd expect, Bill Maher does not hold back. In the latest issue's interview, conducted by contributing editor David Hochman, the polemical "Real Time" host sounds off on all sorts of contentious issues, from sex and vaccines to Obama and radical Islam. Here are eight of the juiciest quotes, or you can read the full interview over at Playboy.

On vaccines:

“I’ve never argued that vaccines don’t work. I just don’t think you need them. There are so many maladies now that used to be rare and now are much more prevalent—things like allergies, ADD, asthma, migraines, autoimmune disorders, chronic fatigue, colitis, more colds. I’m not saying vaccines cause any of them, but the modern immune system might be less robust than it used to be because it doesn’t get its full workout going through a disease like the measles. I’m glad vaccines exist, just like I’m glad antibiotics exist, but we’ve abused the hell out of them. Bugs that no antibiotic works on anymore? I worry about that a lot more.”

On Americans’ puritanical attitudes to sex:

“We pride ourselves on being a modern country, but we are big f**king babies when it comes to sex. Puritanism is one of those dominoes that have to fall, along with pot and gay marriage. The way the media and the population respond to these so-called sex scandals, I mean, Jesus! Celebrity sex videos, sexting scandals, Eliot Spitzer, Bill Clinton, slut-shaming from the left and the right. People! Eliot Spitzer made a mistake, a private mistake, and we’ve exiled him. He’s a brilliant guy who is now toxic? This is horsesh*t. More than any other Democrat, he went after Wall Street, which is much more important than this nonsense about who he’s f**king. He can’t have a place in public life anymore because he was with a prostitute? This is what I mean about stupidity. Sex has nothing to do with job performance. It’s nobody’s business.”

On pornography nowadays:

"Today, the stuff kids have access to is fucking unbelievable. The idea that you can sit in the backseat on the way to school with an iPhone and watch six Japanese businessmen coming on the face of a girl who has a squid up her vagina—I mean, Jesus! These kids must be so jaded. We should be afraid. What does it do to relationships, how you relate to a girl? That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have watched that stuff if it was around when I was a kid."

On radical Islam:

“My reaction once again was that if there are this many bad apples, there’s something wrong with the orchard. The fact remains that Islam is a uniquely intolerant and violent religion at this point in our history. The vast, vast, vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists. But here’s the point people don’t bring up: They’re not terrorists, but they share some very bad ideas with terrorists, and bad ideas lead to bad behavior.”

“At this point we probably need to take out a few bad people. But the long-term solution to radical Islam is to let them have the civil war they need to have between themselves. Let the people who want to walk into the 21st century stand up against the people who want to stay in the seventh century. They need to take out their own trash.”

On Obama:

"You sometimes hear people, even Democrats, say, ‘I’m tired of Obama because he didn’t live up to his promises.’ I say, ‘Are you sure about that? Maybe they just didn’t cover it on TMZ.’ Because Obama is slowly going down the list: Cuba, gay marriage and, I’m hoping before he leaves, pot. He’s trying to finish strong. Obama should be a better bragger. He needs to start acting like he won the last election instead of lost it. If the Republicans had his record, they’d be riding it like a f**kin’ wild bronco into the 2016 election. Their attitude would be, Why even have an election? We’ve tripled the stock market, unemployment is below six percent, 10 million more people have health insurance, the auto industry is back on its feet. Oh, and he averted a depression.”

On gun-owning:

"I do not love my gun. That’s the f**king problem with these Second Amendment people. They love guns. For them, it’s not just that guns should be available; it’s that they’re seen as awesome. We live in gun country, even in Los Angeles. I’m not expecting anything to happen, but I want to be ready for it. So I have a lot of security measures at my house. If somebody gets into my bedroom, wow, they really did a lot to get there. They got past gates, bodyguards, dogs. If I have to shoot somebody in my bedroom, that was a commando raid on par with the SEALs getting Bin Laden. My gun is my last line of defense.”

On Bill Cosby:

“I was not shocked. In the early to med-1980s I did a movie. There was an attractive young black actress in the movie who told me she had just come off a film with Mr. Cosby, and she said, ‘He tried to f**k me the first two weeks, and when it became clear it wouldn’t happen he made every day thereafter a living hell.’ I had no reason to doubt it. We had no relationship; she was just telling me. And that always stuck in my mind. Since this sh*t has come to light, you talk to people who have had dealings with Bill Cosby, and it comes out not that he drugged some girl but that he did some super f**ked-up sh*t. He’s a crazy f**ker, is what he is. What is it, 30 women accusing him now? He could turn out to be the biggest serial rapist in history. Also, I never thought he was funny.”

On why he hasn't burnt out, like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert:

"I don’t know that they burned out so much as wanted to try something new. It also might be that those are two very bright guys, and maybe the shows they were doing just weren’t challenging for them after a while. Mine is still an enormous challenge: I do an hour that’s live—live!—and goes from a stand-up comedy monologue to a serious newsmaker interview to a political panel discussion to a celebrity one-on-one interview, with no commercial breaks to reset. I don’t think there’s a workout like that anywhere else on TV, and if that doesn’t keep you engaged, nothing will. I get off on challenging the conventional wisdom, not just from the right but from the left as well. My entire youth I dreamed of nothing but being Johnny Carson, but that kind of show would drive me nuts now. Too easy. I like being on the high wire."

By Anna Silman

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Bill Maher Interview Playboy Real Time With Bill Maher