Bill Maher: Americans respect British accents because deep down we know we're a fundamentally unserious nation

"Therein lies our 'special relationship' with England -- they have the gravitas, we have the swag"


Scott Eric Kaufman
May 16, 2015 4:33PM (UTC)

Bill Maher concluded Friday night's episode of "Real Time" by mocking the American reliance on British accents to "convey gravitas," pointing to the fact that in film, it doesn't matter if you're Achilles, Noah's wife, Obi-Wan Kenobi, or a Nazi -- if a directer wants the audience to take you seriously, you'll be speaking in a British accent.

"Our reliance on the British accent to convey gravitas is kind of our way of admitting that we know we’re not really a serious people," Maher said. "We drink wine out of boxes. We invented Mormonism. Our best-selling author is Bill O’Reilly. Most Americans don’t know that 'The Big Bang Theory' is also a theory." He rattled off a list of "childish stuff" that defines us as Americans, like climate change denial, pajama jeans, and the Palin family.

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"We know us," he continued. "We know we're the ones who gave the world Kim Kardashian's giant ass -- by which I mean, Kanye West. And therein lies our 'special relationship' with England. They have the gravitas, we have the swag."

"We have the air craft carriers, but they have the guy who knows a sentence needs a subject and an object," he said next to an image of Tony Blair and George W. Bush. "That war sounded a whole lot better coming out of Tony Blair's mouth -- which is why the British accent is dangerous."

"It should always come with a warning: 'This movie isn't really that profound,' 'This reality show judge isn't really that smart,' [and] 'This war isn't really a good idea.'"

Watch the enitre "Brit for Brains" bit via "Real Time" below.


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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Bill Maher British Accents Kanye West Kim Kardashian Noah Real Time With Bill Maher Star Wars Troy Video

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