Bill Maher issued an apology Saturday for his offensive remark on "Real Time with Bill Maher." The liberal comedian, who has a penchant for crossing lines, said he was sorry for calling himself the n-word while interviewing Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse.
"Friday nights are always my worst night of sleep because I'm up reflecting on the things I should or shouldn't have said on my live show," Maher said in a statement. "Last night was a particularly long night as I regret the word I used in the banter of a live moment. The word was offensive, and I regret saying it and am very sorry."
Maher ignited a firestorm late Friday for his unnecessary joke about slavery. Sasse, who feigned a smile as the "Real Time" audience mostly responded to the joke with an awkward silence, took to Twitter Saturday to apologize for not checking Maher for his language.
The joke elicited a stern response from HBO, which called Maher's comment "inexcusable and tasteless."
"Bill Maher’s comment last night was completely inexcusable and tasteless," HBO said in a statement. "We are removing his deeply offensive comment from any subsequent airings of the show.”
On social media, people called on HBO to cancel Maher's show.
Maher has cultivated a cult following, in part, for his disregard of political correctness. His comment came during a sensitive time for political commentators on TV. Online campaigns boycotting advertisers of TV shows have targeted Fox News' Sean Hannity and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow.