Bill Maher conducted a chummy interview on Real Time Friday with “likable guy” Elon Musk, with the two bonding over what they deemed to be threats to free speech and what Musk has long derided as the “woke mind virus.”
“They attack you a lot, and you seem to laugh it off, which is fantastic,” Maher opened. “I love it that you have a sense of humor, because a guy who is as important as you, who makes changes, could use your powers for evil and not good.”
Musk cheekily said that he would never do such a thing.
“I know,” Maher continued. “But the way I know that is because you have a sense of humor. You really do,” he said, contrasting Musk with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
When Musk told the HBO host that he was once in his show’s audience, Maher looked quite pleased to hear it.
“Let me get back to you being a genius,” he fawned, before holding in high regard tech leaders of the past and present, saying they’re the ones who “deal the cards.” Musk also credited tech innovations like the Gutenberg printing press and the internet for causing “big step innovations in civilization.”
Segueing from the proliferation of information to him taking ownership of Twitter, Musk explained what he means by “woke mind virus.”
“I think we need to be very cautious about anything that is anti meritocratic and anything that results in the suppression of free speech,” he said. “Almost synonymous would be cancel culture, and obviously people have tried to cancel you many times.”
“Many times. Every week,” said Maher, whose show Politically Incorrect was canceled in 2002. “From left and right. I’ve had it from both sides.”
The discussion about cancel culture and being “woke” naturally led to Maher mentioning Fox News’ ousting of Tucker Carlson, who responded via a Twitter video lamenting how few places supposedly exist for Americans “saying true things.”
Maher joked that, given Musk’s recent interview with Carlson, he hoped his appearance on Real Time wasn’t “an omen.”