In an era where “cancel culture” continuously affects the lives and careers of many celebrities, Bill Maher is honoring those willing to fight back. While awards shows like the Oscars, Emmys, and Tonys will acknowledge one’s talents in performing, Maher’s new “Cojones Awards” will acknowledge the people who refuse to be canceled. Maher introduced the new award, which he says he’ll be keeping up every year, with a segment on Friday night’s edition of Real Time. You can watch the segment in full below.
Maher says in the segment that the idea came from attending a Hollywood party with practically every A-lister present. He explains that they talked about doing something like the Cojones Awards, but it ultimately amounted to nothing more than talk. But Maher says he thought it was still a great idea, leading to having it serve as a new annual segment on Real Time. He then went on to honor multiple people with Cojones Awards, starting with the President of Cornell University, Martha Pollack. Pollack had come under fire for her refusal to add “trigger warnings” to all of the planned lectures that were coming up at the university, no matter how much some of the students had pressured her to do so.
“She just said, ‘No, college is for introducing you to new ideas, not for kissing your ass and making you feel wonderful and always right… you’re thinking of brunch with your parents,'” Maher says.
The funnyman then gives the next Cojones Award to the retail store Trader Joe’s. Maher explains how the store had often introduced ethnically-themed products that usually put a spin on the Trader Joe’s brand name. He then cites the Trader José beer they had sold, which prompted some accusations of racism from the Twitter crowd. Maher jokes that while people may have wanted the owner to burn down “all their stores,” the company instead refused to pull the product.
“They said, ‘F*** off, you over sensitive little sh*ts,'” Maher said with his interpretation of the company’s statement noting they don’t make decisions based on online petitions.
Bill Maher Has Had It With Cancel Culture
The third award of the night went to Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos. This relates to the controversy over Dave Chappelle’s comedy specials, which many had wanted to be removed from the streaming platform because of jokes about the LGBTQ+ community. Even with company employees walking out in that particular situation, Sarandos stood by Chappelle, keeping the specials streaming and continuing to work with the comedian on other projects. Maher offered great praise to how Sarandos told the upset employees in a memo that maybe Netflix “may not be the best place” for them to work.
“So, for making the phrase, ‘Don’t let the door hit you on the ass’ never sound better, this is for you, Ted,” Maher says.
Finally, Maher commented on the controversy involving the film Tropic Thunder. For years, some online have called the movie inappropriate, in part due to Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of a white actor going method as a Black man. Maher liked how director Ben Stiller tweeted in February how he makes no apologies for the film, and that earned him the final Cojones Award of the night.
“See, people, it’s not that hard,” Maher stresses. “The lesson is, if you stand up to the mob, for just a day or two, their shallow, impatient, immatures, smartphone-driven gerbil minds will forget about it and go on to the next nothingburger, and you, you still have your cojones.”
You can stream the full episode of Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO Max.