Bill Maher on Using the N-Word: 'I Did a Bad Thing'

The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond. The host reiterated his apology, but while insisting he would not make excuses, Maher threw out more "buts" than a Sir Mix-a-lot tribute band. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska).

CUBE: I knew you was gonna f*** up sooner or later.

"What made you think it was cool to say that?"

Actor and hip hop icon Ice Cube later educated Maher on the use of that term, describing it like a weapon.

Ice Cube said when he hears his "homies" use the n-word, "it doesn't feel like venom", noting "when I hear a white person say it, it fells like that knife stabbing me". "That's our word now, and you can't have it back". As she puts it, it's the last word that many people heard before they were murdered or before they were hanged and it carries a weight that's heavier than just being derogatory or just being a slur. He referred to himself as a "house [N-word]", joking about his refusal to work out in the Southern fields.

"Not by me", Ice Cube shoots back. "No, it's - it's a joke". The rap veteran took Maher to task for saying the N-word and asked him directly what made him feel so comfortable in saying the word. Needless to say, that didn't go over with black people or white people.

"Yeah, but of course, I think I do".

"Thank you for letting a sinner in your midst", Maher said after a warm reception from his studio audience before launching into his usual opening monologue on the week in politics.

"There is a lot of BS apologizing in America, and I am against that", Maher said. "That's why I apologize freely and I reiterate it tonight". But it's not like a career of this. HBO said it would remove the comment from subsequent airings of the show. Now, I know you heard, it's in the lexicon, everybody talking.

"I'm not trying to get on your case, Bill".

A black rapper, or any African-American, using it as they determine is not permission-granted for you to do so, even if you think that by using the word, you are robbing it of its power. "They endured physical and mental abuse".

Now some of you - probably white - are probably thinking, "But black rappers say it all the time".

He had since apologised for the joke, but for the sake of opening up a dialogue on the matter, Maher invited both Ice Cube and political correspondent Symone Sanders on his show to discuss the issue.

He drew criticism earlier this year when he interviewed Milo Yiannopoulos, the controversial former Breitbart editor known for making inflammatory comments about Muslims, women and minorities.

A week ago, as Radar reported, Maher shocked viewers by dropping the offensive racial epithet on his HBO talk show.

Jolly said to Maher, "The GOP handbook says, 'Don't agree with Bill Maher".

Liberal comedian Bill Maher gave a huge "my bad" explanation of his N word scandal on his first Real Time episode since the controversy.

He added, "I like your show". That's cowardly, " he said.

Again, Maher apologizes for the remark, taking total responsibility for it.

Vanessa Coleman