Bill Maher taped his final episode of HBO’s “Real Time” on March 13, and told viewers that would be his final show for awhile due to the encroaching coronavirus pandemic.
“So, I have never seen events move faster than during this last week,” he said, speaking to an empty studio. “As I said before, or maybe I didn’t, so let me say it now: We are off next week.”
As he explained, the show had planned to go on hiatus for a week “in about two weeks, but we said let’s do it next week since everyone is freaking out and we want to see where this goes.”
Maher expressed his hope that the show returns “the week after that,” but wasn’t making any promises.
On March 24, Deadline reported that “Real Time” would be returning with a new episode on Friday, April 3, while “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” would be airing a new episode on Sunday, March 29. Presumably both shows will be taped without studio audiences.
In his March 13 “Real Time” monologue, Maher joked that “‘Surreal Time’ is what we’re renaming this show. This country went from zero to crazy in about three seconds this week.”
He also referenced the lack of a studio audience for the first time in the show’s history, explaining that “we are trying to be on the safe side here and people don’t want to come, around me, I could be the carrier.”
He added: “Now, are we being overly cautious? Yes, but appropriately so, we don’t know what this is yet. Everything is getting canceled… I’m supposed to be in Vegas tonight. Sorry, can’t be there.”
Meanwhile, Maher’s HBO cohort John Oliver aired a “shortened episode” on March 15, with his show also taking a break for the time being.