On Friday night, Bill Maher walked onto the stage of his HBO show Real Time to lengthy applause. Two weeks ago, Maher was diagnosed with COVID-19, and was thus forced to cancel his last two shows due to safety protocols.
“First of all, I’m sorry I missed the last two weeks. I didn’t want to—you heard this, they said I had COVID. This is, you know, it’s like when you go to the Jiffy Lube and they show you the air filter and you say, ‘OK, you’re the expert,’” said Maher. “I thank you for all the get-well wishes; I can’t oblige you—I never was sick. I felt nothing, but OK. I had the vaccine, that’s another rumor—no, I had it.”
Yes, last week Maher issued an online apology for missing a second show, tweeting that he was doing fine and not experiencing any symptoms thanks to the vaccine: “So sorry to all our fans, and my bosses (whoever they may be this week—man, HBO gets traded more than Bartolo Colon) that we’ll miss another show tonight. I assure—and thank—all well-wishers I was never sick and feel great (undoubtedly the shot) and will be back next week.”
The comic clumsily credited the vaccine for his swift recovery from COVID-19 on his show.
“Did it help? Probably? I don’t know. We don’t know. Yes, probably. I don’t know. You know, most people who got [the vaccine] never got very sick. Less than four percent went to the hospital—I know the media doesn’t like to talk about that! It’s something to be respected? Obviously, yes,” offered Maher. “And so, good. The point is, I had it! And now, in America, we’re like bribing people to get the vaccine.”
He added, “The other stupid thing [is] people said, ‘How could you have tested positive if you had the vaccine?’ It happens! They never said it was a hundred percent effective.”
The vaccines have proven to be remarkably effective. According to the CDC, as of April 30 of this year, 101 million people in the U.S. had been vaccinated; of those, only 10,262 people had contracted COVID-19 after being vaccinated (0.01%).