Bill Maher Apologizes for Using Racial Slur in 'Real Time' Joke

Janet Van Ham

Bill Maher on the set of HBO's 'Real Time with Bill Maher'

Comedian and talk-show host Bill Maher has apologized for using a racial slur during a joke he made on last week's edition of his HBO show Real Time.

"Friday nights are always my worst night of sleep because I'm up reflecting on the things I should or shouldn't have said on my live show. Last night was a particularly long night as I regret the word I used in the banter of a live moment. The word was offensive and I regret saying it and am very sorry," he said in a statement to Variety Saturday after the cable network denounced his use of the derogatory word for African Americans on his program.

"Bill Maher's comment last night was completely inexcusable and tasteless. We are removing his deeply offensive comment from any subsequent airings of the show," HBO said in a statement.

The Hollywood Reporter said Maher made the on-air joke to Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, who asked, "Would you like to come work in the field with us?"

"Work in the fields?" Maher responded. "Senator, I am a house [expletive.]"

Sasse took to Twitter after the show to express his regrets regarding how he handled the exchange.

"Am walking off a redeye from LAX. 3 reflections on @billmaher 1. I'm a 1st Amendment absolutist. Comedians get latitude to cross hard lines," Sasse tweeted.

"2. But free speech comes with a responsibility to speak up when folks use that word. Me just cringing last night wasn't good enough," he added.

"3. Here's what I wish I'd been quick enough to say in the moment: "Hold up, why would you think it's OK to use that word?..."  read another tweet.

"...The history of the n-word is an attack on universal human dignity. It's therefore an attack on the American Creed. Don't use it," he concluded.

By Karen Butler

Originally published in UPI Entertainment News.