Stage Review

BILL MAHER: VICTORY BEGINS AT HOME (2003 - 2003)

EW's GRADE
B-

Details Opening Date: May 05, 2003; Lead Performance: Bill Maher; Writer: Bill Maher

''Laughter is involuntary,'' the contrarian comedian claims in his bio. ''If you can get people to laugh at what you're pointing out, they know there's at least some truth to it.'' Fine, but is ''some truth'' enough when you're paying $70 to see what amounts to a stop on a glorified book tour? Delivering a 90-minute monologue in front of WWII-inspired posters culled from his best-seller When You Ride Alone You Ride With Bin Laden, Maher makes a few devastating, if unoriginal, points about the strangulating plague of ''patriotic correctness.'' But he skittishly saves his big bunker buster for last: the theory that Western civ's ills can be traced to our ''feminized'' consumer culture. Hmm... are Hummers and the Bush administration (two of the comic's favorite punching bags) really the marks of a ''feminized'' America? The desperation to reclaim the nation's supposedly lost masculinity -- a desperation Maher reeks of -- seems an equally easy target for demagogic bluster.

Originally posted May 23, 2003 Published in issue #711 May 23, 2003 Order article reprints