Daniel Tosh

Pitts: Where did Maher get the idea he could say that word?

Pitts: Where did Maher get the idea he could say that word?

Here's a good rule of thumb for aspiring comics. Whenever you are compelled to say, "Hey, it was a joke," it probably wasn't. At the very least, it didn't land like one.

Bill Maher is an accomplished comic, not an aspiring one, but he deftly illustrated that rule Friday night on his HBO show, "Real Time with Bill Maher." As you've surely heard, Mr. Maher was interviewing Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, who invited him to come to Nebraska and "work in the fields with us." Maher's riposte? "Work in the fields? Senator, I'm a house n----r."

Some people -- including Mr. Sasse -- laughed. Some groaned. "It's a joke," said Mr. Maher...