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Opinion | The Truth Hurts — Especially When Bill Maher Dishes It Out

He is thinking of giving up stand-up after his next HBO special. “It’s like playing the cello,” he told me. “You got to always be working at it.”

On “Club Random,” where he gets stoned and sips tequila and invites guests to partake of pot or their drinks of choice as well (Seinfeld had coffee; Couric had a paloma), Maher can get downright sentimental, and confessional. He spoke to Martin Short about waking up in the middle of the night with morbid thoughts, by which he meant death. He fretted to Seinfeld that “men have been ruined by the phone and pornography. It’s rapey. It’s domineering. And this is what young men see.” The old days of Playboy, he said plaintively, have been replaced by “horrible things, choking and spanking.”

He has a stake, with John McEnroe, in Woody Harrelson’s Hollywood pot dispensary, the Woods, and recently hung out there with Paul McCartney. “I got to say, he was great,” Maher said.

He sleeps until he wakes up naturally, at about 11 a.m. or noon; then he fasts most of the day because, he said, eating slows you down. “Three meals is just something somebody made up,” he said. “God didn’t put it on a tablet.” He takes his two rescue dogs, Chico, who has one eye and is about 15 years old, and Chula, 10, and shoots baskets and gets high and writes; about 3 p.m., he has a shake with protein powder, yogurt, pumpkin seed butter and chlorophyll, with avocado and tomato “because I was told Hispanic men have very low rates of prostate cancer” — and a light meal at night.

As we left Craig’s, with Maher heading to his gray, all-electric Mercedes, I asked him if he ever felt as though he were beating his head against the wall. He does. But, he said dryly, he’s willing to tie himself to the mast and “keep sailing onward.”

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