Appearing as a guest on Thursday's Chelsea Lately show on the E! network to promote his book, The New New Rules, HBO's Bill Maher denied that a sexual joke he made last February about ABC's Elisabeth Hasselbeck and CBS's Lara Logan was a reference to the rape of Logan in Egypt from that month, as he recounted that he actually made the joke on his Real Time show before Logan's sexual assault occurred.
The Wall Street Journal's blog recounts that Maher's joke came on February 4, 2011, but that the attack on Logan did not occur until February 11. After the CBS correspondent was detained by police in Egypt on February 3, Maher made a joke about sending Hasselbeck to Egypt in exchange for bringing Logan back to America because of her "intrepid hotness."
The HBO comedian explained that the reason he did not correct the misinformation when he appeared on ABC's The View last November was because he had forgotten the timeline from earlier that year, while he had also judged that "it sounded like something I would do."
He then went on to oddly implicate Hasselbeck's religious beliefs in her decision to confront him on The View in November. Maher:
Religion, first of all, makes people crazy. I mean, that's, that, I mean, she's a religious nut. And so, I mean, I think a lot of it is, for some people, religion is like great sex, they just can't think straight when they're on it. So, you know, she went after me...
Below are both video and a transcript of the relevant portion of the Thursday, January 12, Chelsea Lately show on the E! network:
CHELSEA HANDLER: So you've been pissing off, I know you got in a fight with Elisabeth Hasselbeck the other day. I can't even go on that show because everyone is so annoying there.
BILL MAHER: Well, in November, when I was back in New York. And, yeah, I mean, look, I like Elisabeth Hasselbeck, I mean, she's a, you know, she got her facts wrong and, she did, accused me of something I never did. But, you know-
LATELY: Did you not ever say that about her, about you guys sending her over there?
MAHER: It was before - she conflated two things. We made a joke about her and Lara Logan, but it was well before we found out that Lara Logan was captured and abused.
HANDLER: Right, right, right.
MAHER: So she tried to make it sound like I did it after, which I wouldn't have done.
LATELY: Oh, I didn't realize that. You, why didn't you say that when you were there? You should have just hit her right in the face.
MAHER: Because I didn't remember, and it sounded like something I would do. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER) No, I mean, you know, it was just silly. I mean, look, she is a - religion, first of all, makes people crazy. I mean, that's, that, I mean, she's a religious nut.
And so, I mean, I think a lot of it is, for some people, religion is like great sex, they just can't think straight when they're on it. So, you know, she went after me, and, but that's fine, you know, I mean, I have no animosity toward her at all. And, actually, when she goes off like that, it's kind of hot.