Friday night, "Real Time with Bill Maher" host Bill Maher subbed for Piers Morgan on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight." The outspoken HBO host's guest was "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane.
Maher and MacFarlane are apparently close friends and the interview had the easy rhythm of two people who are are comfortable with each other and comfortable on camera. They moved easily from subject to subject, ribbing each other, dropping in casual asides and appearing to keep each other as entertained as the audience.
The conversation roamed over a wide array of topics, including the leeway granted to cartoon characters like the animated family in "Family Guy" as opposed to live actors, the Emmys, President Barack Obama's job performance and the problems posed by a deadlocked Congress.
The Emmy Awards discussion was particularly interesting, a look into how the people who create the shows feel about the annual nominations and the fact that the judging committee seems to always play it fairly safe. Maher rolled a "Family Guy" clip featuring an animated Jesus who performed miracles with the same sound effects as old Hanna-Barbera cartoons.
"Do you understand why people like you and I never win the Emmy?" Maher asked, "Do you think it's possible for an atheist to win an Emmy?"
It's an provocative question in what's purportedly the Godless Hollywood Machine. Many conservative critics would have you believe that the entertainment industry is actively hostile to their values, and yet media figures like Maher and MacFarlane feel that the industry is much more hostile to taking risks that would upset those same conservative critics.
Watch the clip, embedded via Mediaite, below: