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Bill Maher Visiting South Dakota: Helping Democrats, or Strictly Comedy?

Comedian Bill Maher is coming to South Dakota in September. Will he be raising money for the South Dakota Democratic Party or not?

KDLT says yes:

Bill Maher
Bill Maher
Liberal comedian Bill Maher’s first visit to South Dakota will be a part of a fundraiser for the state’s Democratic Party in Sioux Falls in September.

Party interim Executive Director Zach Nistler said Saturday that Maher will appear at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls on Sept. 13.

He says the comedian will have a reception before the show for the party and has set aside a block of tickets for the party to use as a fundraiser [“Bill Maher Coming to SD as Part of Dem Fundraiser,” KDLT, 2015.04.18].

That Sioux Falls paper said the same thing yesterday but, as Mr. Powers notes, has pulled the story from its website.

KELO-TV says no, Maher is just doing a public performance:

Political commentator, comedian, and television show host Bill Maher will be stopping in Sioux Falls this fall for a stand-up comedy performance.

Maher will be performing at the Washington Pavilion September 13 this year. Tickets run for $85, $78, $68, $55, and $20….

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Bill Maher is not directly affiliated with any Democratic Party fundraiser as an earlier version of this story suggested. His performance is open to the public [“Comedian Bill Maher to Perform at Washington Pavilion,” KELO-TV, 2015.04.18].

The South Dakota Democratic Party offers no confirmation online. The party’s Twitter and Facebook pages are silent on Maher. doesn’t even list the September 13 Washington Pavilion gig (between Durham, NC, on August 9, Fort Wayne, IN, September 19, and Fargo September 20)… though his Web people may just be too busy promoting April 20 as National Weed Day to handle other updates to Maher’s online presence. (Possibly related: pot use is associated with lower work commitment.)

If Maher and the SDDP are working on a fundraiser, will it help or hurt the Democrats? Certainly the GOP spinnerazzi will have fun trying to tie South Dakota Democrats to Maher’s most controversial jokes and statements. But Maher won’t be on the ballot. If he’s doing anything for South Dakota Democrats, he’ll just be lending his star power to draw donors out for a night. And if his visit to South Dakota gives him a chance to talk to some of our Democratic leaders, he may see that South Dakota could use the help of some of his friends back home to beat back the wingnuttery he properly skewers on TV.

Now if we can just get Al Franken and Hillary Clinton to come fundraise for us….


  1. larry kurtz 2015-04-19 09:03

    Powers is a loser of biblical proportions: why DFP mentions his stupid ass at all remains a mystery.

  2. Bill Fleming 2015-04-19 09:34

    Maher is conservative about his brand… Needs to be an equal opportunity insulter. Interestive overview here:

    IMHO his and Sam Harris’s flat out attck on the Muslem faith put them in same camp they have both otherwise been scrupuliously trying to get out of. And then the pro-pot thing. Nothing especially ‘liberal’ or Democrat about that anymore is there?

    Ah, libertarians… Just when I think I understand them… Maybe even identify… That old Kris Kristofferson song comes to mind.
    ‘He’s a pilgrim and a preacher and a problem when he’s stoned. He’s a walking contradiction, partly truth, and partly fiction, taking every wrong direction on his lonely way back home.

  3. larry kurtz 2015-04-19 09:34

    DFP has excoriated SDWC for posting headlines with question marks, init?

  4. Bill Fleming 2015-04-19 09:35

    Oh god… Look at all those typos. Sigh. :-)

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-19 09:55

    Big difference, Larry: I’m asking a real, unanswered question. DWC uses the question marks to avoid responsibility for scurrilous claim.

  6. Lynn 2015-04-19 10:15

    Booking Bill Maher just does not make any sense for a SDDP fundraiser. Is this a mistake? Is he available at bargain prices now?

    Besides roasting Republicans will he bring petitions to sign promoting 4/20? Will this 4/20 petition be a new effort by the SDDP to gain voters? If so, I feel that would be a big mistake both short and long term.

    Bill Maher seems to be a mismatch for our market and focus of the SDDP. Senator Al Franken would be a far better option. He has been a workhorse in the Senate so his colleagues and constituents across party lines would take him seriously knowing he could always inject humor.

  7. larry kurtz 2015-04-19 10:33

    Here, let me answer your question, Cory: I have paid to see him twice. Maher uses strict comedy to advance Democratic causes. His appearance in Sioux Falls is no accident.

    If the SDDP booked him it is a stroke of genius and may even coax me to give them some money.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-19 10:34

    The question raised by the conflicting KDLT and KELO reports remains unanswered.

  9. Lynn 2015-04-19 10:53

    If SDDP and Bill Maher with his 4/20 effort is the launch of a new voter drive and ends up with full legalization of pot it will be a one hit show.

    If you think there is voter and activist apathy now wait till there is full legalization here in South Dakota.

    With the low wages, limited opportunities, the corruption and the other issues the power and benefits going to a very few will be even more secure.

    Rather than get fired up and doing something it will be easier for many to just come home at night, say “Screw This”! burn a few bowls and have your focus be getting to the next level of Black Ops or whatever video game. They will become the perfect worker drones for the coming CAFOS, Ogliarchy and SDGOP.

  10. mike from iowa 2015-04-19 11:20

    Betcha Fake Noize ties Maher in with HilRC and Obama as well as SD Dems. The emphasis will be on the hational candidate.

  11. Jenny 2015-04-19 11:40

    Who the hell cares what the SDGOP thinks about Maher? I love Bill Maher, the guy is a political comedic genius. I think after a hard defeated year, all SD Dems should go and relax and enjoy a few laughs and drop some money in the Dem bucket.
    Maher’s a recovering Catholic (as a lot of comedians are), he struggles with the whole God and religious thing. A lot of people can relate to that. Be thankful a well-known celebrity is even coming to SD.
    I agree with Lynn that Sen Franken would be a good pick to visit SD also. Lynn is right, Franken is a very hardworking, serious Senator and has become respected on both sides. Sen Amy Klobuchar should make a visit also. She’s very popular in MN and would make a popular guest in SD also, I think.
    Congratulations, SDDP. This is big, getting a well-known liberal comedian to SD. Don’t worry about what the SDGOP will say. You had to start somewhere big, and you did. Again, congratulations!

  12. Curtis Price 2015-04-19 14:33

    Maher’s organization has donated tickets (some were at the SDDP silent auction last night) and the SDDP will soon be selling a batch of donated up-front seats through their website.

    So the answer is yes, Cory. And, it pains me to point out that you would know this if you had bothered to contact any SDDP leaders or staff instead of just quickly checking the TV station news feeds. It isn’t like this is a big scoop if it’s already posted on AP and the TV websites, so why not just take a moment to ask?

    Honestly, I have come to expect more from you than pasted links and conjecture, so this post kind of dismays me.

    I’m a little dismayed that you were in such a hurry to post that you didn’t even take a few minutes to ask the Party.

    By the way we had a wonderful McGovern Day. Many other very important stories happened there that I hope you will be able to report about.

  13. Curtis Price 2015-04-19 14:35

    I’m also a little sore about being outbid for those two initial Maher tickets at the auction, but it was for a good cause so it’s okay.

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-19 17:28

    Curtis, the story I noted was KDLT and KELO saying opposite things. That’s interesting in itself. I’m reporting on their apparent inability to get the story straight, and look forward to hearing how and why they got different signals.

    I sent an e-mail to SDDP HQ this morning, which of course I would not expect to be answered until later. I posted this questioning story, with no pretense to scoop, to solicit information from the crowd. That information has come, thank you very much. It’s very nice of Mr. Maher to help local Democrats raise money through his tickets.

    I then turned to more significant news stories about GOED and SDHSAA.

  15. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-04-19 20:24

    I mostly like Bill Maher, but his comments about Muslims is just racist crap. That’s disappointed me so much that I haven’t watched his show for months. So maybe I mostly don’t like him now.

    BTW Lynn, all the best to you as you move on. Please do drop by the DFP now and then.

  16. larry kurtz 2015-04-19 20:51

    Mr. Price, it’s always good to read you, especially when we agree on something. I do miss your regular missives from Robbinsdale, tho.

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-24 16:19

    SDDP confirms what Mr. Price told us. Tickets are now for sale through the SDDP website, $120 a pop, including pre-show reception, portion of ticket price going to SDDP:

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