ABOVE: Watch Bill Maher talk about the Ottawa attacks during his monologue on the Oct. 24 episode of Real Time.
TORONTO — Comedian Bill Maher joked Friday about a Canadian tragedy and also managed to poke fun at a Canadian politician battling cancer and a Canadian pop star.
The studio audience roared with laughter when, during his monologue on Real Time, Maher declared: “Terror has a new face, much like Renée Zellweger. It’s Canadian terrorism.”
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau went on a rampage Wednesday in Ottawa, killing Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial and then storming the Centre Block on Parliament Hill. Bibeau was shot dead by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers.
Maher explained “there was an attack on the Canadian parliament” and then — referencing his heated debate about Islamic stereotypes with actor Ben Affleck on a recent episode of Real Time — told the audience: “The shooter, we know now, was a convert to, well, I don’t want to be called a bigot so I’ll just say ‘a religion.’ I don’t know which one. That’s how much of a liberal I am because it’s equally likely it could be any religion.”
— Bill Maher (@billmaher) October 23, 2014
“You know what, I think it was the Amish. I think the guy was Amish.”
Maher added: “No, he was a jihadist, a Muslim jihadist. And a Canadian jihadist…wow. The authorities are calling him Vanilla ISIS.”
The comedian, who dated Ontario-born singer Anjulie Persaud, said he loves Canada and feels for the country in the wake of the shooting. Then he used the tragedy to take a shot at Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who is currently being treated for a rare form of cancer.
“Everybody up there is on edge now,” Maher said. “Rob Ford today said, ‘I guess I picked a wrong week to quit smoking crack.’”
Maher also stated erroneously that the Canadian government seized Bibeau’s passport in the days prior to his rampage.
“Here’s what I don’t get about this. The attacker made known his wish to go join ISIS in Syria and the government took away his passport,” said Maher. “I don’t get it. How about this? If a guy, a violent religious nut, says he wants to go to Syria…let him. ‘Here’s a plane ticket, your connection is in Liberia. Good luck.’
Maher added: “And really, Canada. If we’re going to start confiscating passports couldn’t we start with Bieber?”
On Thursday, comedian Russell Brand posted a 15-minute rant inspired by incidents in Ottawa.
In a video for his YouTube series The Trews, the British star said the government’s reaction to Wednesday’s shooting of Cpl. Cirillo was part of “a narrative of enforcing government power on a domestic population” and he contrasted it with the reaction to last summer’s killing of three RCMP officers in Moncton by Justin Bourque.
“That’s why it don’t matter if a white geezer kills three Mounties but it does matter if a recent Muslim convert shoots a member of the Canadian [Forces],” said Brand.
“Shoot as many Mounties if you want — if you’re white. Don’t be a bloody Muslim, though, and do it because then we will abuse that to our advantage.”
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