A brief history of late-night hosts apologizing

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PARK CITY, UT – JANUARY 22: Television host Bill Maher speaks at the Amazon Fishbowl with Bill Maher at the Shop during the 2006 Sundance Film Felstival on January 23, 2006 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images)

Bill Maher crosses the line AGAIN

Bill Maher, are we going to have to take your star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame away? The famously liberal host is known for making sweeping and deliberately inflammatory comments literally left and right, which makes his error all the more confusing and maybe even unforgivable.

While interviewing Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse on his HBO talk show, the two got to talking the differences between California and Sasse’s home state. When Maher expressed a desire to go to Nebraska more often, Sasse welcomed him to come on over and work in the fields with them.

And then, for reasons that only Maher’s brain could understand, the host replied with a line involving the N-word. Among echoing groans and scattered applause from the audience, Maher quickly dismissed it as a joke, and both he and Sasse moved on to a different subject as if their ears temporarily malfunctioned.

Unfortunately for Maher, everyone else heard it loud and clear, and even his own network HBO called it inexcusable and tasteless, promising to remove the statement from any future airings.

Maher apologized in a statement:

"Friday nights are always my worst night of sleep because I’m up reflecting on the things I should or shouldn’t have said on my live show. Last night was a particularly long night as I regret the word I used in the banter of a live moment. The word was offensive and I regret saying it and am very sorry."

As a far-left leaner, theoretically, he should be more aware of his words. But when someone has an inexplicable track record of spontaneous racism, that makes us think has an enormous, dangerous blindspot when it comes to racial issues. He may regret the epithet, but he was in danger of losing his job and has a history of problematic comments.

Next: Samantha Bee vs. Roseanne Barr: How we debate what is ‘wrong’ to say

So, no: Samantha Bee is not the first, nor probably the last, to apologize among late-night hosts.