Bill Maher
Victory Begins At Home
HBO / Warner Home Video
60 minutes

Victory Begins At Home, the 2003 Bill Maher HBO special and stand-up comedy DVD is already a little dated but it is still very relevant. Granted, what Maher says about the situation in Iraq is no longer fresh (Saddam was still free when he filmed his special) but what he says about America and American politics is interesting, important, and the source of many an observational funny joke. Unlike other stand-up comics content to just show up on stage and damn the background, Bill Maher put a lot of effort in dressing up the stage (true, he’d used this material on his Broadway run) to make his comedy not only aurally but also visually stimulating. Bill Maher skewers the Bush administration mantra that victory begins at home, focus groups, SUVs, and the tendency people have of behaving like sheep.

In Victory Begins At Home the funny joke is American society itself. An intelligent and perceptive commentator on modern society, Bill Maher questions the very basis of American democracy, draws our attention to Republican double-speak (death tax instead of estate tax, climate change instead of global warming) and the entire rhetoric around the war (or conflict) in Iraq. Some folks might dismiss what Bill Maher has to say on Victory Begins At Home as coming from just another left-wing liberal nut but those are the very same people (well, there are liberals and Democrats too who do not get it) who are suckered in by the manipulation of language, the replacement of image over substance (get George Bush in a flight suit under a banner saying the war is over and people believe the war is over, set up a photo-op of George Bush in front of Mount Rushmore and position the podium in a way that makes his head appear the same size as that of Lincoln et al), and the comedy of misdirection politics have become.

Victory Begins At Home is a must-see stand-up comedy DVD for any fan of serious comedy fan and but also a must for anybody interested in political science.


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