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Coulter Vs. Maher Tonight: Tell Us, What's the Point?

By Karl Klockars in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 11, 2009 6:15PM


Hopefully, everyone who's planning on pouring into the Chicago Theater tonight to watch Bill Maher and Ann Coulter face off will take the time to read the reports from the appearances over the last couple nights - so they'll have an opportunity to head over to the box office and request their money back.

Both Boston and New York have both had their chance to take a look at the sideshow, and after reading about the Speakers Series - tagged as "The Minds that Move the World" - tonight's sit-down seems more like the Minds that Are Just Diametrically Opposed (But They Might Hook Up After A Couple Drinks).

If you're planning on showing up and watching an actual full-length debate between two political minds, deflate your hopes: Coulter addresses the crowd, then Maher does the same, then they take a few questions. There's some back-and-forth, but it doesn't seem like anything you can't gain from watching a couple talking heads on your cable news network of choice. Coulter will breathe pure acid over the audience, and then Maher will, without his team of writers behind him, resort to being the jerk he proved himself to be in "Religulous."

The real question is: what's the point? What is there to be gained from watching two of the most polarizing people in political pop culture snipe back and forth for an evening? Does anyone really think that any sort of intelligent conversation will occur, or is it just a show with the same appeal of a train wreck that's got a full house handing over up to $185 to be privy to the mess?

People vote with their dollars, so it shouldn't be surprising that lowest-common-denominator "events" like this get asses in seats. This is the kind of show that almost requires Monster-Truck-Demolition-Derby style advertising: "Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday! Maher/Coulter face off in a gut-wrenching, blood-curdling, sparks-will-fly event! Pay for your whole seat, but you'll only need the edddddddddddge!"

For what it's worth, the other upcoming Speaker Series events with Chris Matthews, Al Gore, Tucker Carlson and others (save Karl Rove) are promising. But for this evening? Get HBO. Watch Maher's Real Time. Buy Coulter's books. Subscribe to her newsletter. Support either one however you like - but don't expect to get your money's worth tonight.