• Bill Maher will help launch Yahoo! comedy channel

    Bill Maher has a long-standing relationship with HBO, having made nine stand-up specials for the cable network since 1989, plus nine seasons and counting of his talk show, Real Time with Bill Maher. But for his latest special, Maher is moving away from television entirely, choosing instead to broadcast exclusively from the Web.

    Maher will perform CrazyStupidPolitics: Bill Maher Live From Silicon Valley on Feb. 23, 2012 at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, and you’ll be able to watch it online at Yahoo! Screen. Also, the special will serve as a launching pad for a new, as-yet-unnamed comedy channel from Yahoo!.

    Maher insists his relationship with HBO is still strong, and that this new venture is simply about trying a new approach to reach a wider audience. “I did the Beacon Theater in New York last month,” Maher told the New York Times. “It sold out really quickly, people were asking me for tickets, I couldn’t get them. I want to do my act so that millions of people, and not just thousands at a time, can see it.”

    Meanwhile, Yahoo! is clearly trying to capture some of the magic of successful Web comedy portals like Funny or Die and College Humor. With programming slated from the likes of Mike “7 Minutes in Heaven” O’Brien and Seth Morris, they stand a good chance. And if Morris’ new Web series— First Dates With Toby Harris —is a hit, maybe we’ll finally see that Bob Ducca series we’ve always dreamed of.

    Paul Ciampanelli

    Paul Ciampanelli recently transplanted from New England to Los Angeles in order to be at the heart of the comedy scene in the City of Angels. A longtime comedy fan, he was watching reruns of The Kids in the Hall on Comedy Central and listening to George Carlin and Robert Klein albums with his folks at the age of 11. In addition to writing, he studies improv and sketch at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. He also likes apples, cartoons and cats. Meow!

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