Maher's guests since racial slur include Ice Cube, Dyson

Ice Cube is the mid-show guest and will reportedly talk about Maher’s use of the N-word

But the rapper also made it clear that, for him at least, there are still lines men like Maher aren't allowed to cross: "It's like a knife, man".

When word broke that serendipity was going to have Ice Cube as the next celebrity guest on Real Time With Bill Maher just one week after the host's ill-fated "I'm a house n*gger" joke, people started making their popcorn immediately. Ben Sasse told Maher that he is welcome in the state and that "we'd love to have you work in the fields with us".

Then he brought on Michael Eric Dyson to have an honest discussion about his use of that word and why it offended so many. And indeed he did, carefully detailing the unsafe context and timing of Maher's comment, to which Maher made sure to "reiterate" his "sincere" apology. "But I still think we need to get to the root of the psyche", Cube said.

Citing a racism "resurgence" in the country, Dyson, a Georgetown professor of sociology and author, responded by encouraging Maher to continue acknowledging the "unconscious reflex" of white privilege.

"Some things just ain't amusing", Cube added. He quickly pivoted to talking about "someone who had a worse week than me, Donald Trump". The rap veteran took Maher to task for saying the N-word and asked him directly what made him feel so comfortable in saying the word. "The word was offensive and I regret saying it and I'm very sorry".


Bill Maher is shown at the Chicago Theatre on May 6 in Chicago.

He stressed that he was cool with Bill and wasn't trying to "get on his case" but he feels like it was a "teachable moment" and that Bill has been coming close to crossing the line for a while, saying, "You've got a lot of black jokes".

It was once Ice Cube arrived mid-show to promote the 25th anniversary of Death Certificate - with David Gregory, David Jolly, and Symone Sanders already on the panel - that the debate finally heated up and Maher was really put on the defensive.

Ice Cube joined the host later in the show and said that the word is "like a knife" because it can be used as a tool or weapon.

"Sometimes you sound like a redneck trucker", Ice Cube said. I know you've heard it's in the lexicon. but that's our word now, and you can't have it back. "People make mistakes and we're all sinners".

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