Mamet has made a successful career of that, creating such plays as Glengarry Glen Ross and Speed-the-Plow, and writing/directing such films as Heist, Wag the Dog and Hannibal, among others.
Now, he’s out with his newest book, a memoir and history called Everywhere an Oink Oink: An Embittered, Dyspeptic, and Accurate Report of Forty Years in Hollywood.
As one might expect from the title, it is loaded with caustic opinions on “the industry,” a term the abrasive Mamet loathes.
Maher brought up an anecdote where Mamet was once speaking to a class. One of the college students asked him, “What is the best thing I can do to increase my chances of working in television?”
Mamet had a ready solution. “Cut your d**k off and eat it.”
Maher scoffed, but Mamet insisted, “I meant that. What part is unclear? I was working making a living for 50 years before I ever heard the term, ‘the industry.’” The maverick said the phrase reminds people to “sit down and shut up,” and “if you got a good idea, keep it to yourself.”
As soon as “the suits” mess around with a script, things go bad, Mamet insisted. “Some add mayonnaise,” he said, while others rub things unmentionable things over their face.
“I can’t see why you would be fired,” Maher joked.
“Like everyone doing it for a long time, I’ve made some stupid decisions,” Mamet allowed.
The great writer insisted at one point that films don’t need dialogue, as compared to plays.
He gave an example of why.
“The next time you’re sitting in your living room (watching a film), at some point you might want to get up and use the facilities. How did you know what point to do that? Because you know nothing is going to happen in the scene. So you can get away with that when writing for the studio. But if writing for an audience – if you lose it, you can’t get it back.”
In the panel portion of the show, Maher engaged James Carville, Democratic strategist and cohost of the podcast “Politics War Room with James Carville and Al Hunt,” and creator and host of the political talk show “The Rubin Report” on YouTube and BlazeTV, Dave Rubin.
The conversation ranged from abortion to the conflagration between Israel and Hamas, and the debate between Gov. Ron DeSantis and Gov. Gavin Newsom.
In the “New Rules” editorial, Maher decried those who insist that the U.S. is a Christian country, tying it in to why Christmas is celebrated on Dec. 25.
The idea of “Christian nationalism” is no longer a fringe movement, Maher said. He added that the Founding Fathers established that there would be no state religion.
Maher closed with a reminder of the words of John Adams. “The government is not founded on the Christian religion.”