LOS ANGELES--A staff member of HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher reports overhearing a backstage conversation between Maher and guest Reza Aslan; discussed were their desire to see Donald Trump elected as the next President of the United States and Maher contemplating the merits of life after death.
While both Maher and Aslan are left-wing Democrats, their motivation to see Trump elected is said to be strictly financial. With lackluster ratings and the looming threat of HBO not renewing his contract, Maher, who is known to have a lavish lifestyle and penchant for hiring escorts, is banking on a ratings boon should the polarizing Donald Trump be elected. Maher's show reached its highest ratings ever during the Bush Jr. years when the US invaded Iraq.
For his part, Reza Aslan, the Iranian-American author, commentator and religious scholar who is a flip-flopping Muslim (Aslan was born into a Shia Muslim family. He converted to evangelical Christianity at the age of 15, and converted back to Islam the summer before attending Harvard), a Trump Presidency would likely lead to more talk-show opportunities on both conservative and liberal media outlets.
Perhaps the most intriguing part of their conversation occured when the ultra atheist and God-hating Maher asked Aslan for his honest opinion about the certainty of enjoying 72 virgins, a reward promised to Muslim martyrs, after their death. Aslan, believing that Maher was merely being a wise guy, dismissed the question, but the 60 year-old Maher pressed on, emphasizing that he was dead serious and beginning to think about his legacy and opportunities for enjoying a quality after-life. Shocked, but pleased that Maher was beginning to see the light, Aslan re-assured him that receiving 72 beautiful virgins is no myth. They agreed to continue the conversation later with Maher asking, "so, what's it gonna' take to be a martyr?".