UPDATES: Maher has apologized. Variety reports he issued a statement saying, "Friday nights are always my worst night of sleep because I’m up reflecting on the things I should or shouldn’t have said on my live show. Last night was a particularly long night as I regret the word I used in the banter of a live moment. The word was offensive and I regret saying it and am very sorry."
Variety also reports HBO has called Maher's use of the epithet "completely inexcusable and tasteless" and will edit it out of all repeats of the episode.
Edgy political comic Bill Maher, host of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher," is stealing some of the negative attention from Kathy Griffin after he ad-libbed a joke on Friday's show in which he used the N-word.
During an exchange with Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska in which Sasse invited Maher to "come work in the field with us," Maher refused, declaring, "Senator, I'm a house [N-word]."
Sasse and the audience chuckled, but social media erupted with angry responses, questioning why Maher felt the need to use the incendiary term.
People magazine reports Maher received support from one interesting source, the daughter of late comedian George Carlin, who tweeted a link to a video of her father discussing the context in which slurs are used. (She later deleted her link to the video "b/c of the horribly misleading title someone had created for it. I hate the Inernet.")
Maher — who coincidentally tweeted a takedown of the urge to "go high" as the Twitter storm was brewing — has not yet responded to the criticism.