Dr. Jack Kevorkian appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher Friday night on HBO. He blasted the medical profession and religion, much to the agreement of the host. The interview with the man known as “Dr. Death” occurred a night before the HBO premiere of You Don’t Know Jack, starring Al Pacino. Whether you agree with Dr. Jack Kevorkian or not, one can conclude that this man isn’t afraid to follow his conscience and speak his mind, including on comedy-discussion shows like Real Time with Bill Maher. The interview, which took on a sense of the strange and bizarre, lasted about 11 minutes.
Dr. Jack Kevorkian Said of Doctors, “They follow religious ethics instead of medical ethics”, on Real Time with Bill Maher
The Right to Die activist appeared in pretty good spirits, wearing a red vest and striped tie as he spoke from Michigan. Maher asked Kevorkian about his time spent in jail from 1999-2007, in which the comedian quipped that at least he missed out on most of the Bush Administration. Kevorkian stated that the prisoners were “nice to me” and that most of them “supported me” in addition to the guards. He said he missed freedom the most, and remarked that the hardest part of prison was dealing with “the snoring”, which got a lot of laughs from the Real Time with Bill Maher audience.
Dr. Jack Kevorkian blasted the medical profession, saying that as “a rule” doctors are cowards. He commented, “They follow religious ethics instead of medical ethics” which he blamed on religion’s meshing with medicine in the Middle Ages where “doctors had to obey the religious ethics.” He said, “Religion alters your thinking ability” and called the discussions of death panels in the health care debate “ridiculous” and then “Religulous“, the latter referring to Maher’s anti-religion movie.
Maher also commented on some of his artwork, showing one picture of a centurion-like figure with a cut-off head of a man with an apple in his mouth as the centerpiece of a feast, which Kevorkian called this painting The Gourmet. He said this artwork conveys the message about war with “man devouring himself because he wants the best in life.”
The Real Time with Bill Maher Host Sometimes Went a Bit Overboard with His Questions to Dr. Jack Kevorkian, Who Wasn’t Offended
The comedian at times, went a bit overboard on some of his questions. Kevorkian didn’t take offense to any of Maher’s questions though on Real Time with Bill Maher. Maher asked Kevorkian almost gleefully-like how many people he would’ve assisted to their deaths had he not been sent to prison. He also asked Kevorkian what he tells kids “who want to break into the business”, which the Right to Die activist quipped that it takes “someone who is reckless.” The man known to the public as “Dr. Death” has had a part in “roughly 130” assisted suicides (but Kevorkian said that he hasn’t kept exact count), but Dr. Jack Kevorkian defended himself by saying on Real Time with Bill Maher, “I didn’t do this to kill anybody. I didn’t do this basically to really help anybody. I did it because it’s my duty as a physician. I did my duty.” He earlier chastised doctors, commenting, “They know what’s right, and won’t do it, and Confucius said, ‘Courage is knowing what’s right and doing it.'” The HBO host got laughs by joking to Dr. Jack Kevorkian, “You killed Confucius.”
Kevorkian said earlier in the interview that the powers-that-be “couldn’t scare me”, referring to his not being intimidated by the thought of jail time and loss of reputation. The Right to Die activist called Pacino’s performance in You Don’t Know Jack “superb”, and said the actor was “the only guy who could’ve done it.”
Dr. Jack Kevorkian interview, Real Time with Bill Maher, April 23, 2010, HBO