Maher's comic career began in a humble manner, but soon procured paced with several appearances in comedy clubs in Los Angeles and New York. He finally landed with brief roles in a few television programs and feature films, including D.C. Cab in 1983; Sara in 1985; and Cannibal Women in 1989. In 1990, he hosted a CBS series, Midnight Hour, and ended up getting a solo gig on HBO's short lived One Night Stand series in the year 1992. Maher also made frequent stand-up appearances on Late Night with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
In 1993, he was approached by a comparatively new and struggling cable network, Comedy Central, to host a show, Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, which brought simultaneous people from different professional spectrums from athletes to film actors to rock stars to chat about current events. To keep the show interesting, Maher would interpose the dialogue with his own wry comments. The show became a huge hit, and won Maher accolades.
Controversy surrounded the program briefly after the September 11th terrorist attacks on twin towers when Maher made an offensive comment. In June 2002, his show got cancelled.
Maher, nevertheless, was far from being finished. In 2003, he returned with a new program, Real Time with Bill Maher. In the next few years, he appeared on a number of television comedy specials, including Bill Maher: I'm Swiss and Bill Maher: The Decider. In 2008, he starred in a film Religulous.