He was host of the New York City comedy club Catch a Rising Star in 1979.
Maher began appearing on Johnny Carson's and David Letterman's shows in 1982.
Maher stated his highest regard and support for the troops and asked why the congressman criticized him instead of doing something about the recruitment problem.
The show regularly began with a topical monologue by Maher preceding the introduction of four guests, usually a diverse group of individuals, such as show business, popular culture, political pundits, political consultants, authors, and occasionally news figures. You're right." Maher later clarified that his comment was not anti-military in any way whatsoever, referencing his well-documented longstanding support for the American military.
Following the interview, Maher sits with two or three panelists, usually consisting of pundits, authors, activists, actors, politicians and journalists, for a discussion of the week's events.
In the segment "New Rules" at the end of each show, Maher delivers a humorous editorial on popular culture and American politics. It has been nominated for more than ten Primetime Emmy Awards and six Writer's Guild awards.
Maher earned numerous award nominations for his producing, writing and hosting of Politically Incorrect, including ten Emmy nominations, two TV Guide nominations, and two Writers Guild nominations. The show was canceled on June 16, 2002, and the Sinclair Broadcast Group had dropped the show from its ABC-affiliated stations months prior.
ABC decided against renewing Maher's contract for Politically Incorrect in 2002, after he made a controversial on-air remark six days after the September 11 attacks. On June 22, 2002, just six days after the cancellation of Politically Incorrect, Maher received the Los Angeles Press Club president's award (for "championing free speech").