Bill Maher on Using the N-Word: 'I Did a Bad Thing'

Dyson wasn't Maher's only guest tonight; he also talked to David Gregory, David Jolly, Symone Sanders, and Ice Cube, the latter of whom also grilled the host. Now, the guy who was here, it's not his fault, I feel bad for him, the senator, it's all on me.

"He broke me?" Maher said, quoting Griffin about Trump. He accepted Maher's apology, but he wasn't through. "I made it. I'm done".

"That's our word now", he said. Maher repeatedly expressed regret, saying it was an off-the-cuff comment. "I wanted you to school me", Maher told Dyson. "I did. I did". I know it's in the lexicon, you've heard people talking.

Both HBO and Maher issued apologies shortly after the episode aired, but the conversation surrounding the word continues.

"Sometimes you sound like a redneck trucker", Cube responded. Instead, the rich and reserved Ice Cube gave him a "teachable moment".

"It's my opinion", Ice Cube pressed on. He then asked, "What made you think it was cool to say that?"

"I love your show".

"Some things just ain't amusing", Cube added.

"Yeah, of course, I think I do", Maher answered. You know what I'm saying? "I don't want to pretend this is more of a race thing than a comedian thing", he told Dyson. "But the coolest and most honorable white boys are the ones that choose not to act on that pass because they understand the history, pain and insensitivity behind the use of the n-word". "I think we need to get to the root of the psyche".

"I think it's a lot of guys out there who cross the line because they're a little too familiar, or they think they're a little too familiar", he said. It's been used as a weapon against us by white people. "You can use it as a weapon".

He also made it clear that he knew the use of the horrific slur was "wrong", but a "mistake" made on his part. "That's our word now, and you can't have it back". That's our word now. "And you can't have it back". And I'm not tryin' to get on your case, Bill.

However, despite that apology and a stern lecture from his earlier guest Michael Eric Dyson, Maher took on heat from rapper Ice Cube for the racial slur at the end of his panel segment.

Citing a racism "resurgence" in the country, Dyson, a Georgetown professor of sociology and author, responded by encouraging Maher to continue acknowledging the "unconscious reflex" of white privilege.