From offensive to hilarious, Bill Maher's comedic politics cut deep

Viewers of HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher" know they'll go from being disgusted to offended to tickled to co-signing within a few minutes. That's the way political commentator and stand-up comic Bill Maher works. His controversial opinions are the main reason his show "Politically Incorrect" was canceled, but they're also the reason he's a hit on HBO's weekly show.

Even after he got his 2010 star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, he couldn't help throwing in a jab by thanking former President George Bush Jr., former governor Sarah Palin and the Pope.

He's a self-proclaimed atheist, Independent voter (who leans quite a bit towards liberalism), recreational marijuana recreational smoker, environmental enthusiast and, according to actress Mayim Bialik, "vegan friendly."

His foes and fans often have a difficult time predicting what he'll do next, especially when it comes to relationships. Although his dating life almost always remains private, he did raise a few eyebrows in the hip-hop community when he publicly dated author and video vixen Karrine "Superhead" Steffans. By the time Cara Santa Maria and an unnamed, smartphone-happy woman (who looked like pop star M.I.A.'s twin) came into the picture, no one could predict what his "type" looked like.

Frequently making jabs about his disinterest in marriage and totally opposed to being a parent, this is a guy who seems to thoroughly enjoy a bachelor's life. Almost getting hit with a pool ball by an ex-fiancee could've been the final straw. But he still may wear his heart on his sleeve, considering he admitted to being curious about what his high school sweetheart is up to. Even political talk show hosts apparently want to do Facebook research on old flames.

His unpredictable behavior lead him to donate $1 million to President Barack H. Obama's campaign before the 2012 election but then defend Donald Sterling's right to phone privacy after the Los Angeles' Clippers racial controversy. He smokes marijuana frequently -- and took an Instagram photo of it in Denver -- but lectures about the environment and a health crisis.

He unapologetically used the n-word on several occasions, including with Dr. Cornel West on the other side of the table, but spoke about how he felt Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis groping each other's privates on the 2011 MTV Movie Awards was inappropriate for television. He wants POTUS to act more "like a black man" and less like actor-comedian Wayne Brady but repeatedly wags a finger at FOX News for stereotyping. Even FOX News correspondents didn't go to the extreme of coming out in a purple suit with a Barry White voice and Suge Knight persona, but Bill Maher had no problem with any of it.

He offends. He amuses. He makes no apologies for his views on religion, race, culture, politics and war. And when he really feels strongly about something, those end up being "New Rules" at the end of every show or in his latest best-selling book. But in the middle of offending, he usually has some important commentary not worth missing.