Van Wezel

Bill Maher performs Sunday in Sarasota

If you're hoping to see Bill Maher at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota this weekend, you'd better have your tickets already.

Maher is certainly a polarizing figure because of his unabashedly liberal politics and humor.

And he's even been drawing vehement criticism from liberals lately because of some of his views.

But he's still so popular with so many people that his Van Wezel show on Sunday is sold out. (Keep checking the Van Wezel website, though -- sometimes tickets for sold-out shows become available closer to the show date.)

Maher, of course, is the host of "Real Time" on HBO (and the former host of "Politically Incorrect" on Comedy Central.) His TV work has earned him dozens of Emmy nominations.

He's also a best-selling author, and he wrote and starred in the acclaimed 2008 documentary "Religulous."

But before he was a socio-political gadfly, Maher was a popular stand-up comedian. About a decade ago, Comedy Central listed him as No. 38 on its list of the greatest comedians of all time. He does about 50 live stand-up concerts every year, and he's created several Emmy-nominated stand-up specials for HBO.

Maher's provocative and caustic, but if you're at all in agreement with his politics, he's also very funny.

Details: 7 p.m. Oct. 26, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: Sold out. Information: 941-953-3368,

-- Marty Clear