Bill Maher Thinks Kyle Rittenhouse Watched Too Many Comic Book Movies: 'It's a Tinderbox'

TV host Bill Maher has said that Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager acquitted of charges related to the fatal shooting of two men during protests in Kenosha, had "watched too many comic book movies."

On Friday's season finale of the HBO show Real Time, Rittenhouse's trial was the topic of debate for Maher and his guests, New Jersey ex-governor Chris Christie and New York City Mayor-elect, Eric Adams.

Rittenhouse, 18, was acquitted on all charges over the fatal shootings during the protests in Wisconsin on August 25, 2020.

He had been carrying an AR-15-type rifle that day and said he fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and injured Gaige Grosskreutz, 28, in self-defense.

Maher suggested that Rittenhouse went to the protests, which had been sparked by a police shooting of Black man Jacob Blake, spoiling for a fight.

"What about the repercussions of this?" said Maher, "what about the message this sends to all the kids? Like I say, I think this kid watched too many comic book movies."

"I think he wants to be some sort of hero and I think there are lots of incels out there like him who will do the same thing and it's a tinderbox."

He had made the comic book reference during his monologue at the start of the show, when he told the audience, "Like all teenage boys, he watches too many comic book movies and thinks he can be the Avenger—which is a bad combination with guns."

During the debate with his guests, Maher cited recent polling that found nearly half of Americans think a "civil war is likely."

Maher said: "I don't think it is a great idea to say to people, 'If the police are not doing their job as they weren't at the moment in Kenosha, the answer can't be, then the citizens have full police powers." His comments were met with applause from the audience.

Christie said he viewed the trial as a former federal prosecutor and noted that the prosecution had not proven guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

"If you have an objection to the laws then change the laws," he said, "you can't use an individual case to send a broader societal message if the laws don't cover it."

"We need to go after the laws and make it very clear to people that you can't take the law into your own hands," Christie added.

Meanwhile, Maher had read out Adams' statement in which he said the verdict was an "indictment of irresponsible laws that make our society far more violent and less safe under the guise of personal freedom and so-called self-defense."

Adams told Maher, "What are we doing to our children that they have access to these types of weapons?"

Bill Maher and Kyle Rittenhouse
Kyle Rittenhouse is shown with talk show host Bill Maher (left) in this split picture. On 19 November 2021, Rittenhouse was acquitted over the fatal shootings of two men in Kenosha, August 2020. Getty