In 1996, Robert Anton Wilson, David Cross, Mama Michelle Phillips and then-SPIN magazine publisher Bob Guccione Jr. appeared on what was intended to be a sort of Timothy Leary-themed discussion on Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect, and supposed to include Leary himself. As he was so near death at the time, Bob Wilson stepped in to take his place (and did a wonderful job). Everyone on the panel, including Maher, were personal friends with Leary, and offered charming anecdotes about their fading friend.
Unsurprisingly, much of the discussion was about drugs, in particular LSD, which Cross, RAW, Phillps and Maher are all rather strongly in favor of. Guccione Jr., on the other hand, sees drugs in a negative light, and says some stupid stuff about acid until it is pointed out to him that his opinion on LSD is about as worthwhile as the Pope opining on sex.
What is surprising is how timeless this show is. Aside from some Bill Clinton and Bob Dole references in the opening monologue—and Bill Maher’s lapels—it holds up surprisingly well. There’s a particularly good point made by David Cross who explains how it was possible for them to sit there on a TV show and say “We love acid, acid’s great!” without any fear of arrest or reprisal, largely because of Timothy Leary’s fearless advocacy of the psychedelic experience during the 1960s.
Bonus clip, Bill Maher rants about LSD and psilocybin in 2011: